Diane Gilleland from CraftyPod visits to share a fun wallpaper DIY for Spoonflower Hacks project month—magnetic photo frames made with custom printed wallpaper and stitched up with thread for a special handmade touch.
Spoonflower wallpaper is dandy stuff for a variety of paper-y crafts. It has a beautiful, lightly glossy finish, a nice heft, and best of all, it comes with its own built-in glue! Given all these qualities, I decided to use it to make some magnet photo frames for my kitchen. They’re really easy to make, and would also make cool place cards for a wedding or summer party, or stocking stuffer-type gifts for later on in the year.
Materials (per frame):
- Photo (see note below)
- 1 swatch of Spoonflower wallpaper (I’m using several designs here: Tatami by hitomikimura, Twinkie by yardwork, Seashell by leventetladiscorde, Free Falling by fran2013 and Doilies Tan by katarina.)
- Chipboard (a cereal or cracker box works fine)
- Quilting ruler and pencil (measuring)
- Metal ruler, craft knife, and cutting surface
- Sponge brush, small dish of water
- Sewing machine and thread (optional)
- Craft glue
- Adhesive-backed magnet sheet
Notes: This project is designed for photos of any size and shape you like—you’ll build your frame around the photo. I cropped my photos to non-standard sizes on my computer and printed them onto photo paper at home. You can also have photo prints made somewhere. Just make sure your photo can fit at least twice within your wallpaper swatch, with some room to spare.
Since wallpaper designs are often large in scale, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the scale ruler on the designs you’re considering. Remember that you’ll only be seeing a small amount of the design in the finished frame, so choose something with a smaller scale, or something that can look a bit more abstract. Or, heck—this is Spoonflower; design your own wallpaper in the scale you like!
Depending on the size of your frames and photographs, you should be able to get several of them out of one wallpaper swatch.
Step 1. Measure your photo and create a cardboard template.
Start by measuring the image area of your photo, 1/8″ inside all four edges.
Then, use a ruler and pencil to draw a square or rectangle this size on a piece of chipboard.
Next, measure 3/4″ outside this shape on all four sides, and draw a second square/rectangle. This is the front of your frame.
Step 2. Carefully cut out the frame front with a ruler and craft knife.
Cut out the center opening, too.
Then, trace around the outside edge of this piece onto some more chipboard, and cut that rectangle out to make the frame back.
Trim away about 1/8″ from one short side and one long side of the back, making it just a little smaller than the front.
Step 3. Trace your frame pieces onto wallpaper.
Now, spread out your wallpaper swatch face down. Position the two pieces of your frame over the back of the wallpaper, leaving a good inch of space on all sides.
Trace the frame pieces onto the wallpaper, and don’t forget to trace the inside opening of the frame front!
A note here: If you want to get fairly specific placement of the wallpaper design on your frame, you can try this trick: trace the frame front onto a scrap of tracing paper. Then position this on the front of the wallpaper, moving it around until you have the placement you like.
Measure the distance from the nearest two edges of the wallpaper to the outer edges of the frame and write these down. Then, flip the wallpaper back over, measure, and place your chipboard at that spot for tracing.
Step 4. Create your frame.
Measure 1/2″ beyond the inner and outer edges of the frame front, and draw these lines on the wallpaper. (Draw them fairly dark, too.) Do the same thing with the frame back.
Then, add some extra lines, which you can just eyeball: draw lines at the corners of the inside front opening as shown, and draw lines that slightly taper at the outer corners of both the front and back.
Carefully cut the wallpaper out along these lines.
Step 5. Wet your wallpaper.
Pour a small dish of water now, and get a sponge brush lightly moist with it. Brush water over the back of the wallpaper—just enough to where you can see the paste starting to emerge.
Try not to wash away your pencil lines in the process; you’ll need to be able to see at least parts of these to line up your chipboard pieces.
Step 6. Place your chipboard.
Now, place the chipboard front piece on the back of the wallpaper, lining it up with your traced lines.
Gently press the chipboard down, and then fold all edges of the wallpaper over the chipboard.
They’ll stick beautifully. Do the same thing with the frame back.
Place both pieces under some heavy books for 15 minutes or so.
Step 7. Optional: Add some stitching to your frame.
If you like, you can add some stitching to embellish your frame.
I just put the front piece on my sewing machine and sewed a row or two, starting about 1/8″ away from the inner opening. Straight stitch and zig zag stitch both look nice.
Don’t backstitch at the start or end of these seams. Instead, leave tails of thread hanging.
You can thread these onto a hand-sewing needle and pull them to the back of the frame for a cleaner finish, and then cut the threads away.
Step 8. Glue the front and back together.
Last, glue the front and back together along three sides with craft glue. All you need is a small amount along the edges – and don’t forget to leave one side open so you can slide in the photo!
Put the frame under the heavy books again while the glue dries, and then trim a piece of magnet sheet to fit the back and stick it on.
Slide in your photo and you’re all set!
What else can you do with this self-gluing wallpaper? You could use it for greeting cards, gift tags, covering boxes, or covering composition books, just to name a few projects!
About Our Guest Blogger
Diane Gilleland blogs, podcasts, publishes, teaches, and makes videos about all things crafty over at CraftyPod.com. When she’s not doing those things, she’s doing whatever her cat tells her to do. And what’s wrong with that?