DIY Photo Frame Pinboards: Colorful, Cute, and Easy!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Looking for a really easy, really inexpensive, but super cute crafty idea, perhaps for  a few of this year's Christmas gifts? How do you like these photo frame pinboards? I made these last Christmas, and I can tell you that ANYONE can do this.

Who's in? 

Photo Frame Pinboards Supply List

1. Photo frames:
Any frame will work, but these are 5x7s and 8x10s from Hobby Lobby. They have the cute shaped ones for about $7-$10 each (after their "frames are always 50% off" deal).

2. White foam core board: 
like the kind you used in school for presentations and things.

3. Approx 1/4 yard of fabric:  
The fabrics I used here are "duck" fabric, a thicker, canvas-like cotton that is often used for indoor/outdoor projects. But regular cotton should work, too. Steer clear of stretchy fabrics.

4. Xacto knife and straight edge with self-healing mat: 
Honestly, scissors, etc., will not work for this. And you'll rue the day you use an xacto without a self-healing mat. If you don't own one, maybe ask a quilter friend to borrow hers?

5. Duct tape: any color

6. Map pins or any other cute push pins


To start, you'll remove the glass and innards from your frame. Warning-- if you get a frame like that ornate mint one in the first photo, you'll discover AFTER you brought it home that the glass is glued in. Seriously glued in. But your husband might be willing to save the day and hammer/pry it out for you, if you ask nicely. To avoid this in the first place, just check while you're still in the store to see if your frame's glass comes out like most normal frames SHOULD. 

Okay, so once glass is removed, measure the inside area just to be sure it's 5x7" or whatever it is supposed to be. It might be a slightly bigger opening, so getting the measurements right is a good idea. 

Then you are going to take your ruler and a pen and mark a rectangle on your foam core. Make it a millimeter or two smaller than the opening you just measured. Then take your straight edge ruler and xacto knife and CAREFULLY cut out your foam board.

Next, you'll cut a rectangle of fabric that is about 2-3" larger all around than your foam board. This does not have to be precise. Just be generous. Looking at the image above, you'll see some pen parks at each corner. This shows where you are going to cut corners off of the fabric. You don't want them to be right at the edge of the foam board--- you need a few millimeters of room for when you fold the fabric onto itself. Giving this wiggle room keeps the corners from poking out of the fabric as it gets wrapped around. 

Okay. Your corners trimmed and your fabric is ready-- it's time to pull out your duct tape and get that fabric onto your foam board. Start wherever, and tape your fabric in place. It's like wrapping a gift, kind of! The next side you want to tape up is the one directly opposite the first one. This helps maintain tension in the fabric. So do opposite ends first, then turn it and do the other two opposite ends. No need to cover every inch-- just get it so it feels really nice and snug on the other side.

And you're literally almost done. Now you just push this fabric-covered board into the frame, like this:
And at this point, if you want a nice finish, you get to wrestle the back of the frame back on. I have to say, this was, by far, the hardest part of the whole thing. Because the foam board is thick, and the fabric makes it thicker, so in order to get your thin wood frame back to fit back on, it takes some muscle. I shoved one end into the pre-cut groove most frames now have, then just stubbornly muscled the rest of it in with a few choice words and a lot of perseverance. Once the whole thing is in the grooves, these frames have those metal prongs you fold back down to hold it all in place. 

And then, all that is left is to get your favorite photos, or maybe something cute your little one drew for you, or another memento like concert tickets, etc., and use a push pin to tack it to your photo-frame-turned-pinboard. Best part--- it's easy to switch out the things you display, because the fabric masks the pin holes as you change things over time.

And there you go--- because you can use nearly ANY frame, and ANY fabric, these cute pinboards are so easy to match to your style and favorite colors. You can go the shabby chic route with ornate white frames and some floral fabric, or trendy-modern like the chevrons and ikats shown here. You could match one to your baby's nursery. The possibilities are endless! Who on your Christmas list could use one of these?

(Oh, and bonus: if you have a crafty 6-year-old, you can give him your fabric scraps and he'll turn around and make them into "jet robots" with some scotch tape and a lot of inner vision. And then he'll write love notes on them and insist you never throw them away. And you might, if you're a little loony like me, laminate a few of them, just for fun, and actually keep a couple. But that is all super hypothetical.)



  1. Ugh. SO CUTE. I can't even handle it. Thank you for Christmas gift ideas!!

  2. These are lovely!! I want to make a couple for my classroom.

  3. Very nice! And the Noah project is even better.

  4. I love these! So clever, nice work :)


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