How to Make a Fabric Picture Frame

Frame a favorite photo in a whimsical fabric art frame with these simple steps.


Materials and Tools:

sewing machine
black thread
14-by-14-inch muslin
16-by-16-inch felt
18-by-18-inch backing fabric
assortment of 5 color fabrics
clear vinyl
embroidery thread
hand-sewing needle
Nymo beading threads, size D
straight pins
knitting needle


1. Cut the assortment of five color fabrics into random shapes and arrange them on the 14-by-14 muslin base, slightly overlapping them. Pin the random shapes in place.

2. Set the sewing machine for free-motion embroidery by lowering the feed dog and using a free-motion foot. Free-motion stitch the muslin following the outline of each shape. Start stitching around the shapes in the center and work to the outside.

3. Free-motion stitch flowers, twirls and swirls over the entire surface.

4. Cut a piece of fabric ¼-inch larger than the picture you intend to put in the frame. Machine-stitch it to the center of the square. This will serve as a guide and placement for your picture.

5. About an inch from the fabric placement, stitch the outline of a square around the fabric placed in the center for the photo. Stitch another square outline about an inch away from the previous outline.

6. Cut two pieces of vinyl about 1½ inches square. Then cut the pieces diagonally, making four triangles.

7. Hand-stitch one triangle to each corner of the center fabric placement for photo corners, using embroidery thread.

8. Using beading thread and seed beads, hand-bead around the center square.

9. Place the 18-by-18-inch piece of backing fabric on the work surface wrong side up. Center the 16-by-16-inch piece of felt on top of the backing fabric.

10. Place the stitched front piece right side up on top, and pin all layers together.

11. Following the square outlines around the center, stitch over the previous stitching lines, and sew through all layers of fabric. Stitch over both lines of stitching, leaving a 1-inch opening on diagonal corners for stuffing.

12. Stuff the frame by inserting Poly-Fil between the front piece and the felt, using a knitting needle to push the stuffing through the openings at the corners. Hand-stitch both openings closed.

13. Cut the front piece and the felt in a wonky shape. Cut the backing fabric in the same shape about an inch larger all the way around.

14. Fold the backing fabric once and roll it over the front piece. Machine-stitch the edge to the front, creating the border of the frame.

15. Bead around the border with beads of three different colors.

16. Hand-sew a short strip of fabric on the back of the frame to form a hanging loop.

17. Insert the photo into the four acrylic photo corners on the front of the frame.

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