How to Frame Your Phone Photos with Ribbon Scraps

Is your cell phone filled with photos you took of your favorite people or things, but other than sharing online they stay only on your phone? Do you also have old picture frames that you are no longer using because their style looks outdated?

How to size a phone photo for printing and framing.

If you answered yes to either of these questions, then I have an easy DIY for you where you will be able to display your favorite phone photos in very colorful ways. This quick project also makes a nice Mother’s Day gift.

An Old Photo Frame Before Getting a Makeover

Old gold painted photo frame before makeover

I have had this small table top style frame for a long time. I kept it even though I have not used it in years, knowing someday I would come up with a creative idea for it.

Over the past year, I have been taking photos or receiving texts on my phone of my granddaughter. I love every single one, but I can only see them on my phone and decided to print a few of my favorites to place in tabletop frames.

You may remember I recently made a gallery wall in my living room using large black and white frames so I could see my family and not just on my phone. I also upcycled thrift store photo frames with family photos in my foyer.

When I printed my photos, the orientation portrait/landscape wasn’t right for some of the old frames I had or a few existing photos I wanted to frame were too small to fit in the frame and or its mat.

I solved this sizing problem by using cardboard and ribbon.

How You Can Use Any Size Photo In Any Size Frame

Decorative ribbons allow you to frame photos attractively without the time or expense of custom matting. Even if you have a photo that doesn’t fit quite right in a frame. Making a ribbon mat will make it fit just fine.

When you use ribbon to make a mat for the photo you want to frame, the ribbon will act as a custom mat as wide or narrow as you need. You can even overlap more than one ribbon to create unique and wider mats for large frames.

If your photo was taken in a portrait position and you want to use a square frame or if any frame or mat is not the right size or shape for an existing photo, creating a ribbon mat is how you make the two work together.

How to Make a Scrap Ribbon Picture Frame Mat

White and yellow ribbon mat DIY on a white photo frame

I used scraps of ribbon from previous projects to make my photo frame mats for smaller table top style frames. You may have different types of ribbon and/or embellishments and trim. Any of it will work as long as it is flat.

If you have larger photos and frames, you will need to get a spool of ribbon or enough yardage for your size frame.

I painted the frame using white chalk paint. I distressed the edges with 100 grit sandpaper and then added a layer of clear wax over it and buffed with a soft cloth to a soft sheen.

supplies needed:

  • Frame with or without a mat
  • Ribbon
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Tape or a glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Rickrack or other flat embellishments

Time needed: 20 minutes

  1. Choose Frame and Trim Photo to Size

    Choose the section of your photo that you want to appear within the frame. Keep in mind that ribbon matting will be covering some of the photo’s edges, so don’t cut off too much of the photo.

  2. Center Photo on Cardboard

    Center the photo on the frame’s backing board or on a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the frame’s opening. Mark the four corners of the picture on the board.

    Pink and white gingham ribbon made into a photo frame mat for a small picture frame.

  3. Glue Photo

    Mount the photo onto the backer board or cardboard with a glue-stick or double-sided tape, using your marks as a guide to center it.

  4. Choose Ribbon

    Select a ribbon that is wide enough to slightly overlap the photo and cover the exposed board. Affix the ribbon across the top and bottom first with craft glue. Trim ribbon right against the edge. Next add a piece down each side, overlapping the first two pieces at the corners.

    Option: You can wrap the ends of the ribbon to the back of the cardboard and use tape to secure. Doing this does make the photo/mat combo thicker and depending on the room in the frame, the back may not close correctly.

    For the photo below, I simply covered the existing mat that came with the frame with wide ribbon and wrapped the ends of the ribbon around to the back and secured with tape.

    Yellow and white stripe ribbon scraps made into a picture frame mat.

  5. Place Ribbon Matted Photo In Frame

    Once you have the ribbon secured on the cardboard or backer board, place into frame.

