DIY 1st birthday photo frame

Recently the daughter of one of my best friends celebrated a big milestone – her first birthday!

My DIY gift to her was this: a pretty boxed frame showing month-by-month how she’s grown. Don’t you think it’s amazing to see, during those precious early months of life, how much children change and grow from scrunched-up newborns into little people with personalities and and whole catalogue of facial expressions?

With digital photography most of us print off and display images less, and it can be easy to forget to look back on those special moments as life flies by.  This frame now sits proudly above her cot and I hope it’ll become a memento she and her parents will continue to treasure.

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

What I used:

♥ white box frame (mine was the Innova 40cm x 40cm box frame from Hobbycraft but they don’t seem to stock it any more, so you could try this one instead)

hi-tack glue (you just need a strong glue that dries clear)

♥ sellotape pads

♥ Cricut mini cutting machine to cut out the letters of the name – or just use a craft knife

♥ coloured card

♥ printer and photo paper

♥ various trimmings – I used this washi tape (you might remember it from this scrapbook project) and buttons, brads and ric rac all from Hobbycraft

1. I arranged the photos in a Publisher document (you could do similar in Word) on my laptop, with each image in a Polaroid-style frame and the text underneath. Then I printed off the photos and cut them out.

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

2. I used my Cricut mini cutting machine (again!) for the letters spelling out Olivia (I used the ‘folk art festival’ font). I am sure you could get a similar effect just using a craft knife but you may have to opt for something a little less intricate.

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

3. Play around with the design by laying everything out until you’re happy with how it looks. I used the paper that came with the frame, just turning it over to the blank side.

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

4. When you’re happy, start sticking! I began by adding the washi tape border, then the letters, then the photos and ric rac ribbon and finally the brads in the corners and buttons above each photo. I used sellotape pads behind the photos so they would stand off the page slightly. For everything else I used glue. I had some problem areas that wouldn’t  stick, so I used the stronger E6000 glue.

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

5. Put the paper back in the frame and you’re done!

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

DIY first birthday gift: month-by-month photo frame | www.angelinthenorth.com

It has to be said that this project is aided greatly by how beautiful Olivia is (just like her mum), but I was really pleased by how well it turned out.

Giving a DIY gift is pretty scary – part of you is worried they will think it’s naff or you’re a cheapskate – but it’s a great feeling when it’s well received!

What do you think? Do you fancy having a go at making something like this yourself?

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