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Thursday, September 27, 2007

DIY Photo Frame Cardbox

OK, so I have another DIY project to share (with instructions!). I finally finished our photo frame cardbox last night. I had to hold up everything once I realized I wasn't going to be able to get the glass/photos/backing into the frames again without unscrewing my L brackets (my process was largely trial and error!).

I had to make a lot of modifications to my plan as I went along, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Hopefully those of you hoping to make one will at least be able to take away some idea of how to construct it based on these photos/instructions. So here goes...
- 4 photo frames (8"x 10" or 11"x 13", whatever you prefer--mine is 8x10 because I didn't want it to be huge--it is plenty big as it is)
- Drill
- Screw driver
- L brackets (I used four packages of four brackets)
- Screws (use the size recommended on the L brackets in terms of width. Mine were #8 screws, I believe, but only 1/2" long because didn't want to have any danger of them going through the front of the frames)
- Lazy susan (I bought mine for $5 at Walmart)
- Foam board (I bought a large one at Michael's)
- Batting material (used for "cushion" on the top)
- Pretty fabric (I bought a yard, which was way more than I needed)
- Exacto knife
- Scissors
- Stapler
- Duct tape

1) I started by putting the frames together. I measured down on the frame where I wanted to drill the pilot holes for the screws so that the L brackets would be even to connect the frames together. Then I marked the spot with a pencil.

2) Drill the pilot holes into the frames. My box of screws recommended the size for the drill bit, so I went with that. To ensure I wasn't going to drill straight through the frame, I measured like 1/3" on my drill bit and placed a piece of tape there. I only drilled up to the tape line.

3) Once all of the pilot holes are in place, you can start screwing your brackets onto the frames. This is where I made my first mistake--I put the frames together empty (since I didn't have my engagement pictures back yet). Due to the size of my L brackets, there was a bit of L bracket overlapping the back of my frames, which made it impossible for me to squeeze the glass and backing back into the frame. I had to take my frames apart again (which wasn't a big deal, but still) to actually put the photos in. So I highly recommend cleaning the inside of the glass, inserting your photos, and completing all that before screwing them together.At this point, with yours, it should look pretty "complete"--the photos and glass will be in, and your box will be solid.

4) Next, start on the top. I began by measuring the space in the top of my frames, and measured the foam board to correspond with that. I ended up having to shave a little extra off of the foam board in order to make a little room for the fabric I upholstered it with.

5) Remember to cut a hole in the middle of the foam board for your cards. I made mine pretty big, but not big enough for hands to fit inside.6) Place the piece of foam board that you just cut down on the table and lay your batting material over it. Cut around the edges, giving yourself enough extra material all the way around to be able to fold it under the bottom of the box top. 7) Start folding and stapling! Stretch the fabric around the box top and staple it to the back side. You're basically upholstering the box top. You also have to cut a slit in the middle of the material for the slit in the middle of the foam board. Just pull the edges of the fabric through and staple to the inside of the opening.

This is what it looks like when it's done.

7) Repeat steps 6-7, but with your nice fabric. I used a sparkly white fabric I found at Joann's.

8) Cut out a piece of foam board (no need to cover it in fabric) that will fit inside your frames for the bottom of the box.

9) Now, you can attach the top a few different ways. Some people velcro the top and bottom directly to the top of the frames. I chose to attach additional L brackets to the bottom and top sides of my frames to hold the bottom and top in place. You can see them in the photos below.

View of the inside of the box from the top. The bottom is already in place, but you can see the additional L brackets I put in place to hold the top of the box in place (so it won't fall down insdie of the box).

This is a photo of the box turned upside down. Here, you can see the L brackets that I attached to keep the bottom in place.

10) Secure the foam board for the bottom to the bottom of the box. I used duct tape and taped over the L brackets. It was important to me to not completely ruin the frames (we want to be able to take the box apart and use the frames after the wedding), so Ididn't want to tape anything directly to the box.

11) Attach your lazy susan to the bottom of the box (optional--if you don't want your box to spin, you don't need it). This is another area where I had to improvise. My lazy susan had a dip in it so that the middle of the lazy susan wasn't touching my box (which made it difficult to attach). I cut a few square pieces of foam core and taped them to the lazy susan to build up the middle. I then rolled little pieces of duct tape and stuck them to the foam board and taped it to the bottom of my box. It's pretty sturdy--I used a lot of duct tape to make sure of that!

