diy project: paper frames

We love old frames. We love new frames. We love framing things — old maps, family photos, menus from an important dinner and really anything we can get our hands on. But here is the problem: framing is not cheap. We wanted to create some less-expensive wall décor and came up with these very easy-to-make paper frames, made from things around the house. — bbbcraft sisters

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • scrap paper from old faxes, print-outs
  • various decorative papers, scrap paper, wrapping paper, wallpaper, or cardboard (paper bags from the grocery, old boxes)
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • a favorite black pen (we used a Uni-ball Roller Ball)
  • sticker maker or double-stick tape


1. Make the frame templates. Fold a scrap piece of 8 ½” x 11″ paper twice so that it is ¼ of its original size. Create your frame pattern by drawing just around the corner of the frame so that when you cut it out, you will have a whole frame (like when making paper snow flakes). Keeping the paper folded, cut along your lines. Using a ruler is a good way to get your lines straight and ensure a nice frame width. This is your template.

2. Tape the template to your brown paper or cardboard (or ANY decorative paper, wallpaper or wrapping paper scraps you might have) with masking tape.

3. Carefully cut out your paper frame.

4. Use your favorite pen to draw designs on the frame. Don’t worry about the patterns being perfect; they will look great with imperfections! The more time you spend on an intricate pattern, the better. These frames took about 10 minutes each.

5. Use double-stick tape on the backs of the frames (or run it through a sticker maker).

6. We painted some of the wall space with chalkboard paint so we could draw and change designs within the frames. On another wall, we placed the frames over wedding photos.

Valerie Drake

Love you ideas on frames. Very fun! It would be fun to use blackboard paint with the frames so the pictures could change from time to time.

Bekah K.

super idea! this will be super for a short term housing situation! I know what i am doing tomorrow after noon :)


Hi Calley,

We used the Xyron 9-inch Creative Station. You can change out the roll and turn it into a laminating machine!

To hang the white frames, we used double stick tape.

–bbbcraft sisters

ginnybranch stelling

i love bbb sisters’ crafts. this one is so clever and SIMPLE! this is one i might actually attempt :)

sara @ the by & by

this is such a fun idea!! i have a grouping of framed art & photos in our apartment and i could totally see mixing these graphic frames among the actual ones… yes, i think i may have to do that!

thanks for sharing!


this would work wonderfully with kids’ art! it’s quick, it’s pretty, it’s personalized, and each piece of art can have its own made-to-measure frame. thanks!


is it wrong that i kinda just want to hang a bunch of them on my doorknob, too? that first shot is amazing.


i have been waiting for months to be able to afford to buy a bunch of frames to hang in a frame cluster on my living room wall. now all i need is some paper! so excited about this!


a good question you have raised is why is framing expensive? I live in Taiwan, and framing here IS cheap. The materials are the same, but labor is less expensive than in the U.S., which begs the question why the high premium on framing things in the U.S.? Insurance costs? Business taxes? As an example, I had matted and framed 5 prints (20″ square) for the lordly cost of about US$5 apiece. That isn’t expensive, is it? I would be curious to hear from framers what their highest costs are….

Frenchee le Trip

I’d love to hear framers reply to Jackson’s question. I’ve often wondered the same thing about the high cost of framing. Mitering isn’t rocket science….

charise Harper

What a great idea for Thanksgiving I’m going to put these on the wall and my family can fill them in with things we are thankful for.
Super Cute!

Catherine Gord

I just did this on a wall of my new studio and it looks great! I used cardboard and made some of the pieces double layers so that I could run wire through the middle of the two pieces. They now serve as hanging pieces for the jewelry I create. I plan on taking them with me to craft shows because they are lightweight and flat! Not to mention an inexpensive way to fill an entire wall with fabulous looking frames!

Sarah Jane

Love it! And it would be great to do with older kids too. I also love the blackboards. So cute! “Stole” it for my blog this morning! Thanks.


I saw these and immediately wanted to share my close friend and artist Ivy Williams’ work. She did a piece last year involving paper frames where she actually beat down paper pulp and cast three dimensional frames for her prints.
They’re truly amazing, and are perhaps the next level in paper frames when you’ve mastered these ones.


Love this idea! I imagine it would also work with some cheap pre-cut mats, too.

Thanks for sharing :)


Peaches came close to my first thought … mats! I have inherited a ton of old pics back to the turn of the century 1900) and these look very similar except they have covers that dup as stands. It cost way too much to make mats even to make them and I have a zillion frames but few mats. I too feel like DUH! I’ll be making dozens of these. I also recycle everything so I can see using old cereal, etc boxes. And a buch of wrapping paper so anxious to try that look as well. Great idea for the kids room (chalk on the wall) won’t they have fun making a new pic anytime they want!


Wonderful! I’ve been looking for an effective and cheap way to frame a family picture timeline for my wedding and this is so perfect.


I Love this project! I’ve been registered to this blog for a year now, i think this is the first thing i’m going to do :)


I did these for my classroom, we were just talking about needing some frames for our kids’ art and low and behold this came along. They look DELIGHTFUL!


I love this! I am in the process of randomly drawing frames all over my walls! This has given me a great ideas for other types of frame styles to draw and put up thank you!

When I was in college, I took a photography class and took a lot of random photos some are b& w other colorful. I sometimes cut them up in strips and tape them together into a frame to frame my pictures. ^_^ This project remind me of that.


i want to make these using old paper grocery bags, but i’m concerned about the creases and wrinkles in the paper. is there a good way to “iron” those out? is that what you used in the photos? how did you get them so smooth? thx!


Thank you so much for the idea! I teach photo and I am always looking for a cost effective way to make my students prints look better. Awesome idea!


framing is so expensive because frame stock runs from $9 a linear foot to $35 dollars a linear foot depending on the decoration and quality of the stock