Little Gold Frame

This project will require the paper mache recipe found here: Paper Mache Recipe

For this project you will need:

  • Paper Mache
  • Cardboard from packaging (cereal box, etc)
  • Metallic gold paint (I used Plaid Folk Art Metallic Antique Gold)
  • Dried flowers
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Hot glue and glue gun

First, decide what size frame you want. I made a small one, the size for a little wallet size photo.  I have a collection of little frames, mostly from little school pictures of the kids through the years.  You can make this bigger, but I thought for a first project, small might be good.  I’m going to try a larger one as a gift for my Dad (he might be reading this, if so Dad, pretend you didn’t read that!) and I think this is plenty sturdy enough for a bigger frame.

Measure and cut the cardboard packaging the size you want.  Of course, the size of the package will guide the size of the frame you can make.  You will have to use something larger, like a cereal box, if you want a larger frame.  I used a small box that fake sugar pkgs came in.  You will need to cut a piece for the frame, and then another piece about the same size for the backing.  You can put that one aside for the time being.

Cut out the opening in the middle where the photo will be with an Exacto knife.  I measured it, but I wasn’t very careful.Cut cardboard To be honest, because the paper mache dries unevenly, even if you are extremely careful, it’s not going to be perfect when it’s done.  But, if it makes you happy to be exacting do it!  🙂  I just find it makes me crazier to try to get it perfect, so I just go with the whole organic thing and let it be what it is.  I did use my cutter to cut the outside edges.

After you finish cutting your frame, you simply cover it with paper mache.  This won’t take long.Cover with paper mache

Be sure to cover the front and the back completely.  And be careful not to bend the cardboard. It will get damp from the paper mache, and will be easy to bend. Just be careful with it.

Once you have completely covered it with the paper mache,  you can smooth it out and straighten the edges, etc as much as you like.  Remember though, it will still dry unevenly, so it’s not going to turn out perfectly straight and smooth.Frame ready to put into oven

Put the frame on a lightly oiled piece of foil covering a cookie sheet (or an old cookie sheet–I suppose if you have an old cookie sheet you can put it directly on that, but I find it easier to use foil as I can then use it for painting etc and save my cookie sheets for–well–cookies!).

Oven should be at 200 F for quite awhile.  When the top seems pretty dry, peel it off the foil (CAREFULLY) and turn it over.  You can even turn the oven off and go to bed or leave the house.  I don’t like to go to bed or leave the house with the oven on.  Besides, I don’t know what would happen if you overcooked this.  All you are really doing is drying it faster.  You CAN dry it without the oven but it will take a few days.

After the frame is completely dry, which means hard to the touch, you can paint it. Painted frame Of course you can paint any color you want, but I thought a nice antique gold look would be pretty, plus I had just bought these really gorgeous metallic paints I wanted to try.  So I chose the antique gold.  I put a couple of coats on and it was pretty, but I then brushed the metallic copper over it and then, while it was still wet rubbed it off. WOW!  It gave it that sort of antiqued look.  It took that kind of too bright look and gave it a little buff.  Exactly what I wanted.

I actually started to just use it like that, but I had set it on the table to finish the back and there were some small dried flowers from a previous project and they were just begging to be used, so I tried arranging them around the frame and I liked it.  So, I fixed them in place with some Elmer’s Glue (School Glue) and after they dried, put a coat of Mod Podge, just to make everything stay in place and give it a nice protective finish.

Glue cardboard to backThen, I turned it over, cut the extra piece of cardboard (remember, I told you to save that?!) a little smaller than the back and put a dot of hot glue in each corner and glued it to the back of the frame.  Just be sure to put the glue as close to the edges as you can, so you will have room to slide a photo in.  Of course, you CAN put a picture on the cardboard and the glue it on, but I prefer to be able to change photos more easily.

In fact, you could just glue to photo to the back of the frame, if you wanted to do it that way.  As usual, whatever adjustments fit whatever you want to do.  This ends up being just a little prop up frame.  I’m thinking of ideas for making a stand for a larger one.

Finished Frame


  1. Kat says:

    That’s it, will you please stop finding things I want to have a go at? My other half is getting annoyed by the mess I keep leaving behind me…

    …Oh well, here’s to another job I will add to the currently never ending pile of ‘This week I will mostly be making…’

    Thanks for another great tute!

  2. Wendy says:

    I love, love, love it! There’s already lots of variations running through my head!

    I’m *so* with you on the recycling thing! In the seventies, when I was at school, people thought I was a bit weird – I made a skirt from my brother’s old wide-legged pants, and a pencil case and handbag from old jeans. I thought it was cool then and nobody really knew what recycling was but I loved the idea of something from nothing.

    In the early 90s I was writing for magazines and pitched a book called “Creatvive Recycling” to a few publishing houses. They all turned it down on the grounds it needed to be cheap to produce as it was about recycling but it needed photos. I missed the boat later on – there must be hundreds of books on that theme now.

    I’ve been working on recycled stuff in odd moments so must get round to showing off some of that one of these days! Right, am all excited about this now. Thanks for taking part in HM! xx

    • Susie says:

      I”m beginning to think we are sisters! 😉 I also made a purse out of jeans, sure wish I still had that old thing! And I made a skirt from jeans, not sure what happened to it, wish I at least had a picture of it. That is so cool that you were writing for a magazine! WOW! And I so love HM it keeps me going, otherwise I fear I would have missed so many weeks by now. 🙂

  3. Mrs A. says:

    Thanks for this. I am making a paper mache cup and saucer at the moment but using a slightly different technigue so its interesting to see the varied ways of doing things. I’m all for using what you have in the bin and recycling. Drives my hubby nuts. He now comes and waves items under my nose and says ” I spect you want this for your trash?” Hugs Mrs A.

    • Susie says:

      LOL Mrs. A. I hope I see your cup and saucer! They sound intriguing! My son made noises about making masks for Halloween next year.

  4. Dreamstar - Lisa says:

    I wish i could be that inventive. I hate to admit but i dont really recycle for craft at all. Maybe i should start to!
    Great tutorial as always

  5. Lau W says:

    You’re very smart and talented, you’re the fairy of recycling! I love this creation, what a genius!

  6. Susie says:

    Thank you all for coming by and always your nice comments. I can’t imagine blogging without anyone saying anything, how sad it would be! 🙂

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