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Inspired by the 30+ portraits hanging in i’m yours: Encounters with Art in Our Times, this activity invites you to create your own handmade picture frame with recycled materials. Make a personalized frame for one of your favorite photographs or even your own drawing.

This activity is designed for children ages 5 and up and their grownups to work on together at home. Please note that this project involves using scissors to cut cardboard.


Icon of paper

Artwork that you would like to frame, like a photograph or drawing

Icon of rectangle

(Read instructions to determine how much cardboard you’ll need)

Icon of pencil


Icon of rule



Icon of scissors


Icon of glue stick and tape

Glue or tape

Icon of crayon and paintbrush

Drawing materials:
crayons, markers, paint, etc.




Icons of a green frame and a green sheet with dotted lines overlapping a white sheet.



Using a pencil and ruler, measure the artwork that you would like to frame. Next, measure and cut a piece of cardboard that is 3” x 3” larger than the artwork: This will be the front of your frame. Cut a second piece the same size as the first: This will be the back. On the front of your frame, measure and cut out an opening for the artwork that is slightly smaller than the size of your artwork


Icon of two green triangles that almost meet to form a rectangle.

Cut a stand for your frame: Using a new piece of cardboard, measure and cut a rectangle that is roughly half the size of your frame. Using a pencil and ruler, draw a line from the upper left corner of the rectangle to the bottom right corner. Next, cut on the line. You only need one of the triangles for your frame.


Text reading

Using drawing materials, decorate the frame. Center your artwork on the back of the frame. Place the front of the frame on top so that your photo appears through the opening. Adjust until artwork is centered, then glue or tape the artwork in place onto the back. Tape will make it easier to change drawings or pictures in the frame. 


Green triangle overlapping a white square.

Use glue or tape to attach the triangular piece of cardboard to the back of the frame. Attach the narrowest part of the triangle to the center of the backing for the frame to stand. Bend the cardboard stand as needed for the best angle for your frame.

This activity was created by Sergio Salicio-Lupiañez, Visitor Assistant.

Share your art with friends and family and on social media with #ICAArtLab or email us at