How to Make a Paper Mache Picture Frame

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Papier mache is a craft material used to build durable items of almost any shape using what would otherwise be trash. You can even use this handy stuff to create a picture frame, whether you're looking to use it to decorate a small photograph or a large work of art. Create a custom size, shape and color for your durable finished product.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard, not corrugated
  • Glass framing pane
  • Wheat paste
  • Old newspapers
  • Acrylic paint
  • Silicone glue

Place the pane of glass over the cardboard sheet on the cutting mat. Use the pane as a pattern to cut out two rectangles of cardboard in the same size and shape.

Measure and draw a smaller rectangle from the center of one of the cardboard pieces, creating a frame shape; the size depends on your picture and your preference. As a general rule, take the average between the width and height of the rectangle and make the frame's thickness one-fifth of that.

Tear or cut the newspaper into roughly 1 inch by 3 inch strips. Reduce them further as needed once you start wrapping with them; it's not an exact science.

Soak the strips of paper in wheat paste made of flour and water, wipe them free of excess paste, and immediately wrap them around the cardboard frame. Do one complete layer of coverage, then let this dry for three to six hours. Add another four to six layers; with these, do two at a time, and let them dry before adding the next layers. Let the entire frame dry completely before you paint it.

Paint the papier mache frame with acrylic paint. For best results, keep the paint at the consistency of cream or thicker; this will ensure a strong color and help to make the finished frame water-resistant. Let dry.

Apply silicone glue to the back of the frame. Lay the glass pane centered over the back of the frame in the glue and let it sit until the glue is fully cured, between 6 and 24 hours. Consult the glue manufacturer's instructions.

Apply glue to three of the four sides of the back of the glass pane. Leave the top side unglued and open to allow the picture to slide in and out of the frame. Place the second cardboard rectangle on the glue. When the glue is dry, insert the picture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Speed up the drying process of the papier mache using a hair dryer or area fans.

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