Fabric Photo Frames
June 1980

“Fabric Photo Frames,” Ensign, June 1980, 52

Fabric Photo Frames

Are your favorite photos hidden away for lack of picture frames? Mine were until I learned an inexpensive way to make my own frames, using fabric pieces and cardboard with corrugated center.

Fabric frames hung in the kitchen or family room make attractive family photo arrangements. And when old family photos are accompanied by dried flowers arranged in wicker baskets, or old utensils, you can have a pleasing “heritage wall” in your home. Small flower print fabrics and eyelet ruffling give the frames an old-fashioned look. Materials needed for a five-by-seven inch picture frame:

1. Cardboard with corrugated center: two pieces, 6 1/4″ x 8 1/2″. Cut an oval 4 1/4″ x 6″ from the center of one piece for the front of the frame. For a stand-up frame, also cut a triangular piece 7 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide at the top, and 4 1/2 inches wide at the bottom.

2. Fabric: about 1/3 of a yard—print, flowered, or checked, either or polyester. Leftover scraps of fabric work well, as long as they are large enough to be cut two inches larger than the cardboard on all sides, extra pieces to cover the triangle for a stand-up frame.

3. Batting: a small amount to pad front of the frame. A bit more for the back cardboard and triangle, if a stand-up frame is desired.

4. Ruffling or cording: one yard, to trim outer edge of frame.

5. Ribbon, 1/4-inch wide: one yard for stand-up frame—to make finishing bows on back of frame and to connect the bottom of the triangle to the frame.

6. Rubber cement and model or craft cement

7. Stapler.


1. Cover the cardboard for the back of the frame first. For a wall frame, stretch the fabric (cut two inches larger than the cardboard) over the sides and glue and/or staple it in place. For a stand-up frame, pad the back with batting before stapling the fabric in place. The staples bury in the corrugation and do not show.

2. To cover the front of the frame, center the cardboard piece (with the oval cut out of it) onto the reverse side of the other fabric piece, and trace the hole onto the fabric. Then divide the oval into eight pie-shaped triangles, and cut them from the center outward, ending about 1/8 inch from the drawn oval edge. Cut batting to fit the frame (cut an oval into it), lay it on the frame, and secure the fabric over it with staples. In the center, pull the triangles of fabric through the oval and staple them to the back of the frame, making sure the material has stretched smoothly.

3. Make a bow from the ribbon and place it where the stand is glued onto the frame. Cut another small piece of ribbon (about 4 inches long) and glue one end to the back of the frame and the other end to the stand, about 1 inch from the bottom edges. This ribbon connects the frame to the triangle, keeping the triangle from spreading out too far. Cover each end of the ribbon with a small bow.

4. For a stand-up frame, cut out two pieces of fabric slightly larger than the size of the triangle cardboard piece. Pad one side of the cardboard with batting and cover it with one of the fabric pieces, stretching it over the sides and stapling it.

5. Turn under the raw edges of the other piece of fabric and glue it in place on the under side of the triangle. Making sure that the bottom edge of the triangle and the frame meet, glue about 1/4 inch of the top horizontal edge of the stand onto the back of the frame (cloth glued to cloth) with model or craft cement (it dries quickly). Hand stitch or glue decorative trim around the edge of the back of the front frame. Hand stitch the back frame to the front frame along the sides and bottom, leaving an opening at the top to insert the picture of your choice.

6. Frames can be made larger and smaller than the size described here. An 8″-x-10″ frame is made from cardboard pieces cut 9 1/2 x 11 1/2.

7. Smaller frames can be made according to pictures size, allowing 1–1 1/2 inches for border around the photograph.

Nancy Reynard Gunn, Hunter, Utah