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Embossed Metal Photo Frame

Elaine Woodhouse shares her process for crafting this embossed metal photo frame.

Project by Elaine Woodhouse.

Materials and Tools:

silver acrylic spray paint
rubber stamps: heart & leaf
wooden frame
13 mil. self-adhesive aluminum foil sheets
solvent cleaner like Goof Off
pigment ink stamp pad
scissors or paper cutter
decorative scissors
sewing tracing wheel
various paper crimpers
rubber embossing mat
wooden embossing stylus

Figure A


1. Thoroughly clean your picture frame. Aluminum will stick to the frame surface better if first cleaned with a solvent cleaner.

2. Spray sides and inner edges of frame with silver acrylic spray paint.

3. Measure length and width of sides of frame.

4. Cut four corner pieces of aluminum of equal size (to be decorated with embossed leaves). To cut use either scissors or a paper cutter.

5. Cut strips of aluminum to cover spaces between corner pieces.

Figure B

6. To emboss leaves: Using pigment ink, stamp leaf image on shiny side of metal corner pieces so tip of each leaf is pointing towards the center of frame. Place slightly off center to accommodate adding a second leaf later.

Figure C

7. Place aluminum shiny side up on rubber embossing mat. Trace stamped image with wooden embossing stylus; then wipe off inked image with a damp cloth. Repeat on all four corner pieces

Figure D

8. Remove protective blue backing from aluminum, revealing self-adhesive back, and place on each corner of frame.

9. Measure sides of frame and cut four pieces of approximately equal size.

10. Stamp two of the pieces with the heart stamp image and trace with embossing stylus as above.

11. To stretch metal: Turn metal over so shiny side is facing down on the rubber embossing mat. Rub or "color" in the image with the stylus. Rotate the metal on the mat and "color" in different directions to help give a smoother finish.

Figure E

12. Turn metal over and place shiny side up on a hard table surface. Trace around outside of image. Repeat until you have stretched the metal to your satisfaction.

13. Remove protective blue backing from both heart metal pieces and place adjacent to each other on each side of frame.

14. The remaining areas on frame are to be covered with metal that has been put through a paper crimper. To do this, cut metal slightly larger than the area you are filling. Crimp as you would paper, with a crimper of your choice. The crimping method will alter the size of the metal, so trim to fit the areas you are covering after crimping.

Figure F

15. Remove protective blue backing from crimped metal pieces and place in remaining areas.

Figure G

16. To emboss individual leaves: Stamp leaf image four times, emboss as described earlier, and cut out with decorative scissors.

17. Remove blue protective backing and place a leaf beside each leaf design on each of the four corner panels.

Figure H

18. Finally, to add decorative texture and assist in adhering metal to frame, run sewing tracing wheel around all four sides of each metal panel.


  • When purchasing a frame for this project, choose one with plain flat surfaces. Curved or decorative edges are difficult to cover.

  • Thrift stores, flea markets, etc., are a good source for used frames. Since you will be covering the entire top surface, condition is not too important.

  • When "coloring" the metal on the blue side, don't be afraid to press hard. The blue backing may come off, but that will not affect the finished product.

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