Photo Frame Recipe Holder

How to Make a Pedestal Photo Frame with two panes of glass to create a see through center for your photo or image. 

I am sharing a fun creative project. It is a knock-off DIY Photo Frame Recipe Holder that I made as a gift to give my younger sister, Laura.  It could also be used for your favorite photo if you don’t have a fave recipe.


Earlier this summer, Laura gave me this Heirloom Recipe Holder for my birthday. She bought it at her local Hallmark. Since I have a twin sister, Laura needed to buy two and called around to every Hallmark store in the Philadelphia area until she found another one so she could give us both the same thing.

If you ever need to know what it is like to have identical twins as sisters – Laura is your girl for answers.  :-)


Both my twin sister, Carol and I LOVED it, but what we loved even more than the recipe holder itself, was that Laura had the favorite family recipe in my Mother’s handwriting copied and placed in the decorative holder.

My mom passed away 4 years ago, so seeing this cherished recipe in her handwriting made the gift all the more special.

Here is the one I made

I know it is still months away, but if you like to make holiday gifts to give your family and friends..this is perfect. You can make one for yourself and make a few to give as gifts this holiday season. It is never too early to get started on your holiday gift giving list.


When I asked Laura if she got one for herself, she said she wanted one, but there were no more to be found.  I decided she needed one too and called all around, went online, and found that the holder was a limited edition Mother’s Day gift sold by Hallmark that they do not carry anymore.

After looking at the holder in more detail, I knew I could make one for her using ready made wood parts sold at the craft store.  Above is the front of my version. It shows the ingredient list.


Here is what it looks like from the back.  It has the steps needed to make the recipe.

I made this post photo-heavy so you can see each step up close.  It may seem like a lot, but since all the pieces used to make it are pre-made – there is not much more to do than cut, glue, and paint.

How to Make a Pedestal Photo Frame Recipe Holder

I found all of the supplies at AC Moore in the wood crafting aisle.  Cost: Under $20.00. I used my coupons. Once you make one, you will be able to make a few for your friends in production line style very easily.


supplies needed: 

  • 2 – Nicole Brand 5″ x 7″ wood frames with glass
  • 1 Wood Candle Holder  – 4″ high
  • 1 Acorn Dowel Cap 3/8″
  • 1 Walnut Hollow Wood Circle Item # 29057
  • 3 Balsa wood sticks – 3/16″ x 3″/16″square x 24″ long
  • 1 Balsa wood sheet – 3/16″thick x 1″ wide x 24″ long (you may be able to find a shorter piece, but that is how the sheets were sold.
  • 1 – 4″ diameter piece of felt
  • JB Weld Clear Weld Quick Setting Epoxy
  • Hot glue gun and glue stick
  • 1 – 2″ long finishing nail
  • Hammer
  • Spackle
  • 160 grit sandpaper
  • Chalk paint, 1 ” wide paint brush, and clear wax
  • Tack cloth
  • Scissors

1. Remove the easels from the back of the frames. Carefully remove the glass from the frames and set aside.  Using a screwdriver, remove the easel holders and screws.


2. Lay one balsa wood square stick along bottom of frame and mark length with a pencil. Repeat for sides of frame so you have 3 cut sticks.

You do not need one for the top since this is where the glass will go in and out when you want to change what is in the frame once it is assembled.


3. Cut the sticks with a miter box and saw or if you don’t have one, the sticks are very soft and can be cut with a craft knife or even wire cutters. Sand the cut edges to smooth.


4. You will need to cut more strips for each frame where the glass once sat. Cut 4 for each frame.


This is view of the cut sticks and where to place them. Cut the wide piece of balsa wood for the top last, so you can cut it to fit inside the frames once they are glued together.

It is a removable piece and does not get glued to the frames.


5. You only need to cut one set of sticks for the outer edge on the back of one frame. (Arrows: 1, 2, 3 ) You will need 4 sticks for the inside of both frames so that the back of the frames are level.  2 x 4=8 sticks.

Tutorial on photo frame making

6. Now you need to cut one last stick to place slightly overlapping the bottom inside frame. This is needed to stop the glass.  

Note: I used 2 scrap pieces, but you can use one long piece as a stopping place for the glass.


7. Place the wood circle on a piece of felt and trace around it. Cut out and set aside.


8. With a pair of pliers, screwdriver, or tiny crow bar type tool,  turn the metal insert in the candle cup to the inside of the cup.

I could not remove it, so I just pushed it inside.


9. Fill the cup with hot glue. You want to create a level surface on the top of the candle holder. Let dry.

Use quick setting wood epoxy to attach the candle holder to the wood circle; let dry.

If needed, use Q-Tips to clean up glue around the edge of the candle holder base.


10. Drill a hole in the wood acorn.


11. Using a 1 -1/2″ finishing nail, hammer the acorn into the center top edge of the wide piece of balsa wood.

Use a nail punch to drive the nail head beneath the top of the acorn.

Fill nail hole and the hole on the underside of the acorn with Spackle, wood filler, or paintable caulk.


