Christmas Gift DIY: Nested Photo Frame

created at: 06/05/2010

Here’s a fun photo craft project that you’ll want to make several different versions of! It’s a cool way to show off your photography skills and also take a photo frame beyond just another plain jane frame.

For the frame above, I used an image of my friend Silvia that I took outside an elementary school. I liked the atmosphere, texture (those marks you see are actually on the door in the photo), and artsiness of it. Having her face in the cutout area gave the photo more depth and interest.

Before you begin this project, there are a couple of things to note. This project works best using a wide edged frame, atleast a couple inches of frame around the photo. Also, you will need to take special consideration in the photo you use. I started this project using a closeup of my niece with her hair blowing in the wind. While it was an interesting photo, the frame opening cut into her forehead and it looked like I was doing mad scientist stuff to her head.

OK, here’s how you make it!

Nested Photo Frame Tutorial

Photo frame (mine was for a 4×6 photo)
– Matte photo paper
– Black Spray Paint
– Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Spray
– Matte spray finish for Photos
– Xacto or paper cutter
– Ruler
– Pencil
– Photo editing program like Photoshop

1. Measure and notate the overall dimensions of your photo frame and the distance of the photo opening from the top and bottom of your frame. The frame I used below was from Michaels. On a side note, I actually designed the Michaels insert you see below on this frame. It’s one of the many types of projects I do in my “day job”.

created at: 06/05/2010

2. Make a document the overall size of your frame in your photo editing program. Open your photo and place into this document Using guides mark of the areas of the photo opening as seen below. You may need to move/enlarge/adjust your photo to fit the opening.

created at: 06/05/2010

3. Print out two copies onto matte photo paper. Then lay the frame on the top of the photo and mark the open areas with a pencil. Removd the frame and using an Xacto, cut out the picture for the inside of frame.

created at: 06/05/2010

3. Cut around the other photo. Lay the photo frame face down on the back of this photo. Align the frame to fit the image exactly and trace around the opening of the frame from the back. Carefully cut out this box on the photo.

created at: 06/05/2010

3. Using black spray paint and following can directions, spray paint the front, sides, insert, and back of the photo frame. Let dry.

4. Flip the photo with the cutout opening over and spray the back of the photo with the Tacky Spray. Immediately line up and press onto front of frame, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles as you go. Spray frame with an Matte spray sealer specially formulated for photo paper to preserve photo on the outside of frame.

5. Insert photo inside frame and you’re finished!

Until next time Swellions!


Make your own Photo Box Purse!


I love taking photos and I love making crafts, so why not combine the two, I say! Here’s a project that is a lot of fun to make and garners me compliments everytime I show it to people. And it’s fairly easy to make! Here’s how…

Photo Box Purse

– Cigar box purse (mine was about 6.5″ side x 6.5″ wide and purchased at Michaels)
– Computer with Adobe Photoshop or other Photo Processing Software
– Laserjet printer
– High res image of your choice
– red and black paint
– Staining/Antiquing Medium by DecoArt
– 1″ and 2″ foam brushes
– Paper towels or soft cloth
– White card stock
– Spray Adhesive like Aleene’s Tacky Spray
– Black Ink Pad
– Scissors/Exacto Knife with Cutting Blade/Ruler/Mat
– Envirotex Resin kit
– mask for ventilation
– wax paper
– masking tape
– chopsticks

1. Open your image in Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software. Crop your image to be 6.25″ x 6.25″ and print your image onto cardstock according to printer specifications.

2. Using scissors or paper cutter, cut out image and set aside.

3. Mix one part red acrylic paint with one part Staining/Antiquing medium. Using paint mixture, paint entire box with foam brush, being careful not to get paint on handle (only unless you want you handle painted the same color too). Paint the handle black and let dry. Paint inside of purse if desired and also let dry.

4. Spray back of photo lightly according to directions with Tacky Spray (in a well-ventilated area). Adhere image to front of purse, pressing firmly to release any air bubbles. Use stamp pad to go around adhered image to get ride of white edge. Let dry.

5. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the wooden purse (except for the lid) and handle in the direction of the grain to create a distressed appearance. Wipe with a damp paper towel to remove dust.

6. Ink all edges of the purse (including the lid) with the black ink pad to age. You can even distress areas of the photo with the ink pad if you are brave. Let dry thoroughly.

7. Seal off all sides around photo edge with masking tape. This will help prevent resin runoff on the sides of your purse.

