Quick Gifts: Clip Photo Boards {From Thrift Store Frames}

Easy Clip Photo Boards

I’ve got another Thrift Store Transformation for you today – this time using a few of the plentiful frames that can be found at any thrift store. These cute framed barrel clip photo boards make great, quick gifts (in fact my nieces are getting some…) and can easily be adapted for boys by changing out the frame color and fabric. Displaying photos (or notes, poems, etc.) in one of these frames is just a little more decorative than the traditional jumbled bulletin board.

And not only are they quick, inexpensive, and, fun, they are also a way to use up fabric leftover from other projects. I just love things that make use of my scrap piles.


These thrift store frames were collected over a period of months (after I added them to my running list) and most were priced at .99, with the largest costing $1.99. When looking for frames for this project, it’s easiest to use the type that were meant to have photos added to them at home versus professionally finished frames with paper backing. If you do find a paper-backed frame you love, you’ll have to figure out a way to hold the backing cardboard to the frame, since the paper is gone and with it usually the metal fasteners they used.

My Tip: The medium-sized frame pictured was paper-backed and I attached the cardboard to the frame with painter’s tape. Sophisticated, no?

In addition to a frame (8×10 or larger) you will need these supplies:
  • spray paint in desired color for frame
  • craft foam board and craft knife to cut it
  • fabric piece to cover foam board
  • spray adhesive
  • masking tape (or hot glue)
  • barrel clips (sometimes called letter clips) I used 1-1/4″ size for this project – larger clips could also be used for just one in a frame
  • brass fasteners (the split pins for holding papers together)
  • scissors, ruler, etc.


Don’t let the number of steps make you think this is complicated – I simply wanted the directions to be clear. Once I figured this project out, the other frames took only 10-15 minutes to complete.


  1. Remove the glass and cardboard backing and then spray paint the frame (reserve the glass for another project or recycle it). Use the frame backing to draw an outline on the foam board that will fit your frame (if your frame didn’t come with a back, cut a new one out of tagboard or similar product).
  2. Use a ruler and craft knife to cut the foam board on the lines.
  3. Lay the piece of foam board on the fabric and cut it 1-inch larger all around than the board. Spray adhesive according to manufacturer’s directions on the foam board and let dry a few minutes to create a temporary bond (this makes it easier to adjust your fabric if needed later). Then attach your fabric and rub to smooth. Check for straight lines, centered patterns, etc. and adjust as needed.
  4. Lay the fabric covered board face-down, clip the corners to lessen bulk, and fold the long sides over tightly, using masking tape or hot glue to secure. Yes, I taped them. What can I say? I was too lazy to get out the hot glue and I didn’t feel like burning my fingers.
  5. Fold the corners carefully before taping or gluing the ends down.
  6. Insert the fabric covered board into the frame and lay it face-up. Use a ruler and a pencil to mark where the clips should go. I also held up a 4×6 photo to make sure they were spaced far enough apart to hold two without overlapping.
  7. Use the pointy end of the scissors to gently push through the foam board at the pencil marks. Grab two brass fasteners.
  8. Insert a fastener through the barrel clip hole and into the hole in the foam board. Secure by splitting the fasteners flat against the back of the foam board.
  9. Reattach the frame backing.
There you go – admire your handiwork and think about making more now that you’ve got the hang of it. They’ll probably only take 10 minutes this time.


Of course, there’s a lot more that can be done with thrift store frames – you can even use them for their original purpose. Crazy talk, I know. But this is sweet, isn’t it? A fun and different gift that’s easy on the wallet. Score another for thrift transformations!
I’m sharing this at Tips & Tutes, Fabulously Creative FridayWeekend Wrap Up PartySaturday Nite Special, and Best DIY of December.



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