How to Make a Picture Frame Using Clay

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Making your own picture frames is a fun and different way to show off your photos. Children especially will love to see their family photos in a frame that shows off their favorite colors and decorations, and features personalized information about them.

Things You'll Need

  • Polymer clay in color of your choice
  • Templates
  • Craft knife
  • Rolling pin or wide dowel rod
  • Waxed paper
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Cover your work surface with waxed paper.

  • Start with a tennis ball-sized piece of polymer clay. Polymer clay is an oven-drying clay that is easy to work with. Mold it in your hands for a while, flattening it, stretching it and kneading it, to make it soft and pliable.

  • Roll the clay into a ball shape. Place it in the center of the waxed paper and flatten it like a burger patty. Use your rolling pin---or a piece of a dowel rod, if you don't want to ruin a rolling pin you cook with---to roll out the clay flat, until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick.

  • Purchase your templates at a store, or make them by cutting out cardboard shapes. Rectangles and ovals work best for frames. You will need two sizes, one larger than the other. The smaller template should be smaller than the size of your picture. For example, if your photos are 4 by 6 inches, and you're using a rectangular template, you'll want one no larger than 3 3/4 by 5 3/4 inches. The larger template can be an inch or two bigger, such as a 5 by 7 rectangle.

  • Lay your smaller template onto your polymer clay. Use a craft knife to cut out a clean shape. Use the tip of the craft knife to edge the inside piece of clay and to pull it up.

  • Lay your larger template centered over the opening you just made. Use your craft knife to trace the shape. Remove all the clay on the outside, around the frame shape.

  • Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Pick up the waxed paper with the frame shape you just created and flip it over onto the parchment paper. Pull back the waxed paper sheet to remove it from the polymer clay.

  • Use your fingers to smooth any parts, if necessary. You can use tools, such as a pencil, knitting needle, chopstick, clay-carving or wood-carving tool, to make carvings and textures into the clay, if you would like to decorate it at this point. Or etch names or dates into it. If you prefer, you can leave the frame plain and decorate it after it hardens.

  • Place the clay in the oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove it and let it cool. When it's cool, peel the parchment paper backing off the frame.

  • Glue on beads or gems. Or make more flat clay shapes, such as hearts or stars, and glue them onto the front of the frame, if you did not decorate it before drying it. Use a paint pen or glitter glue to write a name, date or saying around the edge of your frame.

  • Tape your photo to the back of the frame. You can glue magnets to the back, or use gum tacks to hang the frame.

Tips & Warnings

  • Give the clay a "marbleized" effect by combining two contrasting colors and kneading them until they are blended, but both still distinct, so you get streaks of each.
  • Do not handle hot polymer clay. Allow it to cool thoroughly.

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