The Easiest DIY Picture Frame Made With Love

By: Guest Blogger

This week’s guest blog is from Jen of City Farmhouse. Create your own picture frame by following her tutorial.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo

Family photos can bring life and meaning into a home, they can tell a story & make an ordinary space feel loved and appreciated. A few summers ago I had an amazing photographer friend of mine, Michele Kats, take photos of my family & I at the beach. It was a place I spent a lot of time as a child, as did my father and then my own boys when we moved back from Colorado. I felt so blessed leaving the session, before even knowing what they would look like. These memories continue to be a gift for us as we cherish looking at them each and every time. I have printed a few here & there but to be honest I have always wanted to do something bigger with them.

I am excited to be partnering with Minwax® on this post as part of their Made With Love campaign. Today I am going to show you how your family photos can become art & a beautiful focal point in any space, along with a really easy way to create a DIY frame. The fun thing about this project, I brought a beautiful memory that spans 3 generations into my home and did it all for under $50.

Let’s get started. You will need…

DIY Frame What You'll Need

  • 4 wood pieces cut to size – I bought 2- 5/8″ x 36″ poplar square rods and a 6 ft piece of pine screen door molding which I cut to size. For a 30″ x 30″ print I then had 4 lengths of wood that were all 31″ long, 2 poplar and 2 pine.
  • stain – I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Early American & Driftwood
  • foam brush or cotton cloth
  • photo/print– Mine was 30″ x 30″ (from Nations Photo Lab)
  • box saw
  • measuring tape
  • nails – 3/4 x 18
  • pencil
  • sandpaper
  • jute
  • plastic gloves
  • drop cloth
  1. I cut 2 poplar pieces and 2 pine screen door molding pieces all to 31″. I wanted the frame to hang 1/2″ on either side of my print which was 30″. I used a box saw and some sand paper to smooth the edges.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo with Tools Needed

2. Time to stain. Be sure to use plastic gloves and have proper ventilation. I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in the Driftwood color first, then after it was dry I used a cloth to layer on, very unevenly, the Early American color. This gave a weathered look.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Minwax Driftwood


  1. Lay your print on a flat surface face down. I did the bottom frame first. The square poplar piece is what will be visual from the front, so lay that under the bottom edge. I measured so both sides were even.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Measuring

  1. Once it was even I taped the print so it would stay in place. I then added the pine piece on top, this piece will not be visible from the front.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Using Tape

  1. I used thin nails to secure the back piece – the pine to the poplar piece. I used a total of 5 for the bottom and 5 for the top.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Use Small Nails To Secure

This is what it will look like from the front.Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-What It Looks Like From The Top

  1. You will do the same for the top and add jute for hanging. I measured 3″ from either side and tied a knot at the end.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Hanging it

Simple right?! Here is how it looks when you walk in my backdoor mudroom.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Mudroom Vignette

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Summer Mudroom

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Full View

The Easiest DIY Picture Frame. You can check out more beautiful Made With Love projects over at Not JUST a Housewife blog & Thrifty Décor Chick blog.

You can go HERE for more information and watch this BEAUTIFUL video.

Jen shares DIY projects and thrifty decorating solutions. Her design philosophy is that bringing style to your home doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn more about Jen and visit City Farmhouse. You Can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Modern Card Catalog Table with Stacy Risenmay

By: Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Stacy Risenmay of Not JUST A Housewife is back with a post on a beautiful card catalog table that was passed down from her dad.

Over the years I have refinished things that have held great personal value like my dad’s desk that is now my desk and the vanity that use to be in my sisters’ room growing up. I have also built many pieces that I hope will be around for a long time and that my kids will look back on and have memories attached to them.

I have partnered with Minwax again this year and I love their new campaign called “Made with Love, Finished with Minwax”. Today I am sharing a project that has personal meaning for different reasons.