12. The wide balsa wood piece cut for the top also needs to be cut lengthwise to fit into the sandwiched frames so that is is even with the top of the frames once it is placed inside.

It is really soft wood and can be easily cut with a craft knife.  Cut 1/4″ off the length.

I penciled a line and used a ruler to run my craft knife along to make a straight cut.


13. Sand the sides of the wood with 100 grit sandpaper to thin it out so it will fit into the holder once it is assembled.

It only takes a few minutes since the wood is so soft. Round the top edges slightly so that taking the piece in and out of the holder when needed is easy.


Sand all the pieces with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth. Use a tack cloth to clean away the grit before painting.

Now you are ready to assemble the pieces. The long piece of balsa wood with the acorn is a removable piece of the completed holder and will not be glued to the frames.


14. Line up the two frames on a flat surface and glue them together with quick drying epoxy. Let dry.


15. Once glue on frames is dry, use the epoxy to attach them to the top of the candle holder.

Make sure the opening of the frame is at the top.  Use a lot of glue and hold frames in place for a minute or two.

Wipe away excess glue. Let dry on a level surface.


16. Use Spackle, wood filler, or paintable caulk to fill in any holes or mismatched edges. Let dry and sand smooth.

Prime or use chalk paint to paint the holder, let dry. Add a second coat, let dry.

Note: See the opening at the top of the sandwiched frames – this is where the glass and the acorn topper piece will go in.


17. If you want to distress the holder, use 160 grit sandpaper along a few edges.

If you want to darken the distressing, wipe antiquing glaze over the distressed edges and then…


… quickly wipe it away with a damp paper towel.

18. Attach cut circle of felt to the bottom with an even coat of glue.

To Insert Glass into Assembled Photo Frame Recipe Holder:


Cut out recipe front and back to size.


Use a roll of tape in between the papers to hold them together.  Hold the two pieces of glass together and place in top of holder.

Place the acorn topper in the top of the holder to close the center section.


When you want to change the recipe or photo, simply remove the acorn topper piece and then hold one side of the glass with your thumb and the other side with your index finger.

Push up to remove.


I hope my sister loves it.  XO

Recipe-Holder Photo Frame step by step photo tutorial

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  1. I am about to make one of these fabulous recipe holders! My question is did you tape the glass together tight so the recipe doesn’t slip around or what makes it not slip position?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – So sorry that it took me so long to reply to your question. If the glass you use is thick enough, when the photo or recipe card is sandwiched in-between the glass it will provide a snug fit. If not, I think your idea of taping the top, sides and bottom edges of the glass that won’t be seen once the glass with the photo/card sandwiched inside is an excellent idea. I didn’t do this, but it should provide the “tightness” needed.

  2. I love this frame but don’t quit understand the Balsa wood sheet measurements.
    Is it 3/16 thick by 3” wide by 16” long also another 24” long. Sorry I just get confused with measurements. The Balsa wood sticks are the same also?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Debbie – I will try to help you as best you can. I can see in the post that the dimensions are spread out making them hard to read. I will fix that. But here are the dimensions: Sticks: 3/16″ x 3/16″ square x 24″long. The sheet is 3/16″ thick and about 1″ wide. It was a 16″ long piece that I bought for that.

      If you have a hard time with measurements, it may help if you go the the craft store section where all the Basla wood is so you can see what the sheet pieces look like. I bought this one just as it was and only had to cut the length so it would fit into the frame.

      Let me know if this makes sense?

  3. I love this! I lost my mother when I was 15, and I have a few of her handwritten recipes that this would work out great for.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carole – So sorry to hear you lost your mom at such a young age. I made the recipe card holder 5 years ago to give to my sister. She is so happy to have one, too like she gave my sister and I. I know Michaels sells 4 x 6 frames very similar if you didn’t want to make one. Here is the link to it:

  4. Hi Diane and thank you for the wonderful DIY project. I LOVE IT and will give it a try.
    My daughter said to me when I showed her your post ” Mom you can just copy the recipe to your phone; you don’t need something like this to take up counter space. I had to laugh because the newer generations just don’t get it, do they?

    You inspire me every time you post these types of projects and I always enjoy seeing what you come up with. All my best to you, Carole

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carole –

      Reading your comment about your daughter’s reaction to you liking the frame made me smile. I agree, they just done’t get it sometimes. :-) Since I made the frame quite a few years ago, I know that Michaels sells one now that is similar. Plus, it comes in a few different colors. You might want to check it out. Here is the link to it:

      Thanks for reading my blog.

  5. Great inspiring idea! Thank you.

  6. you can also use 6000 glue and it holds wonderfully; I use it for all my projects and outside projects

  7. Diane- I don’t know how I missed this post when it came out but I just love this recipe holder! What a wonderful way to display special family recipes. I think I’ll give it a try!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Toni – The recipe holder would look wonderful in your kitchen. I am sure you have quite a few favorite recipes from your mom that would make you happy to see in your kitchen. Making it at first may seem hard, but once you understand how the pieces all go together, it is pretty easy to make. AC Moore has the best small wood parts. If I remember the store layout, I think the parts are on an end cap in the front left hand corner of the Montgomeryville store.

