Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cabinet Door Picture Frames

If you are willing to put in a little work, you can make picture frames using unfinished, discarded, or used cabinet doors. I was blown away by the sheer number and creativity of these do-it-yourself projects, using found or discount wood doors.

You can get cabinet doors at salvage centers, including the Habitat for Humanity ReStores.

Some examples of DIY cabinet picture frames, including instructions:


A collage of black and white photos, including scrapbook-type embellishments, sets off this family grouping from Jen at Thousand Words on an nicely turned Ikea cabinet door.


Cupboard door frames with tutorial from The Creative Crate on how to make these change-out picture holders using clips.


Nikki W. at Thrifty Decorating was so inspired by Creative Crate's DIY above, she created her own cupboard clip door frames. Distressed white, with sepia print and bows.


Frame openings are cut into cabinet door, with instructions by Kindra in her At Home With K blog. The distressed white against black suits the use of the salvage doors, here with color photos. Instructions can be found at her Cabinet Door Picture Frame blog post.


Nike at Choose to Thrive carried out a kitchen remodel using the cupboards as the actual frames. Painted black, with white mats, and filled with black and white family portraits.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Photos Above the Desk

I'm surprised I haven't been able to find many published images showing photos arranged above a desk. A desk is a natural place to display family pictures or art to encourage or inspire while one talks on the phone or writes letters (if anyone writes letter anymore) or pays bills or reads the mail. Desks are expected to support a laptop at least, and often attract clutter that doesn't lend itself to studious contemplation or quiet listening--although a pleasant arrangement of photos can help. 

Below, photos arranged over and around desks:


Above, nature photos including blue and gray series photos and white flowers in multi-matted and white-matted square black frames on a blue wall over a simple butcher block desk.


Cream-colored roll-top style desk with red-painted drawers, set off by additional free-standing cubbies, a red ledge, and black and white family photos in silver frames. The Polish pottery and German salt glaze stoneware add blue accents.



Adorable idea--hand drawn picture frames! From Apartment Therapy's Hakarl and Jili's house tour.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Resizing Photos for Printing

My Nikon camera takes photos with  a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi for printing), but not all cameras have this default setting. 200 dpi to 300 dpi is usually sufficient for most photo printing, although you can go higher if your software, printer and photo image have the capability.

If you saved an image from Facebook for printing, for example, you may be disappointed because the 72 pixels per inch (ppi for monitors) of most web-based jpeg images is not sufficient for printing clear color photos. Web-based images are usually optimized at a lower resolution to make them load faster, which is the opposite of what you want for printing. Downsampling is a term that applies to reducing the number of pixels or dots in order to make a smaller image. (Note: Sizing a picture larger, or upsampling, is another discussion!)

Your printer may allow you a choice of print sizes, but there may be times when you want to edit a photo to exactly fit the dimensions of a frame, and you don't want to lose any digital information available to you.  To find the original dimensions and size of your photo:

Hover your cursor over an image on a Windows device, it will tell you the file type, dimensions, and size in kilobytes. However, to figure the dots- or pixels-per-inch resolution, you may need to open the photo in an image viewer such as the quick and useful free conversion software IrfanView

click for larger image

As you download and install IrfanView, make sure all images are associated with it so they open quickly. Click on your image so it comes up in IrfanView  (if it doesn't, drag your image file to the Irfan shortcut) and go to Image/Resize/Resample.


You will be shown the width and height in pixels or inches as well as the dpi resolution. If you like, you can resize by measurement or percentage to save in a number of different file formats. IrfanView does not automatically refigure the DPI input number as Photoshop does, although you can input the dpi yourself, if you have an idea of what it should be. 


To make the best use of your photo's digital information, open in Photoshop, then go to Image/Image Size, or right-click on the top blue margin of the photo and choose Image Size. You will be shown the image size and resolution. The photo above shows a size of 22.222" x 16" with a resolution of 72 dpi. The dimensions are far too big, but I would like a better resolution as I decrease the size.


