Shaped Frame Family Photo

This shaped frame family photo is a beautiful way to make an impact for not a lot of cash. Monica and Jess, one of my monthly contributors is back with an awesome way to frame a picture.   I know many of you ask me all the time how to get large pieces of art on the cheap.   Well here is your answer!   You can frame a large photo for less than $20 making a huge statement on a wall with this tutorial from the East Coast Creative.
Hey, It’s Monica and Jess, from East Coast Creative! Today we’re sharing an awesome, low cost way to frame a humongous photograph that will be a traffic-stopping scene-stealer! Not only that, this project is super easy and takes very little time. We were actually very surprised at how quickly it came together. You know when you have a creative idea, and you think it should be easy, but it almost never is? Welp, you won’t have that problem here!


1 Piece 4’ x 8” Underlayment/Luan

24” x 36” Engineer Print

Spray paint

Spray adhesive

Mod Podge

Mini-projector (or a regular one will work too!)

Picture hanging hardware



Luan, otherwise known as underlayment, is a type of plywood usually used in flooring. Not today, folks! It’s ultra-light, maybe 5 pounds for the whole sheet, and so it was the perfect medium for making a frame. I chose it because I was planning on hanging it high on a wall in my entryway that has vaulted ceilings. I wanted something that would be light enough to stay put on my wall so that it didn’t accidentally knock off when a guest entered my house. Also, since it is so thin it was really easy to cut using a jigsaw (more on that later), and cost only $10 for the whole sheet.
Have you heard about the engineer prints from Staples? Oh.My.Goodness. They have completely changed our life for the better. Just wait, you’ll feel the same way. Take your favorite picture into Staples and ask for an oversized print (they come in multiple sizes, but the largest is 3’ by 4’. They’ll make a copy right there for you, and the best part… costs less than $5 for a print! You’re only able to get the picture in black and white, but who cares?! It’s 5 bucks! The   tricky thing is that the picture is printed on very thin paper, so you have to be careful not to bend or mark it.
Engineer Print
Here’s where having a crafty best friend comes in: Monica has an adorable mini-projector that was perfect for this project. She brought it over and set it all up using the image of the shape I pulled off of Google images.
If you can’t get your hands on a projector, I’m pretty sure you can make your own using this fun little tip . Monica downloaded the image of the shape onto the projector (it will accept anything in jpeg form).
Then we turned out the lights, and voila!


The perfect shape to trace!


Then, we took that bad boy out to the garage and started cutting out the shape using our trusty jigsaw. I would say we use this thing more than is normal for a pair of moms, but what can we say? We love this tool!
Make sure you take a cheesy picture of yourself holding the frame for posterity.


See what I mean about how thin the luan is? I would say it’s about 1/2” thick.


The next step is to sand all the rough edges so it’s smooth. We recommend using a sanding pad vs. an electric sander because of how fragile the underlayment is.


Because my framed picture is going to hang high on a wall, I wanted our faces to be large so you could see them, so I printed my picture 3’ by 4’, and then cut off the extra space using an Xacto knife. You could avoid this step by cropping your picture close before printing. Make sure you’re using a high-quality photo so that it prints clear. Our photo was taken by the fabulous Salvatori Photography, so I knew it would turn out great.


We used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch spray paint in Satin Lagoon. It’s such a pretty shade of blue- almost like a peacock blue.
It took a few coats, but the underlayment takes the paint really well.
Before adhering the picture, Monica added the hardware to hang the frame. We didn’t want the picture to get messed up, so we made sure to do this first. You should definitely use actual picture hanging hardware, but this is what we had on hand and it worked well. We screwed them in about a 1/4 of the way down from the top of the frame and then threaded picture-hanging wire through.
After determining the placement of the photo on the frame, we marked the corners in case we had any slippage during this next step. Since the picture is so big, we decided to place one hand squarely in the middle of it, and fold one half back towards the middle, spray the spray adhesive all over wood on that half and then smooth outward from the middle. You can use a rolling pin to help get all of the air bubbles out, but we didn’t find it necessary. Having a friend help you with this is very helpful, though!
Finally, we brushed matte Mod Podge all over the picture to seal it and keep it from fading over time. It just makes it look more finished, too.
Then it was time to hang our beauty up!
I told you it was high! I’m not sure how Monica got this job because she’s afraid of heights, but hey! She did it like a good best friend. 🙂
I am so in love with it, and can’t get over the beautiful pop of color it brings to my entryway.


The total cost for this project was exactly $20, and the impact it makes is HUGE! We’d love for you come on over to our little piece of blogland to see how Monica used a giant photo in a totally different, but equally awesome way in her home!

Check out my bright and fun gallery wall with found objects and arrows.
gallery wall with found objects and homemade arrows
Easy Barn Wood Frames 
Indiana Love Pallet Sign