Framed Papercut Gift

I think the subtitle of this project should be something along the lines of "How I almost cut off a finger and cried at CVS," but I'm not sure that's quite catchy enough. And that's not really fair. When I started this project, I had something pretty different in mind, but then everything went wrong. Multiple times.

Originally, this was going to be a frame with pretty pictures of letters to spell out "DAD" (it was a Father's Day present), but then the frame I ordered came in cracked and almost cost me a finger and then the pictures were printed incorrectly (multiple sizes and off-center) the first time and then just off-center the second time (at a different place entirely).  But the end result is actually a project that I am VERY pleased with - I genuinely thought it looked really pretty and I was pretty darn proud of myself for coming up with it using what I had...

  • Collage photo frame (with enough openings for whatever you're spelling)
  • Photos with letters to spell out whatever you want
  • X-acto knife
  • Roll on glue dots/ gluestick/ sticky corners
  • Ruler/measuring tape
  • Pen
  • Cardstock
  • Foam squares/ circles
  • Tape
  • Ink, stuff to decorate the cardstock letters

I started with the pictures I had that were off-center and kind of weird looking - they were 5x7" and the frame was fit for pictures that size. I measured it and used a regular pen and lightly marked off each half inch on the back of the picture...

I knew I was going to cut at those little marks, so I also numbered the strips so that I could put them back together in the right order with minimal time... you can see the little marks at the half-inch measures highlighted by the colored circles and the numbers in the photo below.

Then you just cut at the tick marks and put the picture back together with little spaces between the strips. 

You'll end up with a bit of photo that doesn't fit into the frame (because your photo was the exact size of the frame opening), but I just cut mine off. I used the tape dot roller to attach the photo to the cardstock because that's just what I use when I paste down photos for scrapbooking, but you can use whatever... And you end up with letters like this: 

And this:

And now, like every project I just sort of make up as I go along, this is where I just sort of played around and there's not necessarily one step-by-step process... basically, I outlined the height and width of the photo outline (in this case, 5" x 7") and then I drew a letter that I wanted to end up on top of the photo. At first, I only had the letter attached to the sort of frame of paper on two sides, but that wasn't very sturdy, so the other two letters are attached to the frame on all four sides. 

Then, you cut out the letters... the letter looked a little plain so I got out some ink pads and covered them in blue ink because that was the color I was trying to use as a theme for this project. Then, I wanted a sort of 3-D effect, so I used a couple of different things. I had some styrofoam squares and circles from making specimen art and I attached those to the back of the letters. I also tried some wooden disks and then some coiled up paper. I'm not really sure which I'd recommend - I had to stack everything and none seemed all that sturdy. But the paper coils are cheapest so I might go with that (since the more expensive, specific stuff isn't any better). 

You can see the various options all on the back of the letter above and this is one of the letters that I had "attached" to the frame on all 4 sides. After you get your sticky 3-D stuff on there, just flip it over and place on top of your striped photo. From there, it's very simple. Just tape to the back of your matting/frame...

And repeat.

Here's the finished product before it went into the frame...

And here it is in the frame!

I absolutely loved it when it was done... from something that was a complete and total disaster to something that I think is pretty unique! I think my dad liked it too - he already hung it up over his dresser so I was pretty excited! 

All in all, the frame was the only part that cost much and luckily, I had coupons for it at Michael's. The photos were from Shutterfly and CVS and so they were pretty inexpensive and everything else I had on hand. Because I played around with this, I'm not totally sure how long it really takes (if you have a plan), but probably closer to 2 hours than 3. I made this for Father's Day, but it could work for moms or anyone (the only problem would be finding a frame with room for 7 letters if you wanted to spell out something big, but you could always use multiple frames). I'm thinking about making one for my place because I honestly loved this one so much!

I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences


  1. thanks for the tutorial. this is darling:)
    thanks for sharing and linkin up to tell me tuesday!:)

  2. This is really great! Maybe my favorite of your projects! Good job...

  3. What a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing. Please stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I'm your newest follower!

  4. I love this!! Such a great idea!!! I need to try this for Harrison's room.

  5. Love this tutorial. You obviously got all of the craftiness I am so sorely lacking. I am glad one of us can create beautiful art.

  6. I've seen really expensive things like this in stores. It looks like it's a lot of work, but it's totally worth it to have something that's customized and special. I especially like the aqua letters you put on top. Just stopping in from Inspired by You Wednesdays. Thanks for sharing. -Lola at

  7. Love the project!
    Thanks for telling us to number the layers of the photo... something I def would have messed up on my own. :)

    The Miller's
    Prezidentail Life

  8. this is amazing! What a great idea and it turned out great! I found your blog through a link party and LOVE it! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!

  9. Love this! Very cute and practical. I love your blog!

    Your newest follower,
    (come take a look if you like)

  10. SO cute, I love the dimensional look! Thanks for showing off!

  11. awww you're so creative!and so glad you didnt cut your fingers off hehe thanks for sharing the tutorial,

    following you from creative bloggers' party and blog hop at homemakeronadime


  12. This is such a cute idea. I'm a new follower. I found you from my stats. Thanks for linking up my projects. You made my day.

  13. This is a fabulous idea!!! Glad you got to keep your finger! ;0)

  14. What an awesome idea! I saw you over at Life Made Lovely and thought I'd stop by and say hi!You can find me over here at check it out if you like :)

  15. Cute idea~ Love how it turned out!! Thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday this week! :)

  16. Just liked you on facebook and love this art, so nice. Thanks for linking to Bacon Time, hope to see you soon.

  17. I'm so grateful that you linked up in this week's Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop :) This awesome post totally rocked the party!

  18. This is seriously so cute! I would totally buy this at a store- it looks so professional!! Thank you so much for linking up to Strut Your Stuff Saturday! We would love to have you come back today and link up more of your great stuff!
    -Camille @
    PS I am your newest follower!

  19. Hi, girl! Congratulations on making it to this week's featured projects. Votation is on going. Do grab a featured button if you fancy so ^^)

    Have a lovely weekend!

  20. You've been featured at SSB! Check it out at the link below:

    Feel free to snag the I Was Featured button for your blog and visit again soon!

  21. love it! just curious as too where you found the photos?


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