These photo frame decoration ideas are perfect for beginners! Make a gift or unique home decor with these 40+ picture frame ideas.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate. Some of these techniques are easier than others, but none of them are exceptionally hard. Basic crafting skills are necessary, like using a paintbrush or punches and stenciling.
I’ve taken you on a stroll through the craft store, and first we learned to decorate birdhouses. Then I showed you how to decorate a vase. Today’s trip is going to be fun because you are going to the unfinished wood section – it’s time to decorate those cheap wooden picture frames!
Photo Frame Ideas
When I say “cheap” I mean in numbers only, not quality. There are pretty decent/sturdy picture frames at the craft store for an inexpensive price.
If I’m being honest, my favorite are the $1 – $2 wooden picture frames (they usually hold 4″ x 6″ photos). These frames are inexpensive of course, but they are also the perfectsize for decorating.
I love that for a few bucks, you can create a DIY picture frame of your own. These frame decoration projects provide easy inspiration for a wide variety of techniques. Don’t be afraid to jump in. If you mess up, simply purchase another frame and start again!
Where to Get Wooden Picture Frames
You can get wood photo frames at Michaels, Jo-Ann, Walmart, Dollar Tree, and a variety of other smaller craft stores. The large chains have them for $1 typically starting at 4 x 6, and then the prices and sizes go up from there. I know sometimes they have small heart and square frames as well.
The best places to buy bulk frames are Amazon.com and Oriental Trading Company. The most inexpensive frames online are a little bit over $1, and if you have a large project (like summer camp, bible school, or a craft night) it’s more practical to buy them online anyway. Craft stores probably won’t have enough in stock.
Let’s not forget thrift stores and the Goodwill. If you’re looking for a makeover, it’s hit or miss but . . . a lot of times there’s good stuff. So check them regularly especially if you are on a budget!
I don’t use a separate sealer on top – just Mod Podge. And sometimes I use Dimensional Magic to accent certain areas or wood pieces for a little interest.
Preparing Your Surface
Many times I don’t do anything to prepare my photo frames for crafting. However my mother (an admitted perfectionist) always likes to sand her frames.
She uses a sanding block on all of her wooden frames to remove any splinters and smooth edges. You can use the frame as-is or basecoat with paint first. It’s up to you!
Paint and Mod Podge to Use
You can use regular craft paint (like FolkArt) as well as spray paint or chalk paint. The only type of paint I would shy away from is latex, at least if you are going to use Mod Podge (they don’t work well together). You don’t HAVE to paint, but I personally love to paint so I always do.
As far as Mod Podge formulas, you can use regular Matte, Satin, or Gloss depending on the finish you are going for. You don’t need to use Hard Coat unless the frame is going to be handled frequently (though you could use Hard Coat if that’s what you have on hand).
Of course the Sparkle and Glitter formulas are a nice touch to a frame, especially during the holidays. It’s really up to you.
Photo Frame Ideas
Get tons of picture frame ideas using a variety of craft supplies! Learn how to make these cool projects on a budget - plus all of them are great for beginners.
You're going to use Mod Podge and squares from your favorite comic books for this DIY photo frame! If the idea of cutting up comic books doesn't work for you, use color copies (preferably laserjet) for the task.
This DIY picture frame is so unique - you'll mix joint compound (if you can't find Collage Clay) with various colors of acrylic paint to create a textured, chippy effect. What I love about this DIY frame is that it's nearly impossible to mess up due to the technique.
If you've never tried wood burning, it's very satisfying. Learning to burn wood takes a little bit of time, but the effects are pretty amazing. You can also add paint to your photo frame decoration for some interest! Don't forget to visit my beginner's guide to wood burning - it will help you on your journey.
A photo can be directly applied to a pallet with Mod Podge to use it as a picture frame - they sell these surfaces at the craft store. Stain it and then add on top. You can also do a photo transfer directly to the wood!
Distressing a frame with chalk paint is always a favorite because it's hard to mess up. The whole point of this style is that it doesn't look uniform! This photo frame decoration idea uses two colors of chalk paint as well as an antiquing wax on top.
You can make a DIY picture frame display that packs a punch by using four separate frames and gluing them together. But I wouldn't attach them with Mod Podge; instead use a hot glue gun or strong craft glue.
The Mod Podge comes in handy when you are decorating the fronts. These have a fun Greek / sorority theme.
You can easily decorate a picture frame using wood shapes! The polka dotting above is achieved with patterned scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. I love the addition of the photos to the corners with teenie tiny clothespins.
You don't have to use maps ON a frame to decorate it! You can spray paint any larger frame in white and use maps as the background. Perfect for a kids' room or nursery, or wedding photos with a map of a special place.
A twig frame is a beautiful, rustic way to showcase your most favorite photos. For some extra authenticity, choose twigs from your own backyard or neighborhood. It works well as a group activity and can also be made kid-friendly.
You don't necessarily need to put a photo in a frame! I love this DIY frame project because it uses a monogram in the center, which means you can personalize it any way you like. This would be so pretty for a seasonal mantel.
Grabi some candlesticks, black frames, and cute little clothespins from Dollar Tree. With spray paint and a few other craft stash items, you'll be able to turn those simple frames into pedestal frames using Debbie's tutorial.
Some wooden photo frames come with glass; some don’t. If yours happens to come with glass remember that paint not only looks great on the wood but on the paint as well! You can decorate with a stencil for a piece of art or put a unique design around the photo in a painted frame.
For easy farmhouse wood sign diy i recommend buying 1 inch wood board from home depot and staining with any rustic color and cut and glue to size you like super easy and you can print a text photo on your home printer and staple to the back of the frame to make a custom text sign with cardboard to protect the paper from not breaking.
Thursday 3rd of May 2018
I read your blog. Such great tips you shared! All wooden pictures frames look so amazing! I want to try to make these type of wooden frames. Thanks for sharing this tutorial with us keep it up.
Thursday 26th of April 2018
Great ideas and so many possibilities! Fun, easy and inexpensive. Mod Podge certainly does rock - thanks for inspiration!
Wednesday 25th of April 2018
I am retiring soon and I am looking forward to making all of these projects. I will have time but little money so these gifts will be a hit without my budget taking a hit. thank you for all you do for us. I know it takes a lot of time and effort.