Create FREE Picture Frames

6 Materials
3 Days

Here at Sunny Side Design, we’re all about creating beautiful spaces in our homes on a budget! You can’t get any more budget-friendly than creating a gallery wall for FREE! It’s likely that we all have empty cardboard boxes at home. Don’t throw them out just yet. We’re so excited to show you how to create cardboard picture frames using Saltwash!

Not only is this project cost effective, but it’s a great activity to let the kids help with. Heaven knows all of us Mommas need some creative ideas to keep the kids entertained this summer!

Before creating cardboard picture frames, think where you’ll be displaying them to get accurate measurements.

I’d been planning to create a gallery wall of all the cute art my kids make for sometime. Using a large roll of paper we sketched out each frame and cut them to size. Then we were able to arrange them on the wall with painters tape to see if we liked the layout before we stuck any nails in the wall.

Click the video link below to see how to make these cardboard picture frames in action.

Cutting Cardboard

The benefit to creating your own picture frames is that you can customize them to any space in your home! Having free cardboard lying around doesn’t hurt either! Who doesn’t like a cost effective home decor project?

After the cardboard picture frames have been measured and sketched onto scraps of cardboard, begin cutting out each frame.

To make easy work of this, we used a quilting ruler. This made it really easy to create straight edges and perfect angles.

A utility knife works great for cutting through the cardboard, although it works even better if you begin with a new blade!

(For safety, we made all of the cuts so the kids wouldn’t get hurt.)

Cut a minimum of two pieces of cardboard to size per each frame. Each layer will be held together using hot glue.

For the above cardboard picture frame we glued four layers together. The first three layers were all cut to the same size, with the same opening in the middle.

The fourth layer (the top layer) of the cardboard picture frame was cut to the same dimensions of the outer edges of the frame. The inside edge was cut 1/4″ smaller than the other layers. This was done to create a lip for the artwork to rest on.

*Be sure to save the cardboard pieces cut from the middle of the frames. These will be used as the backing for the artwork.

The Magic Ingredient!

Although it’s pretty unique to be making picture frames using cardboard, Saltwash is the secret to creating picture frames that don’t look like cardboard at all!

Saltwash is a paint additive primarily designed to create a weathered and worn paint finish on furniture. We’ve used Saltwash on many projects around our homes, mainly on furniture. However, we’re starting to push the limits and see what other projects we can use Saltwash for to create unique home decor items.

The key to using Saltwash correctly to make these cardboard picture frames, is to mix the correct consistency. The general ratio is a 1:1 mixture of paint and Saltwash. A little more paint additive may be needed for this project. The paint mixture should be thick enough that it won’t fall off the stir stick when held up.

Using Saltwash is a technique all on it's own, yet it's easy enough that my kids like to help with it! Truly anyone can do this, there's NO way to mess it up!

To learn more about how to apply Saltwash and create this finish see our ORIGINAL POST FOR MORE DETAILS AND STEP BY STEP DIRECTIONS.

*We also have a link in our original post so you can grab your own Saltwash*

Here's a quick look at some of the finished picture frames.

I love the amazing texture the Saltwash creates! It almost looks like these frames are old vintage metal frames.

What do you think? Would you have ever thought to create picture frames using cardboard? Let us know what you think, we love hearing from you!

And as always here at Sunny Side Design


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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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