Recycled Magazine Picture Frames


Two more sleeps …. Earth Day 2015 is on April 22. Let’s do something special. I have been talking about creating recycled magazine picture frames but never given you the instructions on how to make them. Well, here you are: Today I created a tutorial with all the ins and outs of how to make fabulously colorful pictures frames out of trash magazines.  Just in time … ahum … for Mothersday gifts and Fathers day…. today….


More ideas on what to do this Earth day:

50+ Cool Green Crafts for Earth Day


Recycled Magazine Picture Frames Instructions

DIY Recycled Magazine Picture Frames by FineCraftGuild.comMaking picture frames from rolled recycled magazines is a lot of fun. But it’s labor intensive. Well, somewhat. It is best done over a couple of days so that the straws can dry properly and you get your creative juices going….. But other than that, it’s extremely simple.

My step-by-step tutorial

Step 1: Cutting Your Recycled Magazines into Strips

DIY Recycled Magazine Picture Frames by

Cut your recycled magazines into separate pages and cut some of their pages into approximately 1.5-inch-wide strips. Pick pages with full-page ads as they are often most vibrantly colored. You’ll want to end up with about 180 rolled sections around your frame. Depending on the size of your magazine and the size of your base frame, that may be something like 40-50 strips.

You can work on a color scheme, but often a bit random bright colors work best.


Step 2: Rolling Your Strips

To roll your recycled magazine strips: take strip corner and roll it diagonally as tight as you can to create straws or very thin tubes. If you roll it at a diagonal, you can more easily twist it, like so: Take one corner of each strip and roll as tightly as you can, at a diagonal, to create straw-like sticks.  When done,  tighten it by twisting it in your hand. If you don’t roll it at a diagonal, it’s harder to twist and your paper straws won’t be as flexible, making them harder to work with.


Hold the straws after you’ve rolled it and dab a bit of household, decoupage or white glue with a brush on the end to secure the outer corner of your paper roll. Smoothen it all out as you don’t want to have too much glue there so that your straws remain somewhat flexible.


Tip: if you are doing this with kids: don’t bother with this. But, if you’re a perfectionist, you may wish to roll the tubes to be ever so slightly wider at one end than on the other end.  Or, you can do this for some of them but not all of them.


Step 3: Cutting your Recycled Magazines Rolls into Sections

When all your straws are rolled and glued, it’s time to start to cut them to size. Decide how long you want the straws to be in the middles of the sides and the top/bottom of your frame.  Cut your straws into sections to have 30 of each length required.  Keep the rest uncut! Tip: keep your glue handy to give each cut roll a tiny dab on the cut size so that it will retain its shape.


Step 4: Gluing your Paper Strips onto the frame base

For the base of your picture frame, you can either use an inexpensive Ikea craft frame or you could use some thick cardboard, from say an Amazon delivery envelop, or a thick clean food box.  Some cereal boxes might be a bit too thin, whereas a recycled shoebox lid is best. Lots of options.


If you are using cardboard, you will need to cut a window section in your base frame with a Stanley knife. Stick to conventional photo standards and make your window approximately 1/4 inch smaller than the photo you will want to place in it.  Or, if you prefer to insert a mat, allow for 1-2 inch mat around your picture and again make your window approximately 1/4 inch smaller than the mat.

Tip: use a pencil to trace your photo onto the back of the shoe box lid and then use that as a guide to mark your 1/4 inch edging and then use that line for cutting.


Now you are ready for your recycled magazine paper gluing! Are you ready…??!!


First, line your shoebox lid frame base with an unrolled recycled magazine page. This will help in 2 ways: it will make the frame look and feel more ‘filled out’. It will hide any booboos, it will allow you to wrap that paper around the edges of the base making these decoupage as well. And last but not least, it will help you with keeping the magazine paper rolls better in place.

Let the base dry for a few minutes.


Then, start gluing on the papers. Put one in the top center, and the bottom center, one on the left center and the right center. When done, check: does it look even?????!!! Fix it before the glue sets.


Tip: don’t press too hard onto the straw sections as you glue them on because you want them to retain their round shape.

Then, continue to add rolls on either side of those four centers. You’ll realize as you slightly fan out towards the corner that you’ll need slightly longer rolls in the four corners of your frame. Now it’s time to take those uncut straws and glue them on. Cut each straw to length and glue on the remainder of the straw. Cut that one to length as well, etc.


Step 5: Finish your Recycled Magazine Picture Frame

Once all your straws are glued on, cover them lightly with a layer of glue to keep them better in position. Let that layer dry. To add shine to your picture frame, and durability, cover your entire frame also with a gloss, semi-gloss or high gloss painting medium. 

Maybe because I used to paint with acrylics and use this all the time, but I STRONGLY prefer this stuff: fool proof and always professional results: Liquitex pro – high gloss varnish.


Put your picture in your frame, once your glued and glossed frame is completely dry.  If you have used a recycled shoebox lid instead of an existing frame base, you will now need to create a picture backing and glue the edges of that to the front of the frame. Glue 3 sides only otherwise your photo can not be inserted!  Add an adhesive tag onto the back of your picture frame.

Now, it’s ready for hanging.


DIY Recycled Magazine Picture Frames by


ROUND Recycled Magazines Picture Frames

Don’t stick to square or rectangular frames only. If you are going to make a couple of frames, I’d suggest you try your hand on making a round recycled

DIY Recycled Magazine Picture Frames by

magazine picture frame as well. Why not?!

Practical Tips

  • If you don’t have any magazine for recycling yourself, don’t hesitate to use  advertisement papers or ask your neighbors or friends for their recycled magazines. And then, invite them to join you.
  • This craft project is best done with a group of friends as it is rather more time consuming than you think and it’s great to be creative together.

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