Card Catalogue Table

I have finally convinced my boys that it would be a good idea to have two bedrooms instead of the one boy room we have going on right now. It has taken years to get them on board. I love that they like sharing a room. I love that they tell stories and jokes and giggle before falling asleep each night.  Part of me wants them to share a room forever and the other part (the part that trips over the ever growing piles) knows that as they get bigger, it just won’t work. We have been dreaming up designs and colors schemes and while nothing is set in stone yet, I know the feel I want for the bedroom my oldest will be in. He plays guitar and piano so it will be a hang out type music-y room. Loungey and casual.  Depending on the layout there will either be a couple of chairs  or a love seat. Either way, there will need to be a side table and we created the perfect one. Yep, we. My oldest and I got our DIY on together for this one :)

Card Catalogue Table with Guitar

Not only was it fun to build this together, but the card catalog came to us thanks to my mom. When my dad got sick with cancer my mom went to work in a local bank. She has now been there over 20 years and will be retiring soon. That bank has been such a big part of her life and ours. It will be so weird to go there and not take the kids in the back to get extra suckers. We have had most of our family parties in the basement. When my mom gave me some of the metal card catalog drawers from the storage room that they were going to get rid of, I knew I had to do something special with them.

Card Catalogue Detail

The biggest problem with keeping the boys’ room clean (aside from clothes!) is the over abundance of tiny, random things that have no real home. Annoying cheap toys from birthday parties, earphones, rocks, sticks, etc. I created a “treasure drawer” for the youngest ones who seam to have the most but soon realized that even my oldest has small things that needed a place.

Card Catalogue Table for Storage

While I have no firm date on when the room switcharoo will happen, at least we have a table ready to go when it does. I think it is safe to say he likes it!

Son Play Guitar by Finished Project

It was a fairly easy project. We cut out wood to create the box that would go around the drawers. I lightly sanded them.

Sanding image

While I was sanding the wood, my oldest sanded the metal drawers. Nothing major. Just enough so the paint would adhere better. He used a 150 grit but 220 works as well.

Sanding card catalogue table

A little glue and some nails will get it assembled!

Glueing pieces together

Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the box is perfectly square before attaching a back.

wooden box with carpenter square

Putty the nail holes and any other imperfections with a putty that is sandable and stainable. When it has dried, sand it smooth.

Using putty in nail holes

When staining soft wood like pine, always use a wood conditioner like Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. It helps the wood accept the stain more evenly. If you are planning on using an oil based stain, use an oil based conditioner. There is a water based conditioner for water based stains as well.

Minwax Pre-Stain

We also used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Dark Walnut.

Staining with foam brush

Wiping excess stain

After the stain dried we sealed it. One of the perks of using plywood for this project was the fun striping along the edges.

Table stripes after staining


Son with finished card catalogue table

For more fun projects visit Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick and watch this cute video. I may have teared up a bit :) 

 Stacy Risenmay is a DIY enthusiast. In her blog, Not Just a Housewife, she shares her adventures of fixing up her 1938 cottage. She believes that whether it’s big or small, everyone should love their space. Learn more about Stacy and visit: You can also follow Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Refinishing a Future Heirloom

By: Guest Blogger

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick shares a great project that involves a piece that is very important to her, which she also worked on with her father.

I’m super excited about this project — one, because it turned out beautifully. Two, because it’s a piece that means a lot to me and I’m thrilled to have given it new life.

I work with Minwax occasionally and share ideas using their products because I LOVE them. This time, they asked that I share a do-it-yourself project involving a family heirloom or something significant that holds meaning for our family. Unfortunately, I don’t have any furniture passed down through our family. All of mine are vintage pieces from other families I found on Craigslist or Goodwill. 😉

So I thought hard about something that means a lot to me in our home and came up with the perfect item…and it desperately needed an update. Five years ago I shared the DIY pottery bench my dad and I made.

Refinish a Future Heirloom Finished Table

I’m really good at looking at most of the items in our house as just “things” — with a young child and a cat who is a little cuckoo and goes around knocking items off of shelves willy nilly, you learn to let go. There are certain things that I would be upset at losing though, and this bench is one of them.

My Dad and I had some tumultuous years, to say the least. We were estranged for awhile and around the end of my time at college we started rebuilding our relationship. It is one of the great joys of my life that we have become so close again. I am so incredibly thankful. Dad has seven kids but makes a point to spend one-on-one time with each of us as often as he can, including the five grandkids. The day we made this we spend the whole day together — writing out our plan, shopping for materials and then building the bench. I have wonderful memories of that day and we still laugh that it went together so easily — that’s rare for both of us!

