Here’s my DIY guide for you to create your own clothesline polaroid picture frame significantly cheaper than to buy one in a store!
For Christmas this year I received a white Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera (polaroid pictures) and I love, love, love it! People alter photos (even selfies) in so many ways now that the finished edited photo is nowhere close to the original image. Sometimes no filters are the way to go and that’s why these cameras are great! No editing allowed and what better way to display these Polaroid pictures than a 3D shadow box picture frame! Michael’s craft store sells theses clothesline picture frames anywhere from $30-$60. I have never seen a shadow box clothesline picture frame to display these photos before so I decided to create one.
What something even cheaper? Don’t create the shadow box, just create the frame.
What you Will Need:
1 piece of wooden trim (approx. 85”/7 feet long) – Home Depot ($8)
1 large piece of wood (approx. 19” x 23”) – For the back
1 regular piece of wood (approx. 80” x 2”) – Will be cut into 4 smaller pieces *Only needed for shadow box picture frame
Tools – Saw, Drill, Sandpaper, Hammer
8 decorative fabric upholstery pins – Home Depot ($3 for pack of 12)
Paint – Choose your colours
Mini Clothespins – Amazon ($8 for a pack of 100 – I’ll use the extra for other projects)
Picture frame hooks of your choice
Great! Now lets get started!
Cut your trim on a 45° angle into 4 pieces. I wanted my shadow box frame to be 18” x 22” therefore I cut two pieces of the trim 18” long and two pieces 22” long. You can make your frame any size you’d like, just make sure you have enough wood.
Hint* Make sure to cut your pieces with the 45° angle going opposite directions on each end of the wood. Follow the image above. If you cut it a different way, the 4 trim pieces will not fit together to create the frame.
Also don’t measure your cuts before like I did – opps! As you can see in the image when cutting on an angle your cut line marks will change. Measure as you cut one by one.
Now that you’ve got your frame cut, we’re going to cut the back.
If you only want the Polaroid frame and not the backing to the frame, then you do not need to complete this step! The reason I wanted a back to my frame was so that my Polaroid pictures would sit on a different colour surface than the wall I hang it on.
My frame is 18” x 22” so I needed to cut the back plywood the same size as my frame, 18” x 22”. If you are creating a different size frame then you need to cut the plywood to match your desired frame size.
This is the shadow box step.
You can skip this step if you don’t want the 3D shadow box look. I decided to create a shadow box so that my pictures would hang freely on the clothesline and not touch the wall or backing of my frame.
Take another piece of wood and cut it into 4 pieces to fit perfectly around the edges of your backing board. You do not need to cut these on a 45° angle. I cut my two long pieces (22”) first and then measured to see how long I would need to cut the short pieces.
You don’t want these pieces of wood to have a larger width than your trim. We want the frame trim you cut in step 1 to completely hide these small pieces once we get to the gluing stage.
Using wood glue, glue the small wood pieces you cut in step 3 to the back of your board you cut in step 2 (Follow the image above). You can use clamps to help hold these pieces down while they dry.
Wood glue the frame trim pieces on top of the pieces you just glued in step 4. Let glue completely dry. See the 3D shadow box effect in the bottom image? Cool Eh?
Drill equal spaced holes halfway through the one side of your frame. I measured first and put pencil marks where I wanted my holes to go. Re-measure and drill the same holes on the opposite side of your frame to create parallel holes (see image above).
Keep in mind the size of your Polaroid’s. You don’t want the holes too close together because then your pictures will overlap. Make sure your drilled holes are big enough for the string to be glued here. You also don’t want your holes too big ether because then your fabric upholstery pins will not hide the drilled holes
Before you to move onto the next step, you might want to use sandpaper and sand any rough edges you find.
The best part! Paint your frame!
I chose to paint the outside of my frame white and the inside of my frame black therefore my white Polaroid’s will stand out against the black background. You can really paint it however you’d like though! That’s a perk of creating your own frame; you can match the location you want to put it in.
Rustify it! (yes I made up my own word). You don’t have to do this step, but I wanted to make my frame look a little bit more rustic than the modern black and white.
I chose to add faint dry brushstrokes of gold paint to my frame for more detail. If you love rich gold paint, I highly recommend purchasing a pure pigment powder and mixing it with classic Mod Podge. You can find pure pigment online or at Curry’s Art Supply store. I found that standard acrylic gold paint was always dull or browny and never vibrant and bright like I wanted to be. Well this combination is the best solution, a PURE gold.
Add the clothesline string and decorative upholstery pins.
Measure the distance from hole to hole and then cut your string this length. You might want it about 1/2” longer so you can stuff the excess string into the hole for hot gluing. I found that the best way to attach your string is by first hot gluing one side of the string into the hole, letting it dry, and then pulling the string tight and gluing it into the opposite hole. Once all your clothesline strings are attached, you can hot glue the upholstery pins on top to cover the holes. You might have to cut the pin part back if your hole was not deep enough.
Attach the picture frame hooks to the back of your frame. If you chose to create the shadow box frame, you might want to use two-picture frame hooks on ether side because it will be slightly heavier.
You’re done and ready to display your adventures!