DIY Fabric Photo Frame: From Drab to Fab In About An Hour

Every day in my upstairs living room, I pass a small box that holds fabric scraps from a chair I recently had reupholstered.  Initially I held on to them because I planned to one day make a pillow cover or even cut a huge piece, throw it in a frame and use it as wall art.  There are surely so many things I can do with extra pieces of fabric, but the Etsy girl in me had yet to take the time, sit down and do it, until a few days ago.

I was upstairs a little frustrated with how slow business is right now and I decided that I needed a distraction.  Not a distraction like reading, but something that would actively engage my mind and my hands.  I went downstairs, grabbed the 18″ x 24″ wooden frame that had been sitting with no photo in it for a while because it just didn’t fit the decor in my house, and I brought it upstairs.  Additionally, I got the fabric scraps, a pair of sharp fabric shears, and an old school, heavy duty, metal stapler that I used when I was a teacher.

I knew exactly what I was going to do, but since I had never done it before I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  We all know the internet is a place to find a wealth of information and I’m sure there are fabric frame tutorials everywhere online, but for the sake of doing things without directions and living life on the edge, I decided to just freestyle it. *singing* “No, you’re never gonna survive unless you get a little crazy”

In case you are looking for a way to make an otherwise drab wooden frame fabulous and decorative, here’s a step-by-step guide.  It should take you about an hour or less.



Four strips of upholstery or drapery fabric (For this frame I used two 20″ x 6″ pieces and two 30″ x 6″ pieces.  One yard of fabric should be plenty.)

A heavy duty stapler or staple gun


Fabric Shears

18″ x 24″ wooden frame

Step 1:  Make sure glass and all frame backing has been put aside.  You just want the wood of the frame since you’ll be covering it.

Step 2: Take the fabric and place one strip under the side you will cover first, making sure the back side of the frame is facing up.  I started with a short side.

Step 3: Leave about an inch of fabric to be folded within the wood where the glass and backing goes, but do not staple yet.

Step 4: Fold the fabric over the back side and align it with the edge.  You may need to fold about 1/4″ or 1/2″ of fabric or cut it if it’s more than a 1/2″ excess.

Step 5: Staple as you fold along the inside edges of the frame, making sure it’s a neat even line across.


Step 6:  On the corners, cut the excess fabric at an angle.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t look great, but you will be using the fabric for the longer sides to cover the corners.

Up Close

Step 7:  From the back, wrap the fabric so it covers the front and the edge sits right below the metal tabs used to keep the photo and glass in place.

Step 8:  Cut a small slit at each corner so the fabric easily wraps in the corner.

Step 9:  Staple all along the edge to keep it in place.  Be sure to make sure the metal tabs are visible.

Repeat Steps 5-9 for the opposite side of the frame which is the same length.

Then repeat Steps 5 and 7-9 skipping Step 6 for the longer side. If there is hardware on the frame for hanging, cut a hole in the fabric so it is not covered.  If necessary use staples to make fabric around hardware stay in place.


At the corners of the longer sides, you should have about 2.5 to 3 inches of excess fabric.

Step 10:  Fold the fabric neatly, covering the corners and overlapping the short sides.  Make it as flat and as neat as possible in the front and back of the frame.  You may need to fold edges.  Staple it down in the back.



Do this for all four corners.  If you have too much fabric, cut a little bit at a time.  You don’t want to cut too much and not be able to cover those corners.

Step 11:  Put the glass and a photo in the frame, as well as the backing and hang it on the wall.


New Fabric Frame

You now have a unique, stylish fabric frame.  Why not make a photo wall with different sizes and various prints of fabric frames?

With the many prints available at your local fabric store, the possibilities are endless!