Thrifty DIY Windowpane Picture Frame (for a Group Display of Nine 8×10″ Photos)

I grew up on a dairy farm.  I miss it terribly.  2014 marked my tenth year of living in NYC, which I didn’t particularly like, and my parents sold the farm in 2013.  Moving away from the city and into a house has made me very happy, and I feel a lot more like myself now.  For a long time I have wanted to hang up photos from the farm, but wasn’t able to settle on a method of displaying them.  Eventually I waited not wanting to add more holes to our apartment walls knowing we would move.  Now that we have, and are hosting a little party this weekend, I rushed to create a display.

Ideally I would love to buy a few really large prints on aluminium, because I love how a small one from our wedding turned out.  It is an awesome look and requires no frame.  Those prints are extremely durable, but they come at a steep cost.  For now I wanted a three by three display of 8×10″ photos.  It sounds simple, but as it turns out it is not easy to find a frame for this arrangement.  I didn’t even find one, actually.  The best I could do would be to purchase three oblong triple display frames, like this, but the cost was not tolerable.  (Totalling at 150$ on discount or 390$ when not on sale?!!)  Next best was to buy a bunch of really cheap frames.  They would work out alright, but when I realised how many holes would be made in my freshly painted walls… ugh.  Not only that but it would be tough to align them perfectly when hanging due to their design.  Finally I settled on a solution.  I would make my own frame.

One way to do this would be to glue the cheap frames to a board in order to hang more easily.  This was my plan, but at the store I saw a really nice 24×36″ frame on sale for 14$ and decided that adding moulding trim panes would be much better.  I gathered supplies and almost checked out before realising my maths didn’t work.  D’oh!  I left the queue and found the only 24×30″ frame available.  It was half off but still close to 30$.  Wow, frames are costly!

Here are the materials used and the frame before modifying it:


First I used the back of the display sheet to mark guidelines and put it back in the frame.  Then I measured out the trim and cut it.  A single edge razor blade worked perfectly.  (I love those useful little things and have dozens floating around the house!)

marking where to cut test run

Then I painted the trim, even the back, before gluing the pieces to the glass.  I used glue dots that said they work on glass.  I stuck one each where the guidelines cross, and I stretched some to secure the trim along the end of the lines.  It worked out just fine.  I suggest stretching dots at the intersections too, because it was a bit fiddly to cut away the excess with the razor blade.  After gluing I gave it all another coat of paint then scraped the mess off of the glass.

2nd coat of paint after scraping away paint

All that was left was to position the photos, re-assemble, and hang it!  I began with the middle print and worked out from there using reposition-able, acid free, photo/scrapbooking adhesive squares.  It is much better than struggling with scotch tape.  😉

positioning photos

Done and done!

done!done and hanging

I am very pleased with how the DIY frame turned out and with the collage.  I definitely wouldn’t know it was DIY if I saw it at someone else’s home.  It was hard to choose which photos to use, but I think it looks great and is perfect for sharing my memories.  If you are curious, the barn was built in 1888, but we built the silos, additions, (and other buildings.)  That is my father in the bottom row with a Farmall H tractor (made in the ’40s,) a sickle bar mower, and a cultipacker.  Most of our machinery was 50+ years old, and I always thought it was fascinating how it all worked.  The silhouette in the upper right is a rake to spread out cut hay to dry before baling.

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