How to: A personalized picture frame.

By December 5, 2011Uncategorized

Update: A huge thanks to IKEAHackers to posting this tutorial!

Hello friends! Hope you had a swell weekend. I’m knee deep in Christmas gift shopping and crafting and thought I’d share one of my recent projects with you.

Similar to most of you, I have a list of group of friends where a smaller gift for Christmas is more appropriate. Smaller gifts are tricky and often there aren’t good, original ideas available. Because of this I DIY the smaller gifts so I can add my own personal touch and make it feel more special. More bang for less buck.

Today’s post is how to monogram picture frames. Picture frames are a go-to smaller gift but I feel so “blah” when I have to resort to a picture frame as a gift. Suddenly they seem so much more appealing when I’m able to customize them in a meaningful way. And this year, I am all about the customization in my gifts – monogramming, meaningful letters and personalization.

Emily Snuffer

I was inspired by the monogrammed frames from West Elm, but of course, didn’t want to pay the price when I knew I could do it myself and use words that meant more to me. I picked the word “JOY” for this post because well, I didn’t want to broadcast who exactly will be getting custom frames from me for Christmas. :)

Emily Snuffer

Alright, and now the how-to instructions. You’ll need to set aside about an hour to complete 1-2 frames.

Emily Snuffer

Here were my materials:

  • 2″ vinyl block letters from Staples
  • IKEA RIBBA frame (I used the 9″ x 9″ shadowbox frame)
  • Armour Etch glass etching cream from Michael’s (I used a coupon – it’s a little pricey)
  • Paint brush
  • X-ACTO knife

Emily Snuffer

First, I cut out my letters from the vinyl blocks using my knife. I used a straightedge where I could to get a better even line.

Emily Snuffer

I placed my letters on the bottom left hand corner of the frame, making sure the spacing was consistent and the letters were horizontally level. And then, probably the most important part, I ran my finger over the vinyl several times to make sure all the edges were completely sealed to the glass.

Emily Snuffer

Next, the etching cream. This stuff smells like farts. Graphic but true. I applied a generous amount to each letter, being careful to stay in the lines. I left the cream on for 15 minutes to allow the etching to take place.

Emily Snuffer

I wiped off as much etching cream as I could with a dry paper towel, then removed the glass from the frame. I peeled off the letters and rinsed the entire piece of glass with water. Finally, I used glass cleaner on both sides to remove any excess cream and clean the glass. The photo insert is just a scrap of IKEA wrapping paper.

And there you have it! You could do someone’s initials, a last name or a meaningful word. Or like I did, use a Christmas-y word. I’m actually going to give this to a fellow blogger, but she’s on vacation so I think I’m safe. :)

Emily SnufferEmily Snuffer

As it turns out, the green side table has been the best holiday accessory. Oh, and I hope you enjoyed reading about this little project as much as I did doing it. I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more Christmas-y things. Watch out – I’m in the total holiday spirit.

– emily

p/s: Am I too old to have an Elf on the Shelf? Because I totally want one.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Lyndsey says:

    Approximately how much did the gift cost? How long do you think the etching cream will last (knowing it depends on word lengths)?

    • emily @ go haus go says:

      I probably should have posted those details. The savings comes if you plan to do several. For four picture frames, the cost was $64.

      $40 for picture frames (at $10 each)
      $17 for etching cream (I used a 40% coupon on the largest bottle available – there is also a smaller bottle that will run you $8 with a coupon)
      $7 vinyl labels (but you could always make your own by cutting letters out of painter’s tape)

      As far as how long the cream will last – I’ve done four frames plus another small project and have half the bottle left. It goes pretty far.

  • Very cute – I might have to steal this idea for my group of girlfriends because I am stumped with a capital S on what to give them all.

    And no, you are never too old to have an elf on a shelf.

    Thanks again for the idea and let’s plan on getting together maybe after the new year? I’m up to my eyeballs in all things dollhouse right now and then am out of town for the holidays. I’d love to catch up!


    • emily @ go haus go says:

      Yes, we need to get together! I have a sander to return to you! I’m having deja vu right now so apologies if I’ve already mentioned this… ha! Let’s plan something for the second week of January? I’m out for the holidays too. I’ll Facebook ya, lady because I don’t think I have your number.

  • Amanda says:

    Can you use any material for the stencil or does it have to be vinyl?

    • emily @ go haus go says:

      It doesn’t have to be vinyl. I’ve seen people cut a sticky stencil out of painters tape (frog tape would be best). I imagine you could do it with anything that creates a tight seal to the glass. I have been toying around with a paper stencil with stencil adhesive added to see if it might work. I’ll keep you posted!

  • […] life gets busy and suddenly your mail finds its home on one of the shelves. Or a past DIY, like the personalized photo frame project, never really got put away. […]

  • […] Monogramming has a certain way of making me feel all fancy inside. I love it. I want to monogram everything. I love giving monogrammed gifts. It can feel special yet still not cost a whole lot. And you remember my RIBBA hack? […]

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