When I first got started into blogging, I was originally inspired by Heather at Road to the Aisle, and now Heather Drive. At the time, Heather was planning her wedding to her husband and was doing a majority of the work herself.
One of the blog posts that she put up was how to make a card box from picture frames. I immediately subscribed to her blog via Google Reader, and added the link to this post in my digital wedding planner (Um...this post was made in September of 2007. That's almost 5 years ago...and yes, I really did start planning our wedding that long ago). So now that it is finally time to plan my wedding because we actually have a date, unlike 5 years ago, I knew that I still wanted to be able to do this project, especially because it allows us to show off more of our engagement pictures!
I know that Heather includes a tutorial for this project on her blog, but I wanted to include one here as well since some of the steps are a little different.
So here we go!
Step 1: Gather your Directions
Since I was following Heather's directions, I loaded up the page on my iPad and set it on the counter for me to reference. You can do the same with this post :)
Step 2: Select your Pictures
Make sure that your pictures are all positioned in the same direction, i.e.: portrait vs. landscape
Step 3: Buy your Picture Frames
The frames do not need to have mattes unless you want them, but they do need to be wood, otherwise the hardware will not attach easily.
Step 4: Buy your Hardware
I went to Home Depot to get my hardware.
When selecting the "L" Brackets, make sure that they are not too deep for the width of your frame border. You want them to sit well on the edge of the back of your frames.
Step 5: Remove the Stands
If your picture frames have stands on the back, they should be removed. If you wish to not remove them, you can attempt to tape them to the back of the frames so they don't open, but I can't guarantee that affixing your hardware and putting your box together will work well with them still attached.
To remove the stands on my frames, I gently pried off the ribbon that keeps the stand at it's maximum distance from the top of the metal clip.
Step 6: Frame your Pictures
Matte and frame your pictures, being sure to clean the inside of the glass. You don't need to worry about the outside of the glass until the box is put together, since more fingerprints will end up on the glass during the process of putting it together.
As you will notice below, my pictures are all landscape, so my card box will be Landscape-Style.
On the back of your frames, make note of what part is the top and bottom of the picture, that way when you put the box together, all of your pictures are going in the correct directions.
Step 7: Measure & Attach "L" Brackets
Measure where you would like your brackets to be placed on your frames. I used two brackets per side, and placed them 1.5" away from the ends of each frame. In the picture below, you can see two of the brackets, with a small pencil mark where I measured the placement. The directions from Heather state that you should use a drill to make the holes, and then screw your screws into those holes. I didn't find the need to use a drill, and was actually able to just screw the screws in with a hand-held screwdriver.
After I attached one side of the bracket to the frame, I then attached the other to another one of the frames. You may need a helper to hold the second frame for you while you attach the screws.
Once you have the two frames together, do the same to the other two frames. Once you have two sets of two frames bracketed to each other, attach them to the other two frames, making all four sides of your box. You may need a second set of hands to hold the frames when you are screwing the brackets into place.
Step 8: Create the Top and Bottom of your Card Box
In her tutorial, Heather uses foam board for the top and bottom of her card box. I did not have an foam board, but I had tons of cardboard, so I used that.
Find some sort of cardboard, foam board, or even wood if you want.
Cut off the bigger sides of your cardboard box, if you are using one. If not, skip to the next part of this step.
Put the card box over the piece of cardboard/foam board/wood with the top of the box on the bottom, and trace the inside of the top of your box onto the cardboard/foam board/wood.
After you have traced the top of your box, write "TOP" in the middle so you can decipher between this piece and the piece for the bottom. You may also want to label where each picture is, so you can ensure that you have a perfect fit, you know, just in case your card box isn't perfectly square....like mine ;)
Remember to do this same step for the bottom of your box, too.
Step 9: Create your Card Slot
Find an envelope that you would consider standard size for cards. Depending on the direction that your frames will be, portrait or landscape, you will want to measure the sides of the envelope. My recommendation is to use the short side for Portrait-Style Card Boxes, and the long side for Landscape-Style Card Boxes.
Measure out and mark the center of the Top of your card box. From that point, measure out the length needed for your card slot, and mark the ends of that. Make those measurements into a rectangle that you can cut out. I would not recommend your opening to be wider than 1/2" - you don't want anyone's fingers getting into your card box!
Next, cut out the slot that you drew for your card slot. It is helpful to have a box cutter to do this, as it is hard to get scissors into the middle of the piece of cardboard/foam board, and definitely hard to get scissors to cut wood...just sayin'.
Step 10: Decorate the Top of your Card Box
The next step is to decorate the top of your card box. First, you must decide how you want it decorated. You could use fabric, scrapbook paper, paint, or anything else you can think of. I decided to use fabric for mine, and I had a tough choice of which fabric square to go with.
Because I am using fabric, I wanted to add a layer of quilt batting to make it look a little softer and to hide some of the flaws in the top of the cardboard. This will also help in making the top not see through, so you can use a lighter color fabric if you wanted, and not risk the print on the cardboard showing through.
Lay out your quilt batting and put your card box top on top. Cut around the box top.
Trace the inside of your card slot using a marker, as pencil and pen will likely pull the batting apart when dragged along it.
Once you have the card slot traced onto the quilt batting, use a pair of scissors to cut out the opening.
