When I was in junior high and high school we always printed our pictures, which means I have shoe boxes full of old pics. I love sifting through these old pictures full of bad hair and ill-fitting clothes! Oh, the memories! Of course these days you have to make a great effort to actually print out pictures, versus posting them online and/or saving them digitally. I always tell my 13 year old daughter she should start saving and backing-up her pictures because if Instagram disappeared one day, or she were to delete any of her pictures, she wouldn’t have any of these old pictures to reminisce over one day. She doesn’t appreciate the idea of old pictures just yet. So, that’s where I come in…lucky for her. An Instagram board was exactly what she needed and Christmas was right around the corner.
For this Instagram display board, I spray painted a large frame white, then taped off the corners and spray painted gold. The backboard is thin piece of plywood painted with chalkboard. I used mini clothes pins to hold the pictures in place so that she can swap out old pictures with new ones at any time, which are attached to the backboard using Glue Dots (which are easily removable and will not damage the paint). And finally, I used the Print Studio app (previously known as Printstagram) to print the perfect 4×4 inch pictures on card stock.
This project was easy-breezy and I absolutely love the finished product. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to keep it for myself and give her $20 instead.
For this Instagram display board, I spray painted a large frame white, then taped off the corners and spray painted them gold. The backboard is a thin piece of plywood painted with chalkboard paint. I used mini clothespins to hold the pictures in place so that she can swap out old pictures with new ones at any time, which are attached to the backboard using Glue Dots (which are easily removable and will not damage the paint). And finally, I used the Print Studio app (previously known as Printstagram) to print the perfect 4×4 inch pictures on card stock.
Being the hoarder that I am, I already had an open frame just waiting to be made into something awesome. This particular frame was 24 x 30, which fit 20 Instagram pics. If you don’t have an extra frame lying around I highly recommend looking at a thrift store for a great deal. Remember, you’ll be painting it so pay attention to the shape and style rather than the color. Also, Hobby Lobby has a wide variety of open-back frames and they go on sale often. But you can always use your “40% Off One Item” coupon (Google it if you aren’t familiar!).
I bought a piece of plywood from Home Depot that was 24 x 36 for about $8 and had it cut to size at the store for free. Make sure you have the frame with exact measurements before cutting your board. (Tip: If you have a frame with glass, you can easily paint the glass with chalkboard paint instead of buying, cutting and painting a piece of wood.)
Primer: It is important to prime the frame before using regular spray paint. If you are taping off the corners, like I did, after paint the frame white, using primer first will keep the paint from peeling off on the tape. Any spray-primer should work and usually comes in white or light gray
Off-White: I used Rust-Oleum “Heirloom White” in Satin finish. I liked this color because it is slightly off-white without being too cream
Gold: I used Valspar Metallic in “Gold” for the corners
Chalkboard Paint: I used paintable Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint. Chalkboard Spray Paint may work too, but I have never tried it so I cannot comment.
- Open frame large enough to display the desired number of prints
- Plywood or glass cut to size to use as the backboard
- Spray Paint
- Chalkboard Paint
- Small Paint Roller with Paint Tray Kit
– I used this Foam Roller kit from Home Depot for $3. A fabric roller for smooth surfaces is fine too
- Painters tape
- Staple Gun (if frame does not have brackets to hold backboard in place)
- Mini Clothespins
- Glue Dots – Ultra-Thin; 3/8 inch; Purchased from Hobby Lobby
- Printed Instagram pics
- Wire picture hanger (optional)
Here We Go!
1. Prep and Prime
Lay a drop cloth under your frame in a well ventilated area. I usually choose the driveway, or inside my garage with the garage door open. Raise your frame off the ground using a couple of 2×4’s or scrap would if you have it. You can also use bricks or any other scrap material you have. Flip your frame on its face so you can spray the back corners and edges first. Let dry (primer dries much quicker than regular spray paint). Flip over and prime the front of the frame. Let dry.
