Looking for a quick gifts idea for any occasion? Use this tutorial to take a thrift store or Dollar Store frame and transform it into a fun fabric-backed clip photo board. Perfect for both kids and adults.
Be sure to check out more DIY gifts on the handmade gifts page!
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Here’s another Thrift Store Transformation for you – this time using a few of the many frames that can always be found at any thrift store.
A cute framed barrel clip photo board makes a great, quick and easy gift and can easily be adapted for babies, girls, boys, and adults simply by changing out the frame color and fabric. I gave these to my nieces one year for Christmas and they loved them!
Displaying photos, notes, poems, or any flat thing really, in one of these frames is just a little more decorative than the traditional jumbled bulletin board. With the fun fabric, they can even make a decor statement.
And not only are these DIY clip photo boards quick, inexpensive, and, pretty, they are also a way to reuse and recycle. One, by purchasing used wood frames and two, but using up fabric leftover from other projects. I just love things that make use of my scrap piles and thrifted finds, don’t you?
DIY Clip Photo Boards Tutorial
Photo Clip Board Supplies
Frames, 8×10 or Larger
The thrift store frames pictured above 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.
TIP: The medium-sized frame pictured was paper-backed and I attached the cardboard to the frame with painter’s tape. Sophisticated, right?
In addition to a frame you will need:
- Spray paint in desired color for frame (I used this heirloom white color, and a chalk spray paint would be easy, too).
- 3/16-inch craft foam board and craft knife to cut it.
- Fabric piece to cover foam board.
- Spray adhesive.
- Masking tape or hot glue.
- Bulldog clips (sometimes called letter clips or barrel clips) in 1-1/4 inch 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, cutting mat, etc.
Don’t let the number of steps make you think this is complicated – I simply wanted the tutorial to be clear. Once I figured this project out, the other frames took only 10-15 minutes to complete.
Clip Photo Board Directions:
- 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).
- Use a ruler and craft knife to cut the foam board on the lines. (TIP: I completed the entire project on a large cutting mat to protect my table surface.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Fold the corners carefully before taping or gluing the ends down.
- 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.
- Use the pointy end of the scissors to gently push through the foam board at the pencil marks. Grab two brass fasteners.
- 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.
- 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 take only 15 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 clip photo board gift idea is sweet, isn’t it? A fun and different gift that’s easy on the wallet. Score another for thrift transformations!
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