DIY Fabric Covered Photo Mat – Made from a Cereal Box!!!

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Who doesn’t love free stuff? I actually have quite a few “free” projects in the works currently that I’m super excited about, but for now I’ll share this one with you as it was part of our gallery wall which I will reveal soon! This project actually happened by accident when I realized that the frame I was using wasn’t a standard photo frame and I was going to need to cut a photo mat to fit it. Since the piece of art (I shouldn’t say art, it was a weird picture of a cat or something, lol) that was originally in the frame had an ivory mat around it I was going to have J cut it to fit using a box cutter. Of course he misunderstood me (anybody else have an issue with their men having selective hearing when it comes to their crafting requests? lol) and cut the wrong part of the mat, rendering the part I needed useless. Boo-hoo! It was time to come up with a plan B, which I thought would be just to buy and cut a standard mat to size but then I realized that a standard mat wouldn’t fit this frame either (gahh!). Just as I was getting super frustrated and about to ax the use of that particular frame altogether, I remembered that I had seen a picture mat that somebody had covered in fabric by simply mod podging fabric onto a plain picture mat. Now, that still didn’t solve my problem of not having the right mat size, but if I thought that if I could only find a thin cardboard to fashion my own mat I could take advantage of my left over fabric from past projects. I knew that a poster board cut to size would work just fine but in the interest of not having to traipse into town to get one I thought to myself “what do I have in the house that is of similar thickness/material to a poster board?” and then it came to me – a cereal box!!! About a half hour and a little mod podge later I had myself another fancy photo mat (check out my first DIY photo mat here) that not only matched the fabric on our side-light window panels but was free!!! All it required was a little thinking outside of the “box”, so to speak (get it? cereal box, ha.ha.ha). I hope this inspires a free photo mat on your end (you need not use a cereal box like I did, any thin cardboard will do) and should you not have the need for a photo mat right now, keep this one in mind as a great DIY gift opportunity come the holidays!

I'll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart <3

I’ll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart ❤

 

DIY FABRIC PHOTO MAT

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 large cereal box or poster board of some sort
  • fabric of your choice
  • mod podge (I used matte finish but it doesn’t matter what you use)
  • glue gun & hot glue
  • foam brush
  • measuring tape
  • scissors

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: If you are using a cereal box break the box down by cutting along one of the corners so that it can lay flat like a piece of cardboard. Then measure and cut four strips of equal length or four pieces that can come together to form a rectangular mat since it wont matter what your pieces look like beneath the fabric as long as the shape of the mat is even (depending on the size of your box you may not be able to get four equal pieces but rather four pieces just long enough to overlap and connect to form a rectangle). If using a poster board simply measure and draw out your mat and then cut it out already formed.

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My cereal box! In the interest of pinching our pennies I opt for “crisp rice” instead of rice krispies haha

Step 2: Once you have your four pieces connect them so that your print side (if using a cereal box) is all facing one direction using hot glue to form the mat. Ignore this step if you have used a poster board and your mat is ready to go. Now you are ready to measure and add your fabric!

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ensuring that it fits in the frame

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Step 3:  Measure your fabric by laying the fabric print side down (upside down) and laying your mat on top, use a pencil or pen to mark an area just a tad bit larger than your mat size or enough to be folded over the edges (I will explain in the subsequent steps). Once you have marked your rectangle on the fabric, cut it out using your scissors (this should be obvious but keep the rectangle in tact! To cut the center simply puncture a hole in the center of your fabric and cut along the insides).

Step 4: Place your mat so that the non-print side is facing up and lay your fabric cut out over the mat to make sure that it will line up correctly. In each of the inner and outer corners cut a small slit that extends from the edge of the fabric to the corner of the mat (this is so your fabric can be tucked underneath without puckering at the corners).

Step 5: Now you are ready to attach the fabric to the mat. Using your foam brush, brush a generous amount of mod podge onto the mat surface and then lay your fabric atop it and press down to secure. Some mod podge will likely seep through the fabric, this is fine, simply use your foam brush to brush it off so that it doesn’t form clumps. At this point your fabric will still be larger than necessary for the mat but allow it to dry this way before moving onto the next step.

Step 6: Once your fabric has dried for the most part, turn your mat upside down and use hot glue to attach your fabric’s edges to the underneath of the mat, making sure to pull it tightly so that isn’t loose along the edges and holds to the mat securely.

Step 7: Now turn your mat back over and add another coat of mod podge to the top of the fabric, ensuring that you are adding and even layer and are not allowing it to pool or clump along the top. Allow it to dry and you are ready to use it in your frame!!! Ta-da!!! 

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My DIY frame displayed on our gallery wall!

 

To see more of our family pictures from baby P’s 6 month photo session see this post! 

