Recycled Frame Photo Holder Craft

This is Day 2 of Twleve Days of Gifts Kids Can Make!

I saw this Gilt Frame Card Holder on the Pottery Barn website and thought to myself, “My son could totally make that!” And for $200, I could hardly imagine buying it when I knew we could make it for less than $10! And even better – I didn’t even have to go to the thrift store – I called up my parents and asked them to raid their old wall art stuck away in their basement. I just told them to look for something gilded and tacky – and boy, did they deliver.

Recycled Photo Frame Holder DIY Project

Recycled Photo Frame Holder DIY Project

Photo Frame Craft Materials

1 old frame – Mine was about 16″x20″, but really could hold a lot more if it was much bigger

5-10 feet of black single jack chain – you can buy this by the foot at Home Depot for super cheap

1 package of curtain clip rings – see photo below, you’ll be detaching the clips to hold the photos

1 package of upholstery tacks or a staple gun (depends on how thick your frame is – you want to ensure nothing pokes through the front!)

Ribbon for hanging

Making the Recycled Photo Frame Project

FYI, here is the Pottery Barn frame I used as a reference:

Original Pottery Barn Photo Frame

Original Pottery Barn Photo Frame

You can see they used wire instead of chain – I couldn’t find black wire that I liked, but you could use it just as easily as the chain I used.

Plus I have to add an amazing idea that I found on a boutique website – this version isn’t for sale, but I think I like the functionality better than this photo holder – it’s a jewelry holder!

Modification Idea to Make a Jewelry Holder Instead of a Photo Holder

Modification Idea to Make a Jewelry Holder Instead of a Photo Holder

Here’s our frame ‘before’ shot:

Tacky Frame for Recycling

Tacky Frame for Recycling

The old cheesy poem just made the frame look worse!

My son disassembled the frame all on his own – but be sure to supervise this part, because there is glass involved! Each frame is different, but I’ve never had a truly hard time removing anything from any frame before.

Removing the old frame artwork

Removing the old frame artwork

First he gently bent back the framer’s points to remove the cardboard, art and glass. OK, I admit it. I made him let me take out the glass.

Removing the frame hardware

Removing the frame hardware

Then he took some pliers and removed the framer’s points and the existing hanging wire. We could have left that in place, but you could see it from the front the way it was attached. We DID leave the metal eyelet wire holders in place, using them to attach our ribbon to hang it later.

Next (and this was the awesome part!!) my husband got in on the action. He loves teaching our son how to do DIY projects! He showed our son how to measure on both sides of the frame to determine where to attach the chain.

Measuring the chain placement

Measuring the chain placement

Be sure to attach the chains high enough in the frame so that when you clip on photos they still remain in the frame opening when they hang down.

Cutting the chain was the hardest part. If we could have found our real bolt cutters, it would have been much easier. These little cutters didn’t give enough leverage, so the only person with hands strong enough to cut the chain was my hubby. If you don’t have bolt cutters, measure your frame before you go to Home Depot and use their chain cutters to cut the correct lengths you need. You will want them long enough to go side to side with just a tiny amount of slack to let it hang easily.

Cutting the Single Jack Chain to Size

Cutting the Single Jack Chain to Size

Use the upholstery tacks or staple gun to attach the chain to the back of the frame where you measured your placements. You may have to use a hammer to get the tacks in all the way. But a child can push the tacks in far enough so that they don’t have to use their fingers to hold it in place while they hammer. Easy on those little fingers!

Attaching the chain to the back of the frame

Attaching the chain to the back of the frame

Grab the curtain clip rings and remove the clips from the round pole hangers.

Using the curtain clip rings

Using the curtain clip rings

Then slip the clips onto the chain links where you want to hang your pictures – you can easily move them around as needed!

Attaching the photo clips to the frame chain

Attaching the photo clips to the frame chain

And lastly, if necessary, attach some ribbon (I used a gorgeous black velvet!) to the back to hang your frame. I simply tied it in a double knot through the existing metal eyelets.

Attaching the ribbon to hang the frame

Attaching the ribbon to hang the frame

That’s it! My son was so stinkin’ proud of himself when he was all done. It was a really simple project done in less than an hour – but the fact that he got to use “real” tools and ended up with something that looked so store-bought just sent him over the top! I hinted to my parents that I wouldn’t mind clearing out the rest of their old frame stash, but they said they wanted to keep the rest. Pfffffttt. Now I have to go thrifting to find some more!

Remember, this is Day 2 of Twleve Days of Gifts Kids Can Make! 2 down, 10 more to go!

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About the author

Founder and CEO of Woo! Jr. Kids Activities, Wendy loves creating crafts, activities and printables that help teachers educate and give parents creative ways to spend time with their children.

View all articles by Wendy Piersall

5 comments

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