Unclick the "Resample Image" box, which will enable Photoshop to recalculate the resolution to make use of all available digital information as you size down. In this case I have a 5" x 7" frame. You may need to crop in order to get the dimensions right. As the image (document) size decreases, the resolution, or the dimensions of each pixel or dot, increases. 

(The Pixel Dimensions indicator at the top of the dialog box stays the same since it is actually measuring the total dimensions of all pixels.) Downsampling (checking the Resample Image box) will cause the Pixel Dimensions to show a smaller number alongside the original number.


Resizing images this way also applies to making small pictures larger, if you have sufficient resolution to begin with. This way you will not be upsampling, or interpolating, by letting Photoshop guess what the pixels ought to look like in order to keep the original resolution of 300 dpi. Photoshop will only use the digital information that is already available.

In this old black and white photo scan, I want a small picture of each of the girls' faces for a hinged frame.


Cropped and needing a little restoration help.


The cropped image is about 3/4" x 1" with a resolution of 300. My frame openings are 2.5 x 3.5", so I replace the width and height input in inches, making sure the Resample Image box is unchecked.


Although this lowers the resolution to 87, it will be sufficient for the very small frames,especially since it will be black and white.


Here the sepia  is turned to black and white by adding a Channel Mixer adjustment layer, checking the Monochrome box to take out color, and adjusting the Constant sliders for contrast and the Red, Green and Blue sliders for the right mix of shades of gray.  Ready for printing.


Helpful websites for a better understanding of print resolution:

Understanding Resolution and Resampling
Changing an Image's Resolution and Size
Digital Photos and Ideal Print Resolution
All About DPI, PPI and Printing
Print Size and Viewing Distance
Image Size Calculator
Best tools to crop and resize images online
Best online photo editing websites

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dittle Dattle's DIY Frames

Carrie at her creative Dittle Dattle blog has posted several DIY tutorials, including framing projects for nautical custom frames, a frame-within-a-frame and a (higher skill level) shadow box frame. She also created a great home project wall display using square white frames. Her clear instructions and  running commentary are delightful, as well.


Pretty matted frame-within-a-frame instructions can be found at Dittle Dattle's Framing Frame


Instructions for these nautical frames using pallets or rough-sawn lumber,  boards, nut mounted glass, and chalk paint are available at  Nautical Custom DIY Frames


Carrie's gallery wall collage, including an Ikea rug


Instructions for making shadow box frame in two parts:  Shadow Box Frame Part One and Shadow Box Frame Part Two. 


No instructions for these 20"x20" white frames using 1"x4" boards, although you can make a request. See them at Square Chunky Frames


Thanks Carrie for you and your husband and your DIY frames! For more, go to Dittle Dattle Blog

Monday, December 10, 2012

Displaying Photos Without Frames

Framing photos can be an expense, one reason why digital photo frames are so popular. There are other ways you can make a standout photo display using photo holders, such as clips, wire, or easels, to show pictures on a wall, ledge or table top, or even hang them across walls or from the ceiling. Non-frame photo holders can also make it easy to swap out pictures so you can see more of your prints.



Bright flower prints in single wire clip holders from Pier 1 Imports.


Wire wall card holder has room for photos as well. Wire holder from Martha Stewart.


Tabletop easels are handy for changing family photos


Girl cousin photos (by family) are hole-punched and hung with white chenille string from four decorative knobs mounted on wood

via Apartment Therapy

Photos clipped to curtain wire hanging across a wall from Apartment Therapy



via Casa

Umbra Fotofalls Desk Photo Display from Casa.com


Wire sculptures and black and white photos clipped to a wire between hanging decorative bulbs. On the table, photos on a black and white dinner plate are available for leafing through

