Thursday, June 2, 2011

Keepsake Family Photo Collage Frame Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you how I took some random wallet size photos and turned them into a keepsake gift for my grandmother.

My Nannie turned 100 last month. I don't know if you know this, but that's a whole lot of birthdays. This means that she is very difficult to impress. You would be too if you had 100 years' worth of birthday gift experience under your belt. It was very serendipitous that I had the opportunity to try a resin product recently after deciding to make a gift for my Nannie for the family party in NC this weekend.


  • EnviroTex Lite (pour-on resin)
  • Elmer's Glue All or Mod Podge 
  • Paper Plate and Foam Brush
  • Flat Wood Picture Frame from from Hobby Lobby's craft department ($2.39 with my coupon)
  • Black Spray Paint and Sandpaper (not pictured)
  • Wallet Sized Photos (not pictured)

My first step was to sand my plain wood frame down, dust it off, and spray paint it black. I used extra cheap spray paint from Wal-Mart because that's what I had on hand, and one coat was perfect. Surprise! When the paint was dry, I lightly sanded the edges of the frame to bring some of the details out.

The most difficult part of the project was choosing the photos I wanted to use. I decided to use a photo of each grandchild (me, my sister, and my brother), our spouses, and the four great-grandchildren.

The Kodak kiosk at Target has an awesome feature that lets you add multiple photos to one 4 x 6 sheet to create wallet sized photos. I made each picture black and white, and printed 3 sheets for around $0.75.

When my pictures were all trimmed out, I laid them out on the top of the frame to see what would look best.

The photos on the side needed a tiny bit of extra trimming to make the spacing even. Once that was finished, I poured some Elmers Glue-All (Interior) onto a paper plate and used a foam brush to apply glue to the back of each photo and lay them down, smoothing them flat. When that was dry, another layer of glue went on top.

The result was a matte look:

That would be fine for many projects, but I wanted something that looked really finished. That's where the EnviroTex Lite comes in. In all honesty, many of the projects I saw on the company website link I found looked really outdated, and I was scared to use a product that called for gloves. I even made T help me!

But my fears were completely unfounded. The product was very easy to use, and it didn't have that heavy, yellowy sheen to the finished product that I've seen in a many resin pieces.

I used push pins on the back of the frame to keep it from sticking to the wax paper lined box T found for me to use. We followed the instructions, and I had T mix the compounds together in one cup before adding them to a second cup and pouring immediately over the frame after mixing.

T is much better with precision, so he was in charge of mixing and pouring:

The resin went on like a very thick, smooth, liquid gel. It was thick enough that it pretty much coated the frame itself as T poured it on.

I used the brush included with the product to brush the resin onto the sides of the frame, and we lightly blew out the tiny bubbles the rose to the surface. Then I closed the top of the box and let it sit in the Addition for a full 24 hours while the resin hardened.

And I fell in love with the results!

The finish is so much easier to see in person, but it's like looking at my photos under a sheet of crystal clear glass. It's the neatest thing!

I finished the piece off by quickly creating something in MS Publisher to fit in the frame:

Final Product?

I hope my Nannie likes this as much as I do!

ETI sent me this product to try out. You won’t believe all that you can do with this product. Envirotex Lite was created by Environmental Technologies Inc. (ETI), which is the home for many resin and mold making products.

The use of resin in jewelry making, mixed media and paper arts continues to grow in popularity. Today, artists are using ETI’s products in many crafty ways and they will be showcasing these works of art on their new blog "Resin Crafts".

Check them out on:
Resin Crafts Blog
ETI on Facebook
ETI on Twitter

Linked to Home Stories A to ZPositively Splendid Homemade Gift Exchange

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  1. This turned out fabulous. I love the pictures you used and how awesome that they fit so perfectly (okay, with a bit of trimming, but still, lol). I just love this and how the resin finishes it off to look so professional. Fabulous!

  2. What a beautiful gift. I'm sure your Nannie will love it! I didn't know that Target would let you do that with the wallet sized photos... I always want to get them, but you have to get like 30 of them! Now, I know your little trick. Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing...I'm gonna hafta give that one a whirl =)

    So wonderful to hear about your Nannie's 100th birthday....what a blessing! xo

  4. What a beautiful gift, and thanks so much for sharing the tutorial. Your Nannie will love it for sure!

  5. WOW~ love it! Great idea, probably too lazy to try! Some day, thanks for sharing

  6. this turned out beautiful. I love the look of all the black and white pictures.
    Happy Birthday to your Nannie! I hope you have a great celebration with her.

  7. Wow...the pictures of the resin look a little scary but I'll take your word for it. I love the finished product! Great idea...I'm going to give it a try!

  8. That looks SO neat!!! Never would've thought to use the resin! Probably would've just Mod Podged them on and called it good... But the resin really does add a professionally finished look!

  9. Oh wow! What a beautiful gift Amanda, I LOVE the finished look & its so classic looking too. :-) Your Nannie will love it for sure. :-)

  10. Nannies always love photos of the family! It looks great , Amanda!

  11. Oh my gosh - what a thoughtful and beautiful gift Amanda! I am sure she will LOVE the pictures. I love that!!!


  12. Love, love, love this! Thanks for posting such a great tutorial. I'll certainly be making these in the months to come for birthday/Christmas gifts and I'll link back to you and send you a note when I do. Awesome project :)

  13. Of all of the great projects that you've shared over the years, this has to be my all-time favorite! Your nannie is going to love this!!

    Thanks for telling us about ETI, too. Weren't you lucky to get to test their product for free?

  14. I love this project! I love the photos you chose and the quote inside. You are so darn creative. I've never used resin before.

  15. Gorgeous Amanda! That's such a wonderful idea! :D

  16. Love it! What a wonderful gift, full of love. Thanks for sharing such a great tutorial!

  17. I love all the black and white pictures Amanda! Your grandma is going to love it! That resin stuff sounds kind of scary to use, but it sure does look great!

  18. Amanda that turned out awesome. What a sentimental and sweet gift. I love that.

  19. Amanda -- this is amazing!!! :) I love it!! This product rocks!!

  20. Hey girl - I'm crawling out of my post surgery hole and visiting a few of my favorite blogs today.

    Love this project. I'm going to mark this link to use for future gifts!

    Hope all is well with you!

  21. This turned out gorgeous, Amanda! WOW! What an awesome idea. And it looks so professional. She's gonna flip! You did an absolutely amazing job. And I definitely like the idea of adding a second pair of hands. I'll remember that technique. :) Great job!

  22. Amanda, your photo frame came out soo cool! Thanks for sharing.


  23. That is beautiful! What a great idea. I know your nannie will love it.

  24. This turned out so great! I'm getting all kinds of amazing ideas to try with my leftover Envirotex!

  25. What a sweet sentiment! This is precious. I love the pictures and how you made it personal.

  26. Love it love it love it. I know what I'm making for Christmas gifts now.


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