 

DIY Printed Photo Mat

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When planning my gallery wall I knew that I wanted to incorporate some unique design elements when it came to our pictures and frames. Since I had to scale down the size of the gallery wall due to lack of space in the new house, I decided that instead of incorporating typography prints into the design I could free up room for more photos on the wall by simply adding a printed mat to one of the larger photos. I drew inspiration from a photo mat I had seen handwritten on using a sharpie but didn’t duplicate the idea exactly because while I do believe my hand writing to be pretty neat (*hair flip* lol), I figured given that I would have to see this project on display everyday that I would leave the printing job up to my trusty ol’ laser printer. The particular photo I was needing a mat for was one of our wedding photos, so what better wording to surround it than the lyrics to our first dance? Which is “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel if you’re wondering (if you want to see me cry buckets just wait until I finish my third glass of wine and put this song on repeat, lol), if you’re a Scrubs fan you’ll know this as the song that plays in last scenes of the series finale. Anyway, enough about that (but really, how awesome is the show Scrubs? lol). This project is quick and easy and with the holidays right around the corner, would make a great gift! This can be done using any text, you can use song lyrics, the text from a love note or even an excerpt from a novel (for all the book worms out there like my hubby!), to name a few. Lastly, if the adorableness that is my hubby and I in the vineyard hasn’t already made you nostalgic for your own wedding and itching to craft (haha), allow me to further convince you – this project costs next to nothing, all you need is access to a laser printer, a photo mat and some mod podge! I hope this inspires you to frame one of your favorite photos or jazz up an existing framed piece 🙂

WHAT I USED:

  • Plain Photo Mat
  • Laser Printed Wording –  it must be a laser print! If you use an inkjet print it will smear when you paint on the mod podge. If you do not have a laser printer you can print the document at your local print center for a few cents a page. NOTE: I printed mine at home and cut it into sections. If you are going to be super OCD about your wording all lining up, print your wording on a paper size that is LARGER than your frame mat and cut the paper to fit the mat using an x-acto knife. This way your paper will fit your mat exactly.
  • Mod Podge – matte or glossy, doesn’t matter. Personally, I prefer matte.
  • Scissors
  • Foam Brush

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: I began by typing up my wording. I simply copied the lyrics from a lyric site, then pasted it onto a Word document and lined it up as shown below. Next I copied the entire body of text and just pasted it over and over until I had a full page of wording then printed.

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Step 2: Next I cut the pages into sections to fit my mat. I did not care about my wording lining up perfectly since it was going to be displayed at a distance, but if I had wanted it to be perfect I would have done as I suggested above by having a 16X20 sized document printed at my local print center then cutting it to fit the mat using an x-acto knife.

Step 3: I coated the backs of each of my printed pieces with mod podge and placed them carefully onto my frame mat. I gently smoothed the paper once I had placed them onto the mat ensuring that there were no air bubbles trapped between the paper and the mat. I then allowed the mat to dry.

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Step 4: Once my mat had dried I used a my foam brush to coat the top of the mat (atop the print), then allowed this coat to dry. That’s it! Once the mat dried my beautiful picture was ready for assembly and display 🙂

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Total project cost was right around $5.00!!!

Easy Scrapbook Distressed Wooden Letter

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This is just a quick little project that has done double duty for me in the way of both home decor and DIY gifting. I love it because it’s super quick and easy and can be customized to any gift or decor scheme, making it a perfect addition to a diaper cake to later be used in a nursery or as part of a gift basket to later be displayed in the recipient’s home! Any crafting enthusiast will most likely be familiar with mod podge and it’s seemingly limitless crafting applications. Personally I have used it as a sealer and glue as well as a top coat to many of my projects. This particular project simply involved mod podging a piece of craft or scrapbook paper to a wooden letter and sanding the edges a bit. From start to finish it takes about 10 minutes (not including dry time)! When creating gifts I love adding little extras that don’t cost a lot to produce so this is the perfect addition to any gift (I’ll give some examples below), this particular project cost a little over $2.00. I hope this one makes it onto your next diaper cake or gift basket!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 wooden letter (I purchased mine at Walmart for $1.97)
  • 1 piece of craft or scrapbook paper
  • mod podge (glossy or matte, whatever you prefer)
  • black foam brush
  • Sanding block or sand paper (medium grit)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Begin by laying your scrapbook paper print side up and placing your wooden letter right-side up on the paper. Using a pencil, trace around the letter.

Step 2: Next, cut out the letter that you just traced, it does not need to be perfect, you will be sanding off any rough edges later in the process.

Step 3: Using your foam brush, apply a generous coat of mod podge to the back of your scrapbook paper letter then carefully place it onto your wooden letter, adjusting it so that it lines up as closely as possible. Use your fingers to gently smooth the letter out, pressing the paper onto the wood. Use a tissue or paper towel to wipe any excess mod podge from the edges. Allow to dry, this will probably take about an hour but may be done in as little as 20 minutes. Be sure to wash out your brush so that you may reuse it later!

Step 4: Once the letter has dried, use your foam brush to apply another coat of mod podge to the letter atop the scrapbook paper, this will seal it. Be sure to brush any clumps of mod podge off of the sides of the letters. Allow another hour or so of dry time.

Step 5: Once the top coat has dried, use your sanding block to sand the edges of the letter (focusing on the top edges not the sides), this will give it a distressed look and really make it look like the paper is painted onto the letter. Once you are happy with your level of distressing on the edges you are finished! If you feel the need you can apply another coat of mod podge or if your paper has lifted at all on the edges you can apply some mod podge to those specific areas.

This quick project helped me add a little something extra to the two gifts below!

Here it is as part of my “Whale-of-a-Time” Diaper Cake. Since I forgot craft paper at the store that day I decided to improvise. Since baby Brian’s room is whale themed I simply printed the lyrics to “Baby Beluga” on some blue card stock that I already had.

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Here is a “J” I made for baby Jackson as part of my friend’s baby shower decor. She had been a huge fan of my Spring Chevron Wreath so I made her one as a gift and at her shower we displayed it with the “J” on the door as part of the decor (I also made her a welcome burlap mini banner to go with it). Oh, and check out my tutorial for DIY fabric flowers if you like the ones on this wreath!

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