How to Make Upholstered Picture Frames

Do you have some dull-looking picture frames that you’d like to upgrade to a more exciting vibe? You can slap on some fabric and make them look lively and colorful. Let me teach you how to make upholstered picture frames in seven easy steps!

How to Make an Upholstered Picture Frame 

It’s actually pretty easy! I did this same tutorial a few years ago and have been thinking about doing it again for some DIY gift ideas this year.

What You Need

To make an upholstered picture frame, you’ll need the following:

  • The frame of your choice
  • Cotton fabric (half a yard should suffice, but it depends on the frame size)
  • Glue (Mod Podge is a good choice)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • A fan brush
  • Sharp fabric scissors 

Step 1: Cut the Fabric

To start, begin by cutting the fabric so that its measurements are at least three to four inches larger than the frame’s measurements on each side. Before applying the glue, iron the fabric to remove any potential wrinkles. 

Use a fan brush to apply glue solely to the front side. You want the amount of glue you apply here to be extremely thin and even. It is essential to ensure that none of the adhesives seeps through the fabric.

Step 2: Glue the Fabric

Flip the frame over so it faces the back of the cloth, and then align it with the back of the frame. I find that following the pattern gives me the best results. Maintain a hard downward pressure on the fabric while pressing the frame against it.

You need to invert the frame and run your fingertips along each side of the frame, carefully smoothing out any creases or air bubbles that may have formed. Check the alignment twice, then work as rapidly as possible before the glue dries.

Step 3: Measure the Sides

To ensure the frame is completely dry, you should invert it and wait a few minutes. The next step is to get a ruler and determine the depth of the framework. Create a square on the paper using the ruler with the exact dimensions as the measurement. 

Therefore, if the depth of the frame is 3/4 inches, draw a square that is 3/4 inches on each side, making sure that the outside corner of the square is flush with the outside corner of the frame. Perform this action on each of the four corners.

After that, return to the beginning and draw a diagonal line that goes through the square and continues past it. After completing this step on each of the four sides, cut along the lines and around the squares.

Step 4: Attach the Sides

Make a series of cuts along the inside face of the square with the scissors. You’ll make all four of your cuts in the exact same spot. This makes a tab that can obscure the corners more effectively. Fold each side of the cloth up, then stretch it over the rear of the frame to secure it.

Rub the side of a pencil down the inside edge using the side of the pencil. You can use this as a guide to help cut the excess fabric from the sides of the piece. Plus, you can make use of the pattern that is already on the cloth.

Step 5: Glue the Sides

After finishing trimming all of the edges to the appropriate length, you can proceed to apply glue. Only along one side of the frame (the side that already has the tab attached), apply very little glue in a thin line.

Fold the fabric so that the side with the glue is on the top. Make use of your thumbs and move them vertically (from the bottom up) to prevent creases and bubbles from forming. It’s best to begin in the center of the picture and work your way to the edges on both sides.

After that, adhere the tabs to the opposite sides using adhesive. It is necessary to repeat this step on the other side. Then, on the adjacent sides, fold the edges up to hide the tabs by bringing them together. 

Take a look at those perfectly rounded corners! After you have attached the sides, you can begin to glue the backside, working on one side at a time.

Step 6: Cut the Front Fabric

Now we’ll talk about the frame’s front face. Make a hole in the front of the frame by using your scissors to poke the hole. Cut at a 45-degree angle toward the corner of the paper. 

Before cutting, you can estimate it visually or make a mark with a pencil beforehand. Repeat on each of the four sides.

Because you won’t need a lot of fabric to cover the inside of the frame, you should feel free to cut away most of the fabric, but you should leave approximately half an inch of it on each side.

Step 7: Glue the Inner Edges

After that, apply glue to the inside edges, working on one side at a time. You must always glue one face at a time to avoid any problems. This is how you can get clean borders. Before moving on to the next edge, each one will be allowed to dry first. 

If you don’t do this, the fabric will shift while the glue is still wet, and you’ll end up with lumps and folds that don’t line up properly. Because these edges are smaller, you can use something like a credit card or the tip of your brush to access those hard-to-reach edges and corners.


Do you need padding for upholstered picture frames?

It depends on what type of fabric you use for the upholstery. Some people prefer to add padding to increase the resistance of the fabric. Cotton and poly dacron are the most commonly used materials for frame padding.

What fabric is best for upholstered picture frames?

The best fabric for an upholstered picture frame is a non-stretch woven fabric. That means fabrics like jersey knit won’t cut it, but cotton will. 

Bottom Line

When you have a little time on your hands, you can add some pzazz to your photo frame. Now that you know how to make upholstered picture frames settling for just one fabric design or print will be the most complicated thing. Head to our selection of awesome fabrics and get some for your project today!

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