8. Now here comes the fun resin part! Go outdoors or in a well ventilated area and Mix up the two part Envirotex resin. Place the box flat with the photo side up on a piece of wax paper. Pour in small amounts a little at a time and use a chopstick to spread out to the edges to get even coverage. Believe me, a little resin goes a long way. It flattens out and can run down the edges if you use too much, so use sparingly! Blow out any air bubbles with a straw (Thanks Crafty Chica for the straw and chopstick tip!). Let cure over night. It will take a couple days to fully dry, so let it cure and dry in an area free from dust and debris.

9. Once resin is dry, remove masking tape from around box and touch up any needed areas.

Here’s another one of these purses I made for my friend using Photoshopped images of her cats on each side. I also made her a custom beaded handle. She loved it!



Enjoy and show off your new purse!

Until next time Swellions!


Polaroid Pumpkins

polaroid pumpkins

Just because Polaroids aren’t officially sold anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t still can’t relive their glory days! With the slew of downloadable faux Polaroid templates on the web, you can recreate the classic look of a Polaroid. Here’s how!

Polaroid Pumpkins

What you need:
– Polaroid template (I downloaded mine here)
– Photo editing program like Photoshop
– printer
– scissors or cutting tools
– white cardstock
– digital photos or scanned in photos
– Adhesive dots
– and of course…Pumpkins!

What you do:
1. Download the Polaroid template to your computer and open it up in your photo editing software.
2. Open up your digital or scanned photos. Select blank black area with selector tool and paste photo into that area (for Photoshop users select Edit>Paste into. Enlarge photo as needed.
3. Lay two up on piece of white cardstock and print out.
4. Cut out and adhere to pumpkin with adhesive dots.

Admittedly, the faux Polaroids look better on a large pumpkin. As you can see, my pumpkins were on the medium/small scale.

And of course, if you have actual Polaroid photos, totally go for it!

In honor of my 24 Halloween crafts in 24 hours, I’m giving away a Swell & Spooktastic Halloween prize pack. Click here to check it out and enter!

Check back next hour for another spooktastic Halloween project!


Make your own Photo Cuff Bracelets

photo cuff bracelets

Looking for a quick, personal craft this holiday season to make that is also really super cool? Create a one-of-a-kind photo bracelet for that special someone using photos of images they love or of photos of people they love! The above photo was taken by my friend Chris. He actually came over last year and we crafted up a few for him to wear. I think he dug making them and it only took an hour or two! Also, check out this bevy of bracelets my Flickr friend Paul made last year inspired by my idea!

Here’s us wearing our finished creation (man, my hands are starting to look old, aww man!):

wearing the photo cuff bracelets

Here’s how you make ’em!


– Felt in desired color
– Images (have a theme or use random images)
– Fuseable iron-on inkjet transfer
– Iron
– Wax paper
– Computer with imaging software (I used Photoshop)
– Inkjet printer
– Sewing machine
– Button or fastener of choice (you can also use velcro or sew on snaps)
– Needle and thread
– Scissors or fabric rotary cutting tool
– Cutting mat with measurements


1. Cut out a piece of felt fabric approximately 9″ long by 1.75 tall. 9″ is the average width of most wrists, but may need to be sized differently depending on wrist size.

2. In your imaging program, open up several images that you want to make your photo collage. In mine, I chose to use neon signage. Create a document that is 8″ long by 1.25″ tall. Copy and paste your images into this new document sizing them down to be 1.25″ tall and arrange next to each other. Move images around until you are satisfied with colors and placement of each.

Optional idea: Use Big Huge Labs mosaic maker like my friend Chris did. You may have to scale or enlarge it to fit in Photoshop.

3. Using printing specifications, print out onto fusable iron-on inkjet material (you may actually want to create several bracelets up on a sheet so that you get more bang for your buck). Cut out carefully around image.

4. Heat iron on low setting. On ironing board or hard surface, lay inkjet transfer iron-on (image side facing up) onto felt. Lay wax paper over both materials and fuse iron-on onto felt. It should only take a few seconds.

5. For my design, I went around the actual image using a special stitch on my sewing machine, but this is optional. I just thought it gave it a more finished look. Also, if you want and have the know how and are doing a button closure, create a button hole slightly smaller than your button that you have chosen for a closure.

6. Position cuff around wrist and hand sew on button (make sure to wrap cuff around beforehand so that you know where button should be positioned so that it is most comfortable on your arm). Make sure to tightly loop thread around button several times when sewing to hold securely in place.

Here’s a detail of one I did featuring various neon sign photos I took:
photo cuff bracelet

If you end up making this project, please shoot over a picture to me. I’d love to see what you create!

Until next time Swellions!