DIY: Chic Custom Photo Frame Makeover

A couple of years ago my company was relocating to a new location and was throwing all of the art from the old office away. They were tossing it into the dumpster when I bravely threw my body in front of the dumpter, desperate to save the art from total ruin.

Ok, it wasn't really that dramatic. I simply asked if I could have the art instead of them throwing it away, and they looked at me like I was crazy. The artwork was a bit 1980s and didn't appeal to most of my coworkers. However, it was custom framed and I know how much that costs, so I figured I could use the mats and frames to fancy up my own artwork.

I've had most of them in the closet of our guest room, collecting dust. My favorite was a set of 4, but we broke a couple of the frames so we were down to a set of two. Here's a photo of two of them propped with the original artwork up on my mantel when I was playing around with where to put them.

 I painted a random abstract on top of the 1980s artwork about a year ago, but it wasn't my best effort. It was very so-so, but I didn't have anything else to put on the wall so I hung them on either side of the TV until something better came along. I don't have a photo of that, but you can see the abstracts here in this photo I dug up from Instagram.

That "something better" came along on March 24, when two beautiful babies rocked our world in the best way possible. (Sleep: Who needs it?) Anyway, I am a proud mommy now who wants pictures of her babies on display, so I thought these frames were the perfect display piece.

Here's what we started with. The frames had no glass because we broke it a long time ago. Plus I don't like glass frames that much because they have such a bad glare when the light bounces off.

I ordered some rolled canvas prints (no wooden frames since I wanted to put them inside an existing frame) from the babies' newborn photoshoot on CanvasPrintFactory.com.  It was very affordable, and I was really pleased with the quality of the photos.

This is where we got stuck for about a month because I couldn't decide the best way to proceed. The new prints were smaller than the existing artwork, so I needed a new mat cut to my specific size. I kept saying I would go buy one at Hobby Lobby, but let's just say it's a lot harder to run out the door for little errands now that I have the twins. Anything that wasn't a NEED got pushed to the bottom of my list.

Then my clever husband had the brilliant idea to cut a mat for me using very thin wood. That would have never occurred to me, so he deserves all the credit in the world for how this project turned out. He was able to use his table saw and jig saw to cut two custom mat boards for me out of one $9 sheet of underlayment wood, which is 0.2 inches thick. He attached the canvas to the back of the underlayment wood with brad nails, and I spray painted the existing silver metal frame with matte black spray paint. It only took us an hour or two, so it wasn't too time consuming either. Perfect nap time project!

The canvas prints came with a white border around the edge, which we chose to expose so it would have the look of a double mat.

To say I am pleased with how these portraits turned out is an understatement! Don't they look custom made and very expensive? I love how the mats tie in with the other wooden tones we have in the room, and the black frames go nicely with the TV.

While we're on the topic of photos, how great are these capiz frames from HomeGoods? Those heirloom baby shoes were a gift and I thought they were so beautiful that I decided to display them as part of our decor. The sole of each shoe is customized with their name and date of birth. 

Yes, we turned out bar cart into a baby supply cart. My how things change! #adulting

The best part is that they really let those adorable baby pictures shine, which is the most important thing. Whenever it's a nonstop baby screamfest at our house, I can look at the portraits and remember how sweet and precious my babies are when they aren't hungry, tired or just plain grouchy. Now that's priceless!

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