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 Do you also have old picture frames that you are no longer using because their style looks outdated?
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
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.
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
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.
- Frame with or without a mat
- Tape or a glue stick
- Rickrack or other flat embellishments
Time needed: 20 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place Ribbon Matted Photo In Frame
Once you have the ribbon secured on the cardboard or backer board, place into frame.
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.
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.