  8. Dear Diane,
    I’m from Germany, my English is not the best one, but I want to say: I love your creative work!!!
    You’re an amazing woman!
    Now I’ve got a question, how does it work, that the two glasses in the recipe-holder hold together?
    And how does the paper hold between the glasses, that it don’ slide down?
    It will be nice, when I get an answer from you!
    Lovely greetings from Germany

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susanne – Your English is great. I love hearing from readers from different countries. The glass is held up by two small pieces of wood on the inside of the frame. The two-pieces of glass are close enough together that they just hold the paper in place. The way I place the paper in is to take one piece of glass out of the frame and center your paper on it, then place it in the frame. If you have two pieces, you can glue them together back to back. This makes the paper a bit thicker and can help to hold the paper in place, too.

  9. Good stuff! I am loving this lil’ project and will certainly be making some for myself and others. Thanks so much!

  10. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I love the sentiment and well you did a most fantastic job of duplicating this gift for your sweet sister. It is fitting that she have one also. How wonderful.

  11. Helen Henkler says:

    Your projects are always spot-on, Diane and I know a few people who’d love this. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I love this knock off. I am going to see if Meg, my youngest want to give it a try. She is becoming quite the DYI’er! As always, great helpful photo are appreciated very much. Happy weekend, Linda

  13. Hammersmith Rubbish Removal | Margeret says:

    Totally love the vintage look of the frame, Diane. Thanks for sharing this wonderful project!

  14. This is great idea and I love to make these and give them out as gifts for sure.

  15. Gorgeous! What a wonderful gift idea and I love the idea of making it myself.

  16. Will you adopt me as a sister?!!!! Your’s looks so awesome. None of my big box craft stores have a very good selection of wood items, but I can usually find something online at Amazon. I think I need to try to make one for myself, then if I do a good job, I will make one for my mom and sister. Thank you for sharing all of the deets, I just love it.

  17. This is so cute, your sister is going to love it. Being a recipe person, this is perfect for me. Will have to see if I can find the supplies at Michaels, I don’t have a wood store near me.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Gina – The Michaels store by me does not have a great selection of wood pieces. AC Moore has a wide selection. I don’t have a Hobby Lobby near me, but they may carry all of it also. You may be able to get the products online. If not, an old fashioned hobby store would have the long square wood sticks and balsa wood pieces. I will do a search online to see if I can find all the supplies. If I do I will place the links into the post.

      1. We do have a brand new Hobby Lobby will check them first. I do use online sources often since I live pretty far out. Thanks Diane.

  18. Christianne says:

    Excellent duplication Diane. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Wow! It’s great and what a wonderful gift idea. You give some of the best tutorials of any blog I read. Well done!

  20. Joanne B. says:

    I love your version even better! Mostly I love the idea and the sentiment behind this- how lovely to know your Mom is in the kitchen with you and your sisters. I have one of my mom’s old teaspoons from the flatware set from when I was growing up. Every morning ‘we’ have coffee together and it literally starts my day with a nod from Mom. Love this and love your style.

  21. Marie@The Interior Frugalista says:

    I love this Diane and appreciate the easy to follow tutorial! I have recipes written by my late Grandmother and my Mother who suffers from Alzheimers. This would make perfect gifts for my sisters. Thank you for the inspiration!

  22. I absolutely LOVE this Diane! I cherish my Nana’s recipes and there is something so wonderful about seeing them in her handwriting. I can’t wait to make one of these for myself. Thanks for another fabulous idea! :)

  23. Wow!! Lovely work of art!! I Love it and I’m sure your sister will as well…..
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  24. Very cool! And now I’m hungry for some chicken bott boi — love those Pennsylvania Dutch noodles (that’s for all the poor deprived folks who are scratching their heads about bott boi).

  25. Leslie @ House on the Way says:

    Absolutely LOVE it! Great job!

  26. Amazing and so very creative! I love the sentiment behind your thoughtful gift to your sister.

  27. Very nice! Putting this on my to-do list! Thanks so much!

  28. Amazing, Diane. I love it! You are so incredibly talented.

  29. Jo @ Let's Face the Music says:

    Your version actually looks better than the original – more quality detail. Great job. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  30. Elisabeth@Treasuring the says:

    It turned out lovely. I would love to do this with a girls club I started a year ago. And if not with them, make gifts for family members.

  31. Genius, pure genius Diane, thank you so much!

  32. Diane, is there anything you can’t replicate? This is amazing and I plan to make several of these frames for my sibs at Christmas time (even though we don’t exchange presents anymore). I have all of my late mom’s recipes in her own handwriting too so this is a wonderful way to share them with my family. Just making a copy of one of her recipes has never seemed like enough. Thank you for this idea and tutorial.

  33. Aaah, there is no doubt that she will love it!