I was hunting for box frames to buy as part of a Christmas pressie, but really struggled to find any suitable. They seemed to either come as part of a craft kit, or be really expensive. Most of the ones I did find were too shallow for my purposes anyway.
So, I had a play around and managed to make a couple to suit. It worked out really well, so here’s a little ‘how to’ tutorial.
For each box frame you’ll need two Ribba frames from Ikea, or similar deep sided picture frames.
Bear with me here, this might take some explaining, but it’s really super simple;
Take one of your Ribba frames. Bend back the metal tags that hold everything in place, use an awl or a screwdriver if you don’t want to ruin your nails. Take out the backing board (thick card with the propping up flappy bit and hanger on the back), the inserts and mount – everything other than the glass. Now, squish the metal tags back down. Try to bend them down against the glass to stop it rattling about. This is the front section of your box frame.
Grab the other frame and bend up the tags. Remove everything this time, but keep the backing board. Flip it over and reinsert it into the frame, so the hanger on the backing board is facing front. If you’re certain you want to hang your box frame, go ahead and cut off the flappy stand. If you’re certain you want your box frame to stand, leave the flappy stand alone. If you’d like to keep your options open, cut down the angled ends of the flappy stand so it can fold neatly against the frame. I used a scalpel and metal ruler to get a neat edge and took off about 2cm. This is the back section of your box frame.
Right, that was a lot of explaining for something that’s actually really simple. Summary, take everything but glass from one frame, take everything but backing board from other frame and flip it over. I stuck a base coat of acrylic paint on the inside of the backing boards at the point, but it’s probably better to wait.
Right, so we have our two sections. Next step is attaching them. You’ll need two small hinges, an awl (or any pointy thing) some small screws and a driver. A pencil and ruler might be handy too.
Grab your hinges and frames and figure out where you’d like to position the hinges. Make sure you’ve got your frames arranged properly, see the picture above for help. The glass should be at the front, with the depth of the front frame behind, then the depth of the back frame with the backing board facing out at the very back.
Where you put your hinges is up to you. You could have more hinges, or maybe one really big one. Eyeball it and set it up before screwing anything down.
Once you know where they should sit, butt everything up tight and use the hinge as a guide to mark out where your screws need to go.
Use an awl (or nail) to poke starter holes where you’ve marked. We’re only using tiny screws in a soft wood, so we don’t need to pre drill the holes. Stick the hinge back in place and half screw in all the screws.
Now, if you tighten all the screws, the front frame won’t sit right. It’ll want to lie flat next to the back fame instead of sinking back into it. Try it, you’ll see what I mean. To fix this, don’t tighten the screws on the back frame side all the way down. Leave them a couple of mm proud. This leaves a bit of movement in the hinge so the weight of the front frame can settle back nicely.
That’s pretty much it. You could add a catch if you like, but it’s not really necessary.
I want a smooth, white background for my box frame so I painted the backing board with white acrylic paint. You could use another card insert, or craft paper, for a more interesting background.
To smooth out the interior corners I used a plaster based wall filler. I mixed it fairly think then splodged it into the sides. With a plastic spoon and some water, I gradually smoothed it down and worked it into the cracks. Once dry, I painted it over with more acrylic to seal and colour it.
Super simple, super cheap, fairly chic box frames! I’m really pleased with how these have turned out.
Now just to fill them. Here’s a sneak peak of what I have planned;