2. Spray Paint the Base Color
Once the primer has dried, it’s time to spray the frame off-white (or other color you choose). Repeat the same steps you did with the primer to paint the back edges first, then flip and paint the front. Allow the first coat to dry according to the directions on the can, and then spray a second coat. Be sure to get any areas you may have missed with the first coat. Allow the paint to dry completely before taping. I recommend letting the final coat dry over night or even 24 hours to reduce the chances of the paint peeling off when removing painters tape.
3. Paint the Backboard with Chalkboard Paint
While your frame is drying, you can paint the backboard. Lay a drop cloth under your piece of wood or glass. Use a small sponge roller and to apply the Chalkboard paint, or apply spray if you are using Chalkboard Spray Paint. Let dry and apply a second coat.
4. Tape Corners and Spray Gold
The area I painted gold extended about 5 inches in each direction from the corner of the frame. You can decide to go bigger or smaller. Measure and mark your frame using a pencil. I made a mark on the top and the side of the frame for each side to ensure the tape wrapped evenly.
Use painters tape to tape off the area you will be paint. Be sure to place the tape on the same side of your mark on every side. Re-measure all of your corners when you are done taping to ensure they are al even. Trust me! You do not want to realize you taped one of your corners at 3 inches instead of 5 inches after you start spraying the gold.
After you have taped off all your corners AND measured all your corners again, use newspaper to cover the rest of the area you want to remain white…the middle of the frame. Do your best to tape down the newspaper to prevent overspray. I would err on the side of being over-cautious here. If you get gold overspray on the middle of the frame, it will be tough to spray the white again without compromising the newly painted gold corners.
Let the first coat of gold dry and apply a second coat. Allow the second coat to dry. The sooner you can remove the painters tape, the better. I waited about an hour and then very carefully removed the tape without touching the gold paint at all. After you remove the tape, lay the frame back down softly, and allow the gold paint to dry for a few more hours, or overnight. You have come so far, you don’t want to risk nicking the paint now. Patience is challenging when you are excited to get your project done!
Note: I’ll cover touching up minor nicks and imperfections at the end.
5. Insert the Backboard
Once your spray painted frame is completely dry, AND your chalkboard painted backboard is completely dry, it’s time to assemble. Lay a towel or thick blanket on your workspace and lay your frame face down on the fabric, which will serve as a cushion to keep your painted frame from being scratched. Insert the backboard into the frame and use a staple gun to secure. I shot the staples into the edge of the frame as close as possible to where the backboard and frame met, rather than shooting the staples through the backboard into the frame. Add as many staples as needed until your backboard is tightly secured. If you are adding a wire picture hanger to your frame, do that now.
6. Add your Glue Dots and Clothespins
Flip you frame over. Determine the spacing of each clothespin. You can do this by laying out your clothespins and eyeballing them, or you can be very precise and measure it all out. If you already have your pictures printed, it’s pretty quick and easy to layout all of your pics and eyeball it first, then measure your margins and tweak them as needed.
Applying the Glue Dots is a little tricky at first and may take a couple of tries to get them on the board without them sticking together into a ball. Luckily the roll comes with plenty! For me, it was easiest to peel off the Glue Dot and apply to the clothespin first, then stick them both to the board. I applied the Glue Dot just below the metal spring on the clothespin so the picture would hide the Glue Dot when inserted into the clothespin.
7. Touching up Paint
The one tough aspect of painting with two colors using spray paint is that there is not an easy way to do touch-ups…that I am aware of. My gold lines were relatively clean, but I did have a couple of tiny areas where the gold paint bled under the tape. The best method I could come up with was to spray some white spray paint into a small disposable cup, dip a toothpick into the liquid spray paint and carefully dab onto the imperfections. It actually worked pretty well, but the liquid spray paint dries quickly and in a minute or two your liquid paint becomes stringy and thick. So you have to work quickly. The toothpick makes it easy to apply tiny amounts of white paint so you don’t upset your straight gold lines.
If you know of a better way to do tiny touch-ups with spray paint, please share!