This is the taped-up lazy susan right before I turned it over and attached it to the bottom of the box. Thank you to whoever invented duct tape!

12) Turn your box back over, place the top on, and you're finished!

The finished product.

This is a view of the finished top of the box.

Another angle of the finished box.

I hope this helps someone! It seems more complicated than it actually is. If you or your fiance are handy with a drill and a ruler, it's really not a problem at all. Good luck!


Dana said...

I love your card-box! Its very creative and cute. I am going to try a make one myself, I hope it goes well. Thanks so much for the great idea.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the detailed instructions and photos! I have been searching for the instructions to make one of these for a long time...so glad I finally found yours! I think my brother and future sister-in-law will love it! (If it turns out as nice as yours!)

Anonymous said...

This is so CUTE! I have been searching everyone for instructions on how to make one of these. My Fiance and I could not figure out what materials to use on the top for the life of us! Now we are going to make our box this weekend! GOOD JOB!

Anonymous said...

Would you ever consider selling your photo frame cardbox?
If so please email me at Blonde407@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Heather - Thanks so much for putting up your details instructions! I can't wait to put my card box together!

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. I want to make this for my Nice wedding. Her colors are black and red. The black frames are perfect and with a red satin, it will set the colors of her wedding. Thanks for the wonderful idea. With that they can use it for a photo cube with wedding pictures after.Just replace the satin top with another frame.

Heather said...

Thanks so much for the detailed instructions! I will definitely have to do this! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Heather, I wanted to thank you for the detailed DIY directions and photos for the your wedding cardbox. It was a fraction of the cost of buying a ready-made one, and your instructions made it sooo easy. My niece and her groom (Melissa & Rich) loved it!
Congrats on your marriage!

Gabby said...

Great Job! I'll try that myself!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted these instructions! I was so excited when I saw it that I imediately emailed it to my fiance in an email titled: can you make this? He wanted to help with wedding stuff, and this was about the least girly project he could do. Well he finished the box yesterday and I am so excited about it! I still have to put the top on it (I'm better with fabric stuff so I'm making that part) But other than that its done and it looks perfect! Thanks again!

Unknown said...

I've made my invitations, bridesmaids jewelries and hair accessories, and thought about this, but had no idea where to even begin other than buying the frames. Than you so much for the detailed instructions. I really appreciate it!!!

I'm going shopping now! Wish me luck!

CaraM said...

Thanks so much for keeping this very detailed DIY project up for others to get ideas from! It's definitely the most helpful step-by-step instructions I have found, and it is helping and inspiring me to make my own, which I just started yesterday! Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for giving such detailed instructions on this! My fiance just finished making ours. It took a few hours, but thanks to your directions, it was really easy. It looks great! Thanks so much!

FashionFrames said...

Your detailed instruction made it really easy for us to make such a frame. A picture frame which is incredibly beautiful

Anonymous said...

Thank you !!!
My wife Jaimee wants me to make her one for her daughter amanda ,who is getting married to gilbert.I have a grandson named Anthony and he call's me "PaPa"

best wishes Jeff

Kim said...

How do you open the box to get the cards out?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the detailed instructions and pictures of how to make a photo frame cardbox! I worked on mine last night and I couldn't be happier with it! My total cost for the whole project was under $50 (something every bride would appreciate). I think it took me more time to shop for the right frames (pretty but inexpensive) and lazy susan than it did to put it together. Thanks again, Heather :)

Anonymous said...

definitely helped me get this going! thanks for putting the time in to make this blog so detailed!

Mehgan said...

I actually just finished mine tonight! I don't remember how I found your post but I came across it months ago adn knew I wanted to do this. I finished it tonight. I made a blog post about it, actually. I had to do mine a little differently b/c of some hurdles but it otherwise turned out great! I'm so excited to have it at my wedding! Here's my blog post about it:


Unknown said...

I stumbled across your post the other day and my fiance and I just put together our card box. Your directions were great and I am so excited about how it turned out. I just need to add our pictures. I can't wait to show it off at our August wedding!