Sunday, December 9, 2012

1919 Historic Home

Earlier this year, my daughter and I toured a beautifully restored 1919 historic home in rural eastern Oregon, complete with dark wood, glass doors, vintage furniture and accents, and interesting shades of wall paint. I have included a number of the photos I took that included photo arrangements, as well as framed art, which adds so much to the decor:


 The family photo grouping to the right of the doorway, above, has an interesting dynamic--a large formal photo, with small round frames circling nearby


An Early American desk, striped curtains, and framed photos to either side of an ornate mirror dominate this office


Wine-colored matted silver frames surround a large dresser mirror


Stained glass window lets light into the stairwell of a dark wood staircase, while heavy black picture frames fill wall space along the stairs


Double windows with green curtains are set off with green-matted art prints, above


Another set of double windows draped in fringed red, with vintage portraits between


Off-white tiled bathroom with banner-pointed valances that reflect in three large black-framed prints above the bathtub



Blue walls and white wainscoting in a ruffle-curtained bathroom with an old-fashioned vessel sink and console. The corner  of the room left of the mirror is accented with two square framed prints above a tiny round table holding a ceramic cat

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY Rustic Frame

Since I live on a dairy, there is plenty of weathered wood piled in stacks all over our farm. Using a small picture repinned on Pinterest from a now vanished website photo, I have attempted to recreate the rustic picture frame using weathered wood, lath, and a heavy cardboard background. Pallet wood could also be used for this project.

You will need:

1) Heavy black cardboard for background  
2) Weathered barn wood or pallets 1/2" thick
3) 1-1/2" and 5/8" lath
4) Wood glue
5) Miter box and saw
6) Hammer, nails, screws or staples
7) DIY vintage wood stain (steel wool, coffee grounds, vinegar)
8) Picture hanging hardware


1) The first thing was to create dimensions for measurements. To accommodate two 8"x10" photo prints, I made the outside dimension 14" x 24", not including the lath border.  It helped to cut a piece of heavy black cardboard meant for the back of the project for placing the pieces.


2) The boards I used were 1/2" thick. I used a miter box to cut the fairly small pieces. 

Wood cuts include:
1 center cut piece 3-1/2" x 14"
2 end pieces 2-1/4" x 14" 
4 cross pieces 2-1/4" x 7-3/4" (the opening needs to be less than 8" or the edge of the photo may show)
6 mitered corners approx. 3" on the narrow side mitered to 6" on the wide side 


3) You will also need lath for the borders around the outside edges and along the middle between the photo openings:
2  pieces 1-1/2" lath approx. 25" long (measure before cutting)
2 pieces 1-1/2" lath approx. 14-1/2" long (measure before cutting)
1 piece 5/8" lath approx. 14" long to go down the middle 

4) If you want to stain your lumber, it is best to do it before gluing or nailing the boards. I used a vintage wood stain using 1/4 of a steel wool pad put into a wide mouth glass jar along with 1/4 c coffee grounds, and covered with 1 c. white vinegar. Let the solution stand overnight, then you can apply coats to your project wood. 

BE WARNED this solution appears light colored but it will apply a dark shade to your wood! You may try setting the stained wood outside for drying and darkening. The website for this vintage stain can be found at Home Heart Craft


5) Place your pieces on your cardboard background. When you have everything where you want it, glue the pieces in place. The middle lath will be up on its edge. You may want to use weights or clamps if necessary, especially if the wood is warped. One of the nice things about this project is since it is rustic, variations in size and texture are OK. 

Make sure you don't let any white glue dry where you can see it, since it is hard to remove once everything dries.


6) Carefully turn over your frame, and use either 1" staples, fasteners or screws in appropriate places.

7) Measure the outside edge for adding the lath borders. Nail or screw in place. You may need to stain the edges one more time. Attach picture hanging hardware on the back.

8) Tape photos in place, then staple cardboard background inside the lath border.


9) The final frame, hanging on the wall. These pictures are of my granddaughter Athena on a grand day out down at the hay barn playing on Grandpa's four-wheeler and tractor tire.