23 November 2009

Toddler-friendly Photo Frame

J has been having a little trouble leaving Mommy lately. A friend and I swap toddlers each Friday so we can take turns volunteering at the elementary school. We've got a great system worked out, and J ultimately has fun playing with his little toddler friend, but he gets pretty upset when I leave him. My friend suggested I leave a photo with him. Great idea! I thought, but how can I protect it so he can hold it?

I looked around my craft desk and came up with a plan for a plastic-covered, double-sided photo frame, with the edges wrapped in felt. Very secure and toddler-friendly, so he can love all over it and it will stay intact.
  • Sandwich a piece of sturdy cardboard between two photos. The cardboard should be the same size as your photos.
  • Attach photos to cardboard. I use these handy little adhesive tabs, but you can use any photo-safe adhesive.
  • Find some sturdy, but flexible plastic. I used an old clear envelope. A sheet of acetate would probably work well, too.
  • Cut two pieces of plastic slightly larger than your photos. Mine are about 1/2" larger on each side to allow for glue and later stitching.
  • Place your photo sandwich on one piece of plastic.
  • Run a bead of strong craft glue all around the edge of the plastic. I avoided getting any glue on my photo, because I wanted to be able to disassemble the frame later, if necessary. You may not have to be so careful.
  • Clamp edges with little binder clips, clothespins, bag clips...whatever you have.
  • Allow to dry several hours or overnight.

  • When dry, remove clamps.
  • Cut felt into long strips, wide enough to wrap around the edge of the plastic and reach your photo (so you don't see the clear plastic edges).
  • Stitch felt to plastic as desired. I went for a rustic, handmade look with a simple running stitch. I did this by hand. I made my stitches quite large--if the stitches are too close together, the plastic may tear like a sheet of perforated paper.
  • Miter corners by folding and stitching. (See below.) This is similar to a quilt binding, but not quite the same. I had to play with it a bit.
  • Alternately, for those with a sewing aversion, you could just use more glue to attach the felt.


J I L L A I R E said...

I'm confused. You said you stitched through the plastic, but then you said to avoid perforating the plastic. So, how did you do it?

Marisa@make*happy said...

Thanks for catching that. I intended "perforate" to mean making so many small holes that the plastic would tear, as in perforated paper. On my way back now to improve my word choice... :)

Jenae said...

Very cool! Here is a similar idea with multiple pages at my website: http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2010/07/make-it-ziploc-my-body-book.html

Anonymous said...

This is great. My little one isn't quite there yet, but I am always looking for cute photo ideas for him.

I bet you could laminated the photo too. 3 mil would probably be the easiest to sew through.

This is so great.

Marisa said...

lady--laminating would be perfect! Do make sure the laminating materials are photo safe, though. I've seen some photos that were laminated and completely ruined.

casserole said...

This is such a great idea!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


Ellen said...

Hi, I am new to your blog and wanted to tell you how much I love this project. You use supplies that most of us already have at home, and my kiddo is going to love this. This is a project I feel I can do without running to the store (which I do not have the time to do).

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