With your chosen fabric face down on your work surface, place the batting on top, followed by your cardboard top. Cut around the fabric so that you have enough to wrap around both the batting and the top. Always leave a little extra than you think you may need. You'll see in the next few pictures that I cut mine too close around and almost ended up needing to start over.
Using your glue-gun or staples, depending on the material of the top that you chose, start attaching the fabric to the top of the card box, starting with the card slot, and then the sides parallel to the longest sides of the card slot. This will help you make sure that you don't stretch the fabric in the wrong direction while glueing/stapling. I ended up using a glue gun, running glue around the borders of the cardboard box, then using a paperclip to fold the fabric down onto the glue, that way I wouldn't burn my fingers. You can kind of see the paperclips on the right side of this picture:
Once you are done glueing, the back of your box top should look like this:
The front of your card box top should look like this:
And if you've done it right, your fingers should NOT look like this:
Step 11: Attach your Bottom
The next step is to attach your hardware to hold the bottom of your card box in place. Measure where you would like your brackets to be placed on your frames. I used one bracket per side for both the top and bottom, and placed them in the middle of each side of the frame. In order to allow for enough room for your card box to spin, the bottom should be inside of the card box. To do this, attach your brackets in the other direction, so that the bracket part faces into the interior of the card box. In the picture below, you can see the bracket screwed into the middle of the frame edge, facing the inside of the card box.
Once you have attached all four brackets, one in the middle of each frame edge, take your bottom piece, and slip it in to the card box. The picture below shows what the bottom of the card box should look like:
And this picture shows what the bottom of the card box should look like if you were looking into the box:
Since the bottom could easily be removed, it needed reinforcing. I decided just to use packing tape, and from the inside of the box, I just taped the box to the bracket. You can kinda see the packing tape in the pictures below. I should have used something with more color. It's kinda difficult to take a picture of something clear...
Step 12: Attach your Lazy Susan
First, you must get a lazy susan, but let's pretend that you already did that ;)
You can see it better in the picture below, but my lazy susan has a lip around the edge, which means that the box would only be supported by that lip. To reinforce it, I decided to cutout some scraps of cardboard to make the center of the lazy susan higher, so that the card box would rest on a larger surface area.
So, find some extra cardboard - this can be from the same box you used to make your top and bottom, or from another one. I am using two flaps from a cardboard box.
Depending on the size of your lazy susan (mine is 9" in diameter), you may need to cut your cardboard flaps in half.
Next, place one of the halves in the center of your lazy susan, to determine what size is needed. I refused to measure this, because there is no need to be super precise, so I just eyeballed what parts of the square were too big, trimmed them off, and repeated until the square fit in the middle of the lazy susan.
After you have figured out the size of your cardboard, figure out how many pieces you will need to make the height equal to the height of the lip around the lazy susan. My lazy susan needed 3 pieces of standard cardboard.
Cut the number of cardboard pieces needed to the same shape by just tracing around the correctly sized cardboard piece.
To help with stability, tape the pieces of cardboard that you need together on all four sides.
Next, you'll want to attach your cardboard pieces to the lazy susan. I used the rolled-tape trick, but feel free to experiment other options.
Once you have the cardboard attached to the lay susan, test the security by lifting the lazy susan by just the cardboard pieces. If the cardboard pieces come un-stuck from the lazy susan, you must bring in the reinforcements. If not, then you will win the war!
I needed to reinforce mine, because the patterned surface on the lazy susan did not like my packing tape. So, I just added a few more pieces of tape connecting the cardboard to the sides of the lazy susan. If you do decide to do this, make sure that your tape does not interfere with the spinny-ma-jig-thingy underneath the lazy susan.
Next, attach your lazy susan to the bottom of the box. I used the rolled-tape trick again for this part.
Don't try to place the box perfectly on top of the lazy susan, like I started doing. It is soooooooo much easier to flip the card box over and place the lazy susan on top. I promise.
You may also need to provide reinforcements to this part of the process. You can see above that I added some extra tape attaching the side of the lazy susan to the bottom of the box. Again, be careful of the spinny-ma-jig-thingy underneath.
Finally, flip your card box over, and test the spinning!
Step 13: Attach your Top
For this last step, you have a few different options.
You can attach your brackets using screws, or attach them using glue.
And I will tell you straight out, I tried both, and ended up using both.
I first attached my brackets using screws, making sure they went down as far as possible without breaking the frame, that way the top of my card box could sit somewhat inside the frame borders.
Next, I applied glue to the top of the brackets, and placed my card box top on the top of it.
Make sure when you do this that you are putting your box top on in the right direction.
To help the glue stick to the card box top, I needed something with weight to hold it down. Since I didn't want to collapse the middle of the card box top, I decided to use some soup cans to hold down the top in the spots close to the brackets.
Even though it was probably not necessary, I let the soup cans sit overnight, making sure that the glue inside dried. After testing the top by pulling it up slightly and slowly, I knew that it was attached well.
Ready for pictures of the finished product????!!!!!
And here's a little video for you of it spinning!
PS - How awesome is it that it ends perfectly, right on my favorite e-pic?!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my card box tutorial, and please let me know if you use my directions! I'd love to see your outcome.
* All Pictures Personal