DIY HOBBIES: Put your pictures on display in a painted frame box

If you're like most crafters and artists, you have bunches of greeting cards, photos, and little drawings you don't quite know what to do with. Finding ways to incorporate these treasures into projects can help bring them out of the shoebox and into the light.

That's what I like most about this month's project -- it invites you to embellish a wood box in whatever way complements an image you want to display. For example, on my box I used light blue, gray-blue and white with touches of yellow, raw sienna and sap green. The mostly cool palette of the box helps the warm-toned picture in the frame pop. But though I used contrasting palettes to emphasize the display image, I aimed to create a consistent mood, using a floral design to enhance the soft, outdoors scene.

Another great thing about an embellished frame box is that it can serve double duty. While the frame-top can hold a favorite image, the box itself is perfect for holding the rest of your collection. The pretty box can go nicely on an end table or bookshelf where it will invite people to open it and peruse the treats inside.


Wooden photo box with frame top

White spray primer or Gesso

Four large wooden beads

Acrylic paints

Paintbrushes (No. 1 liner and a half inch flat)

Gold leafing pen



Paper towels

Wood glue

Spray sealant, high gloss

Cream-colored button

Jewel glue


1) Prepare the box by spraying it with primer or applying a coat of Gesso.

2) Use the half inch flat paintbrush to paint the sides of the box and a border on top of the box. Allow it to dry.

3) Using the liner brush, paint flowers and leaves. Shade the flowers and leaves, and dot the flower centers.

4) Paint a coordinating border around the top of the box and the latticework around the frame's interior.

5) When the box is dry, add details using the gold leafing pen.

6) Paint the wooden beads. When dry, adhere them to the bottom of the box using wood glue to create the box's "feet."

7) Apply two coats of sealant to the entire project. When dry, adhere the button to the box clasp using jewel glue.

8) Place your chosen image in the frame.

If you can't find a frame-topped wooden box, fake it with an ordinary wooden box. Using wood or craft glue, adhere strips of balsa wood around the border of the lid to create a frame. (Glue only the ends of the strip you place at the back so you can slide a photo into place.) To produce a deep frame such as the one in my project, layer strips of balsa wood. Or you could just attach a small store bought frame that fits nicely on the box. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly before painting the box.

Dena Fishbein hosts the television show "Embellish This!" airedmonthly on the DIY Network. To ask her how to embellish anything,email her at