Photo collages are so popular right now, especially when the frames are ornate, decorative or mis-matched. Today, I’m going to show you how I made a framed photo collage for less than $15!
My husband and I currently live in a rented apartment. Anyone who has lived in an apartment, base housing or a rental knows that the rules are usually the same- no painting, no large holes for pictures, etc. Basically you are restricted on the decorative accents you can adorn your walls with, and as an art major/photographer, I cannot stand blank walls! So, using nothing but small wooden cutout frames from Michael’s craft stores, some printed Instagram pictures and straight pins, I put together this cute little photo collage for less than $15!
-Small, wooden, unfinished frames. I purchased mine from Michael’s, but if you don’t have a Michael’s nearby, it seems that these Laser Cut Wood Veneer Shapes Frames from Amazon* are similar
-Craft paint in the color of your choice
-Small straight pins (I used Dritz Quilting Applique Pins that I had on hand.)
-Your favorite pictures printed to fit the frames.
Price breakdown- the small frames were .99 and the larger two were 1.99. I had the paint, brush and pins on hand, but if they had to be purchased separately, they would cost between $3-$4, especially if you take advantage of the coupons that the craft stores often have out! The pictures were .09 ea at Walmart and because they were small, I was able to fit two pictures per 4×6.
First things first, you’re going to want to remove the price tags and any other stickers on the back. The frames are laser cut, so you can see the sticker through the cutouts. Tip- to make the removal easier, hit the stickers for a few seconds with a hot blow dryer. The hot air will loosen the adhesive and make the stickers easy to remove.
Next, lay out some newspapers or plastic bags to protect your table from the paint. (I like using plastic bags because the painted item is less likely to stick to it as it dries.
Paint your frames and allow them to dry- I chose to paint mine black, and one coat was sufficient, but for some colors you might have to use two or three coats. Make sure to give the paint plenty of time to dry between coats.
Decide on the layout you’d like your frames to be in (I laid it out on the floor and rearranged it several times. I took a picture of each arrangement, so I could see what I liked best). When you have an arrangement you are satisfied with, begin hanging your photos on the wall! I started with the picture in the center, and worked out from there. You could measure them if you wish, but I wanted it to look like a freeform collage so I just adjusted as I went. I used the small applique straight pins on the edges, top and bottom of the frames to hold them in. The frames are so lightweight that the pins hold it in, and when it comes time for us to move, the holes will be barely noticeable!