    White picture frame with yellow stripe ribbon scrap picture frame mat.

Ribbon Picture Frame Mat Variations:

  • Get creative by layering or overlapping ribbons or using different colors and types of ribbons. You can even make a ribbon bow and glue it on to the frame. You are the designer.
  • Like a neutral look? Wide white grosgrain ribbon makes a great looking classic mat. Overlap it over another piece the same color or take a color from the photo and use a ribbon in that color to create a double mat where the under ribbon in an accent color sticks out a little.
  • For a scalloped effect, glue rickrack along the outer edge of the ribbon so it is partially hidden by the edge of the frame. Or, lay picot under the ribbon so just the loops show.
3 ways to use ribbon as picture frame mats

Where to Print Photos From Your Phone

I print my photos to size from my printer’s app on my phone. It prints my photos directly to my printer that I fill with photo paper. I buy the photo paper at Walmart or you can buy it online.

If you don’t have a printer app on your phone, send the photos to your email and then print them using your computer’s print function to your printer.

Another phone photo printing option is to get your photos printed to the sizes you need online or in the store at Walgreen’s or Walmart. They can usually be printed and ready within an hour.

More Decorating With Ribbon Ideas & Inspiration

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  1. Your tables must be filled with photo frames – she is ADORABLE!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Chris – Thank-you. It is hard not wanting to frame every single photo I get of my granddaughter. With cellphones I get new ones sent to me daily. :-)

  2. I have to say- this was such a clever idea!
    Not surprising that you came up with it.

  3. This is such a great idea, and I LOVE the photo you chose. So adorable!

  4. Patricia Burns says:

    Where does the time go?? Your little granddaughter isnt even a baby any longer!! But she is still very sweet!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia – She is getting big. My daughter has been Facetiming me every few days showing how well she is walking. :-)

  5. I think you would LOVE a cloud based digital frame. I have one by Nixplay but there are other brands. Selfishly I would really like to see how you dress one up!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cathleen – A friend of mine asked for a digital frame for Christmas. I did get it for them, but thought it was pretty ugly – plastic grey/ black. If it were mine, I would spray paint it or figure out a way to make a more traditional frame for it using decorative wood molding.

  6. Nancy Bowen says:

    no photo printing anywhere due to Corov 19.
    walmart has shut down entire photo area.

    ps your grandbaby is adorable.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – Thanks for letting me know that the photo areas were shut down. :-( Thank goodness for home printers. I miss my little Zoe so much. I get to see her now only through videos and Skype calls.

  7. Thanks so much for this GREAT idea!

  8. What a great idea! So creative. I have tons of ribbon left over from making hair bows for my granddaughter. Can’t wait to get started! I have painted linen mats before, but have you successfully painted regular paper matting before? I have a lot of large picture frames with faded and outdated colors. Thanks so much for so many great ideas. Love your blog!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ann – I have not painted regular paper mats before. I think if I did, I would spray with a primer first or a spray primer/paint in one formula. Probably a matte sheen. Using the primer would stop the paint from absorbing into the porous paper too much.

  9. I really like this idea of using a ribbon instead of a mat board. I’m in the process of redoing some artwork and will use this when I go to frame them. You always have such great suggestions. Thanks a bunch!

  10. Please tell me the printer you use to print such good quality photos. Thank you!

  11. This is so creative! You knocked it out of the park with this idea, Diane. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone shopping for a frame because none of the ones I had would work! Thank you, thank you!

  12. WOW… great job! What a clever idea, love it!!

  13. 1960s girl says:

    What a great idea! The picture frame and the ladies in the photo look beautiful! Your grand-daughter and her aunt have the same smile!
    I promised myself that when we get out of confinement, I will keep a stash of arts and crafts material, I’m almost out of stock! And I will buy ribbons for sure! ; )
    Have a great day!

  14. Love these frames. Thanks for the fun idea. Zoe is the cutest❤️