If you have young ones in school you know that the volume of art work is staggering at times. Once they hit school age the days of prizing every time a crayon hit paper are over. Now it’s about deciding which ones show prodigy potential and which ones can be quietly sneaked out to the recycle bin. Did I say that? But seriously, if your fridge is collapsing under the weight of your child’s works of fine art, art frames are a fun way to give them their own space.
These boards use a thin metal sheet overlayed with cute wallpaper to create a fun space for photos and art work. And if you want even more space, you can add a hidden compartment in back. I cover how to do that here.
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How to build the Art Frames:
Step 1: Adhere the wallpaper to the metal sheets.
I purchased 24×24″ squares from Lowes for $10.91 each.
It’s quite tricky to find wallpaper fragments, and kind of ridiculous to purchase an entire roll (and expensive!), so I was really excited to find that Spoonflower sells them in custom lengths. The ones I found are $5.00/ft for water activated removable, or $7.50/ft for repositionable peel and stick. If you search you may also find a coupon to lower the cost, which I was able to do. I actually ordered several of their designs, then allowed my kids to choose what they wanted. They choose Max’s Map and Dogs in Spring.
I’m not sure how well the peel and stick would adhere to the metal. I ordered the removable one and used wallpaper adhesive to make sure it stayed down. Roll a good coat on with a foam roller and carefully lay the paper over it a little at a time, smoothing it as you go. If any of the metal corners are bent at all it may have a difficult time adhering. I left some books on top of it while it dried and it stuck just fine.
Step 2: Frame the metal/wallpaper (two options)
You can create the art frames with 90 or 45 degree corners and join them with either pocket holes or staples. I used some salvaged pecan flooring pieces for my frames. They were too thin to pocket hole, so I stapled them with my pneumatic stapler. Be sure to reinforce the corners with glue. Note: if you use the staples you will want to be gentle with the frame until you get some reinforcement strips across the back to steady the frame.
I created a groove in the back of the wood frame pieces so that the frame fit snuggly inside the back of the frame. A router or table saw will work for this.
You can also skip this step and simply lay the metal in top of the back of the frames, leaving an inch and a half or so of the frame showing. If you route the grove it will need to be only as deep as the metal – about 1/8″. Then take your wood scrap pieces and lay them across the back in three or four places to lock in the metal sheet. Attach the wood braces via glue all the way across and then predrill and screw into the frame.
It should work just fine to lock in the metal sheet over the back of the frame if you haven’t grooved the wood, just tighten the wood down to the wood frames via glue and predrilled screws.
Step 3: Hang and attach masterpieces!
French cleats are my hardware of choice when it comes to hanging things with any weight. They are relatively inexpensive and make it super easy to hang evenly.
I hung these art frames in the hallway outside my kids’ room, where they can add their works of art and favorite photographs whenever they like. That said, the hallway is under construction at both ends, so the photos kind of stink. Sorry about that.
These little strong magnets work great and hold anything my kids have thrown at the art frames. Originally I thought they would be used mainly for artwork, but the kids have loved getting to look at favorite photographs as well. Mostly they love having a space of their own!