Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY - $6 Frames

I have a Japanese lover. 

His name is Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore of 6th Avenue across from Bryant Park.  My lover knows just how to tempt me - shelves of curiosities with descriptions I can't read, trays full of washi tape and infinite DIY possibilities hiding behind every illegible kanji character.  Washi tape, the Japanese masking tape that comes in a bevy of colors and patterns, sends my heart into a flutter, filling my head with sordid dreams of adorning everything from thank you cards to containers with various shades of washi. 

Add to this that my lover surprised me with an item that I had been searching all over Manhattan for with no success - an affordable, ready-made substitute for plexiglass (or real glass for that matter) to create a cheap and easy photo gallery for our bedroom in the form of A4 card cases.  I have no idea what an A4 card case is or what it's used for, really, so if you know please share.  I do know that the rest of the world uses standardized paper sizes, one of which is A4, so the sizing thing makes sense, I just don't know if there's some particular purpose for these suckers outside of just simply holding your A4 sized paper.  Anyone?

So back to my project.  I wanted to make a non-commital photo gallery for over our bed that could be easily changed out and that didn't require any nailing or holes in the wall.  This meant that the frames had to be cheap, lightweight and easy to swap around.  I also wanted a little pop of color against our blue walls.  I had hoped for a sunny yellow, but there wasn't any, so I went in a different direction. 

Here's what I ended up whipping up...

The beauty of these puppies, aside from the price, is that they are 100% customizable.  If I (or my husband) gets tired of the pink, it can easily be swapped out for gold or chevron or any washi tape I come across that floats by boat.  I even have a sample after the jump of one of these in gold.

The pricing breakdown is $5.55 per card case...

And 43 cents per frame for the washi tape (the whole roll was $3.50, and I still have plenty left over).  So the frames are technically $5.98, but I like whole numbers. 

Check it all out after the jump...


- assorted photos (I had a stack of 5"x7" photos on hand.  I would have preferred 4"x6" in terms of the scale as it relates to the card cases, but I decided to just work with what I got)

- A4 card cases (these come in all sorts of stiffness, the flimsiest being something similar to a protector sheet.  You're looking for something made from a harder plastic, like a rigid pvc sheet.  The other alternative, if you don't have a Japanese stationery store in your town, would be the acrylic photo frames available everywhere, like these or these, on our Amazon site, in your desired size)

- washi tape in your desired colors (here's a gold one, through our Amazon affliliate link, similar to what I used.  You can also find more here.)

- scissors

- scotch tape or photo quality mounting tape

- mounting paper or card stock, cut to size (with a few extra to spare)

- ruler

- pen

- chocolate chip cookie (just because, to be enjoyed at your leisure)

1.  In order to save yourself the hassle of having to measure each and every one, start by creating a template or guide to help you center your photos.  I did both horizontal and vertical on the same sheet since I was able to see through my paper to the guide below.  Here's a photo of the guide.

2. Using your guide, mount your photo on your sheet.  If the photos are irreplaceable, use good quality archival mounting tape.  My photos were ordered online and are easily replaceable, so I just stuck mine on with good old fashioned scotch tape.

3. Starting on one side, cut off a piece of washi tape long enough to cover the side, and carefully place tape on the edge of the frame so that some of the tape hangs over the edge.

I also recommend eating a chocolate chip cookie while you do this project.  Actually, it's mandatory.  Didn't you see it listed in the supplies list?

4. Fold the overhanging edge back, making a clean crease as you go.

5. Continue taping the remaining sides.  Here's a frame (and my cookie) on the final side.

6. Do all your frames in the same manner.  Here's my completed stack. 

7. Hang your gallery.  I actually used velcro strips, believe it or not, because they peel off the wall relatively easily and they stick well on the backs of the frames.  You could certainly add string to the backs to hang them on an existing hook, but just keep in mind that, because there is no actual frame distancing the photo from the wall, the closer flush they sit to the wall the better they look.

I laid out my photos on the bed to figure out what arrangement I preferred.  Brownie (my best friend 30-year-old bear) approves. 

Then I just semi-measured as I placed them on the wall, ensuring equal spacing between the photos, and voila!

I actually started out using gold, but decided pink would be more fun.  Here's my gold sample, in case you're interested.

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