How to Make a Valentine's Photo Frame Collage
For this Valentine's Day, a uniquely tailored way of sharing photos of you and your loved one is to create a heart-shaped photo frame filled to the brim with a collage of your favorite photos. This craft project is straightforward, although you'll need to put in some time and effort. The end result will melt your beloved's heart.
Acquire the supplies needed.These are listed in the "Things You'll Need" section below.
- Print out the template available in the "Sources and Citations" section below. This will be the photo frame, message board and decoration piece.
Prepare the frame from the edges of CD cases.Take the cover off the CD case so that you are left with only the thin, coloured base.
- Measure and mark a line along both left and right edges of base of the CD case. You want the distance from the inside edge of the ridge to the cut to be no less than roughly twice the thickness of the glass.
- Cut along the line, being sure not to shatter the plastic, or crack it.
- Smooth down the bumps and rough edges with a file or sand-paper.
- Repeat for the other side of the case.
- Shortenthe edge pieces.
Measure and mark 102mm from the inside of the bottom of the edge piece.Then cut off the top. The bottom should still have the lip which will finally support the glass, completing the photo frame.
- Note: Be careful that you don't end up with two for the same side!
Make a stand from wire.Cut 90–100 centimeter (35.4–39.4 in) of strong, straight wire (an old coat hanger is ideal).
- Make a bend in the middle so the angle between the metal is roughly 90°, forming an 'L' shape.
- Make the base and backing support, dividing the wire in two.
Bend the backing to cover as much area across the back of the template as possible.You will soon have to carve this shape out of the backing, so don't make it too complex.
Bend the base to support the weight of the entire collage, glass, photo, and the wire itself.The collage will naturally be heavier on the left-hand side due to the glass, which means if you bend the base to be in a clockwise shape, it will increase the stiffness and stability of the entire system.
- Ensure the wire still makes an 'L' shape viewed side-on. Namely, the base is perpendicular to the backing support.
- Make sure both halves are nice and flat. This is a little fiddly, and hard with thicker wire, possibly requiring pliers. Take your time with this step, especially for the backing, as it will make later steps much easier.
- Bend back the backing structure so that there is about a 75° angle between horizontal and the backing.
Create the board from the template you printed earlier.Outline the template onto the board. Note, that if the board you have (like the one in the photo) has a different finish on both sides, then you need to do an outline of the template the right way up, and also upside down as opposed to two the right way up. This will allow you to keep the 'nice' side facing out both front and back.
- Cut out the board using a sharp pair of scissors. Kitchen shears are much better for thicker card. You should now have two heart-shaped pieces of board with nothing on them.
- Cut grooves into the board for the stand backing-support, and the photo frame edges.
Trace around the backing-support section of the stand onto the back of one of the templates.It may be beneficial to keep the wire in place with some blue-tack. If you have a particular side you want facing out, use this side with the larger half of the heart to the right. That is, with the side the photo frame will be on facing away. It is important to get this right, otherwise you may have to cut out the card again.
Slowly carve into the card using the scalpel or sharp scissors to make a recess the size and shape of the backing-support.You will have to do this a number of times, peeling layers away from the cut as you go. If your card is not as thick as the wire used for the stand, cut the entire way through, leaving a hole.
Place the template face up on the other piece of card ensuring that it is aligned properly.Place the glass for the frame over the outline, then using a blunt pencil, or nib of a ball-point pen, firmly mark down the left and right hand edges of the glass. This should leave an indent in the card under the template. You no longer need the template after this step.
- Mark the edge pieces on the card carefully so that the shape is clear enough to carve out.
Slowly carve into the card as you did for the backing support.This time, follow the markings very carefully. The edge pieces need to fit comfortably into the grooves you create. Carve no deeper than the thickness of the glass (which is why the edge pieces were made to be twice the thickness). As you go along, test that the edge piece fits snugly into the groove you are creating.
- Glue together the two pieces of card with craft glue. Ensure that they are properly aligned and that you have carved out the correct sides. Leave to dry with pressure keeping the pieces together. A couple of phone books does nicely.
- Attach the stand to the card by placing the backing support into the groove carved out for it. It should fit nicely and (close to) flush with the card. Don't worry if it doesn't sit flush, it will still hold, but it must be at least halfway into the card.
- Add glue along the inside of the groove, then firmly push the backing-support into place. You may get an excess of glue, wipe this off with some tissues.
- Let dry with pressure on top. This is tricky, as the glue will often seep out the sides of the groove and stick to whatever is applying the pressure. It is best to choose an item of wood, or plastic to place between the card and the weight. Every 5 minutes or so for the first half an hour, move the weight and the plastic/wood to ensure it hasn't stuck to the card or stand.
- You should now have a free-standing heart-shaped card with grooves carved into the front.
Create the collage on the piece of card.You can be creative here, doing whatever takes your fancy. The easiest is to cover the card in photos of you and your loved one. Be sure not to go over the area the photo frame (left) or the message board (right) occupy, else you won't be able to put either in.
Create the message for the board.This should be a thoughtful, hand-written message on high-quality paper.
- Glue the message onto the right-side of the card within the box as marked on the template.
Attach the frame in the grooves.Use the glass of the frame to ensure that the edges are correctly aligned. You may need to carve out more to get them aligned exactly.
- Clear the grooves of any excess collage materials (overlapping photos, etc) with the scalpel/sharp scissors.
Fill the grooves with glue, then firmly press in the edge pieces.Be sure that you have them on the correct sides as in the diagram. Allowing these to dry can be tricky. You need to keep them straight and not allow them to ease their way out of the grooves. Sitting, holding each with a thumb and fore-finger is the best approach, as it will hold them steady without so much force as to skew their position.
Wrap the stand in ribbon.Take your time to cover the entire base and stem of the stand with ribbon so you can not see any wire from the front. Use a small dab of craft glue on each end to stick the ribbon down to itself. The Valentine's photo frame collage is now ready to give as a gift.
- When creating the collage, keep in mind that the glass and photo need to be taken out by sliding them from the top. If you have rough edges near the top, you can use some clear contact-adhesive (the kind used to cover school books) to make sure it is smooth so the photo and glass will slide out easily.
- When printing the template, ensure that there is no scaling. To test, take a 10x15cm photo and hold it against the photo-frame outline. If it fits, there was no scaling.
- The best shape to bend the wire for both the backing and the base is probably an N (or, Z) which will support the structure of the frame and backing without allowing twisting or tilting.
- Scalpels and/or scissors can beverysharp; use proper precautions. Supervise any use of sharp instruments by children.
Things You'll Need
A glass (or perspex) front for the photo frame. You can pick this up at your local supermarket as part of a frame
A 5mm CD case; your local bargain store should have these for less than per packet of 5
Two 40x28cm card backing board. Together, the two pieces will be joined to a depth of 3-5mm. Local Art stores often have off-cuts which are ideal. Ensure that it is card, otherwise it will be much harder to cut the necessary grooves into
90–100 centimeter (35.4–39.4 in) Thick wire.
Video: DIY Heart Photo Frame/Making Cardboard Photo Frame/Valentine's day gift idea for hubby/Room Decor
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