Make a Fabric Frame to Display Your Precious Pet

comments (1) February 27th, 2009     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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Annie’s a happy dog but very camera shy. This suede-covered frame preserves her demure glamour shot.
You need some good, strong cardboard like the kind you find on the back of a tablet or legal pad.
Cut a piece of cardboard for the front and the back of the frame. Cut an opening in the front piece to accommodate the picture.
Annie’s a happy dog but very camera shy. This suede-covered frame preserves her demure glamour shot.

Annie’s a happy dog but very camera shy. This suede-covered frame preserves her demure glamour shot.

Photo: Mary Ray

Most picture frames come in standard sizes, but with cropping and trimming our digital photos don’t always conform. Here’s a great way to make a frame that accommodates your photo and provides a canvas for some embellishment that fits your personality and your décor as well.

I covered my frame with some pig suede that I embellished with some rows of straight stitching (one of my favorite details) and some buttons that have been hanging out in my button box waiting for a project. These little bats and baseballs represent one of my other loves. And inside the frame is my special dog, Annie, who we got from the Humane Society four years ago. She’s very camera shy, so getting a photo of her is difficult. I call this her glamour shot. She’s so sweet and such a beauty—maybe some day I can get a picture that really shows her off.

You'll need:

  • Some heavy cardboard (I used the back of some sturdy legal pads)
  • A box cutter or X-Acto knife to cut the frame
  • Fabric or leather for the top, the back, and the stand
  • Quilt batting or fleece to pad the frame
  • Some fabric glue, like Sobo, and a temporary spray adhesive like Sulky KK2000
  • Stapler
  • Beads, buttons, thread, or whatever to embellish the frame
  • Clamps or clips
  • A sheet of transparency film (or other clear material) to protect the photo


You need some good, firm cardboard like the kind you find on the back of a tablet or legal pad.

To make the frame:
1. Cut two pieces of cardboard that are the same size, one for the frame front and the other for the back. My frame measures about 7-1/2 inches x 7-1/2 inches and the width of the frame is 1-1/2 inches. Use a box cutter or X-Acto knife to cut an opening in the front piece to display the picture. (I’ll show you how to make a stand for the back later.)


Cut a piece of cardboard for the front and the back of the frame. Cut an opening in the front piece to accommodate the picture.

2. Mark (on the wrong side) and cut your fabric for the frame front, allowing an extra 3/4 inch around the inner and outer edges.


Mark and cut the fabric for the frame front. I’ve marked lines at each corner of the opening to indicate where the fabric is slashed so it can wrap smoothly around the frame.

3. Cut two pieces of batting the same size as the front cardboard piece. Spray one side of one piece lightly with temporary adhesive and adhere it to the wrong side of the fabric.


Adhere the batting to the wrong side of the fabric.

4. Embellish the padded area with stitching. Wait until later to add surface materials like beads and buttons.


Embellish the fabric with stitches.

5. Use the temporary adhesive to stick the second piece of batting to the cardboard front.


Pad the frame's front cardboard piece, too.

6. Place the padded cardboard section on the batting side of the fabric section. Use the temporary adhesive again to hold them together. Lightly spray the cardboard as well and wrap the outer edge of the fabric tightly around the frame, folding in the corners. Finger-press the fabric in place, making sure it sticks to the cardboard. Slash the inside corners so you can wrap the fabric securely around the opening.


Wrap the embellished fabric around the padded cardboard, using some temporary spray adhesive to hold it in place.

7. Cut a piece of fabric to cover the cardboard frame back, adding 3/4 inch around the outer edges. Use the spray adhesive to hold it in place and wrap the fabric around the edges.


Cover the back cardboard piece with fabric.

8. Make a pattern for a stand. It should start about 1-1/2 inches from a top corner and follow the shape of the opposite bottom corner to look like a necktie. The stand on my frame is 1-3/4 inches at the top, and each bottom edge is 2 inches.


Make a pattern for the frame stand.

9. Use the pattern to cut a piece of firm cardboard and two pieces of fabric. Allow an extra 1/2 inch around the edges of each fabric piece.

10. Spray the cardboard and wrap one piece of fabric around it.


Cut a piece of cardboard and two pieces of fabric to cover the stand. Wrap one piece of fabric around the stand.

11. Press in the outer edges of the second fabric piece. Glue it to the remaining side of the stand so it is completely covered.


Turn the edges of the remaining piece of fabric and glue it to the stand.

12. Staple the stand in place at the top. Cut a small piece of fabric to cover the staples and glue it in place.


Staple the covered stand to the outside of the frame back. Cover the staples by gluing a small piece of fabric over them.

13. This is a good time to sew or glue buttons, beads, etc. to the front of the frame!

14. Now you can put the front and back together. Run a line of fabric glue along the bottom and side edges only of the frame back. The top is left open so you can slip the picture inside the frame.


Apply some fabric glue along the bottom and side edges of the frame back.

15. Place the back on top of the frame front and use some clamps or clips to hold it in place while the glue dries.


Put the front and back sections of the frame together and clamp until the glue dries.

16. Cut a piece of the transparency film the same size as the picture, then slip the film and photo into the frame through the top opening.


The stand holds up the finished frame.

posted in: fabric, thread, leather, suede, frame

Comments (1)

MeredithP writes: Thanks for the great tutorial! I wouldn't have ever tried this on my own. This looks actually doable for me, it doesn't have any obscure "ingredients". My biggest problem is shopping for supplies. Love your fabric choices too.
Posted: 7:31 pm on February 27th
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