- 12 small frames or frame boxes (I found the boxes at Michael's in the wood-craft area for just a dollar a box)
- Larger frame, 16x20 (can be larger or smaller, depending on your smaller frame size)
- mat board cut to 16x20 , any color
- High gloss white spray paint
- 24 Magnets or a roll of magnet tape, cut into 24 pieces. Magnets should be adhesive on one side.
- Phillips and flat-head screwdriver
Note: Steps 1-5 and a few of the supplies can be skipped if you buy small frames that are already white.
A few last tips:
- Start by disassembling all 12 boxes. Unscrew the screws to take off the hinge, and pop off the lock. This is easily done if you have a small flat head screwdriver.
- Cover the picture window with painters tape. Unfortunately, the glass can't be removed from them, so you'll need to protect it from the spray paint. They more time you take to carefully do this step, the better. I had to scrape paint of a few of the ones I got lazy with.
- There may be tiny holes from where the lock was pulled off. Fill the holes with white wood filler before spray painting. If there are any cracks where the angles of the frame don't meet, go ahead and fill those too.
- Spray paint the frames. I did about 4 coats, making sure to get all sides of the frame. Let the frames dry about 10 minutes between coats.
- Take the tape off the windows. Clean them with a little windex/microfiber cloth, and scrape off any paint that got on them with a dull blade or your fingernail.
- Assemble the mat board inside the larger frame. Secure the cardboard backing onto the frame, and start placing the smaller frames inside. This is where you'll want to measure out placement and how far apart they are from each other. Use a pencil and lightly make marks if you need to. I used a metal T-square to help line them up, but honestly, I pretty much winged it. The magnets will allow you to move them around a half inch or so.
- Stick the magnets on the back of the mini frames, doing just one at a time and then peel the adhesive off the other magnet, sticking it back into the order on the mat board. If you use a T-square or yardstick, it helps to remember where to place them. I chose magnets so that they could be adjusted and taken off easily. The PB version looks like it hangs from a peg and a hook, which in my opinion seems like it would take far more precise measuring and not allow room for a little error. You'll want the magnets to be thin, so they don't stick out too far from the mat board. Edit: The adhesiveness on the magnets I bought really suck. You might need to use a craft glue or super glue to adhere them onto the frames and mat board.
- Put pictures in the frame, and hang! I find that printing them out at wallet size and cutting them down from there works great. I'll also be filling all of them up even though Cameron isn't a year old yet; I don't want them to be empty until he is.
A few last tips:
If your frames are rugged (as mine were) you'll see much better finished results if you spend a few minutes sanding the surface and sides of the frames to make them smooth. Also, even if your larger frame is white, throw a coat or two of the same spray paint on it so that the finishes match exactly. The glass from the larger frame can be tossed; my little frames actually sat a little higher than the larger frame. The magnets should be somewhat high in strength (at least a 3); the first magnets I bought weren't strong enough to hold the smaller frames in place. If you take advantage of Michael's or Hobby Lobby sales, this project is very inexpensive! And lastly, if you have questions or need clarification, drop me a comment!