Time to get your favourite pics off your phone and display them for everyone to see in this retro DIY photo frame! We love the vintage look of polaroids, plus it’s simple to swap new favorites in and out when you fancy a change. Use jazzy clips or mini pegs to hold the photos and layer as many as you wish for a totally unique and personalized display.
You will need
- 9 Polaroids (or Instagram prints)
- Photo frame, 16 x 20 in. (40 x 50 cm)
- Craft wire
- 9 decorative paperclips or mini pegs
- Staple gun and staples, or eye hooks
- Wire cutters or pliers with a wire cutter center
Optional (if printing your own photos)
- Glossy photo paper, 6 x 4 in. (15 x 10 cm)
1. Collect your Polaroids together or print out your Instagram shots. If you have neither, don’t panic: there are various apps and online resources that you can use to create Polaroid-style images from your photos. Print your photos out sheets of 6 x 4-in. (15 x 10-cm) glossy photo paper at high print quality. Trim the excess paper off up to the edge of the Polaroid” borders.
2. Remove the back panel of the frame, any paper inside, and the glass or Perspex, leaving you with just the frame. If there are any metal pieces or nails in the frame that are designed to bend and hold the back on, remove those, too.
3. Turn the frame over and lay it on a work surface in the portrait orientation. Down one side, make pencil marks 1¼ in. (3 cm), 8 in. (20 cm), and 14 in. (36 cm) down from the top edge of the aperture. Repeat on the other side of the frame. Line up the staple gun so that the top of the staple is on the first mark, and fire a staple into the frame. Repeat at each marked point. (If your frame is soft wood and the staples go all the way in, screw in small eye hooks instead.)
Keep equal tension across the three wires; if you’re pulling too tight on one, you’ll see the other one(s) go loose.
4. Thread the end of your wire through the staple and loop it around, keeping the wire at the top of the staple. Tie it off to secure and trim off the excess with wire cutters.
5. Pull the wire gently across the frame and cut, leaving at least 4 in. (10 cm) excess to tie off at the other end. Thread the wire through the corresponding staple. To create tension, grip the end of the wire with the pliers and pull it taut, then lift the pliers to pull the wire back on itself to form a bend in the wire around the staple. Loop the wire around the staple a few times, then tie off and cut off any excess.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other two rows of staples.
7. Thread three clips onto the top wire. Fix a Polaroid into each clip. Repeat for the remaining rows. Your frame is now ready to hang; alternatively, you can simply prop it up against the wall.
- You can use any size frame you like. Just lay the Polaroids over the top first to work out how many rows you need to string.
- Don’t stop at just photos—you could add keepsakes to create a memory frame. Tickets and other paper ephemera would work well.
- Super-size it to create a gallery space for your kids’ artwork.
- This is a great way to store earrings, too!
- Cover the back panel with decorative paper or collage and insert it into the frame to create a background for your photo display.
Spacing out the Polaroids
If you’re working with a different-sized frame, lay out your rows of Polaroids evenly, allowing for the clips, and mark where the wires should go on one side, then transpose those measurements to the other side.
For more ideas for displaying your snaps, check out Photo Art by Ellie Laycock.