When we built this I spent the extra on cedar and am so glad I did. I had planned on just giving it a natural stain or protective coat and leaving it at that, but time got away from me. I knew the cedar could hold up to the elements so I kept putting it off and putting it off…and this is how it looked years later.

Unfinished Future Heirloom Table

OK it wasn’t usually a total mess like that. I took that picture to share what a disaster our patio and deck were years ago. But the wear got worse — this was taken two years ago.

So this week I finally tackled this project. I knew I could get it looking great again, it would just take some work. This is how it looked before I started.

Unfinished Table Close Up

I feel so awful I let it get to this point. Really, I’m mad at myself that I didn’t do this sooner. But being outside it was easy to forget about it.

It even had stuff growing on it. 😉 It truly became a part of the nature. Yikes! The funny thing is those hooks have held up amazingly well! Ha!

Unfinished Table Side

I started sanding it down with my orbital sander. Be SURE to wear protective gear while doing this — I wore a mask over my mouth and nose and safety glasses. There will be a lot of dust, even with a nice sander. This is the one I use and I’ve been really happy with it. Sanders I’ve used in the past have left “skipping” marks on my wood and this one does not do that. Love it.


I used 80-grit sanding pads on it to start taking all of that grime off. I was so excited to see the wood coming back again! I used a LOT of sanding pads for this — at least ten. I didn’t get every little crevice sanded perfectly because it would have taken a whole day and my hand was buzzing for an hour afterwards as it was.

Also, I didn’t mind a little patina. I really wanted to get the majority off and get it smooth again — those were my main concerns. The sanded wood was so smooth to the touch, which was nice after it being coarse for so long.

Here’s a look at it after I finished the sanding on top.

Table Top Sanded

And the side that I showed you above with the green, now looking much better.

Side Sanded

I kept at it, getting as much off as I could. Then it was time for the Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. I didn’t use this for years and kick myself for that. I LOVE staining so I’m always in too much of a hurry to get to that part, but this is a must my friends. It preps the wood for the stain and evens things out wonderfully. This opens up the wood so it will accept stain better.

Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner

You can see that you get a little peek at how the stain will bring out the wood tones when you use it. You can apply your stain pretty much immediately and it dries pretty fast.

Pre-Stain on Table

Then it was time for the stain and I picked this Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Weathered Oak color — it gives the piece a nice rich look with a slight gray undertone.

Minwax Wood Finish Weathered Oak

I used a foam brush to apply my stain — I just think these work best and they’re super cheap.

Wood Finish With Foam Brush

Something to consider — make sure you stir your stain up well! I thought I did but as I got further into the can the color got more gray. I ended up doing another coat on top (I usually just do one) to make sure the whole thing was the same color.

This stain goes on very gray (when mixed well) but when it’s brushed in and then wiped down it doesn’t look nearly as gray. It’s a lovely warm color with a hint of the gray tone.

As you stain there are a few things to remember:

  • Keep a “wet edge” — don’t let it dry in the middle of the project or do it halfway. Make sure you have time to tackle each section so you can get it all done at once.
  • You don’t want it to be soaking wet — be sure to wipe most of it into the wood.
  • Let the stain sit for awhile before wiping — the longer you wait the deeper it will stain. (I usually only wait a few minutes and it’s sufficient every time.) Don’t wait too long though, or you’ll have a sticky mess.
  • Use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe away any excess. If you’d like to add more coats to deepen the stain, use steel wool or a very light sanding between coats.

Since this piece stays outside I knew it would need a protective layer after the stain.  Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane is great for outdoor projects like this.

Helmsman Spar Urethane

Follow the instructions for when to apply it — you want to make sure your stain is dry. This time, I used a brush to apply the urethane, just because the wood had so much texture to it. I wanted to make sure to get in all the crevices well. Be sure to add more than one coat for the best protection.

I cannot even tell you how much I love the finished project! I’ve always enjoyed this bench but it’s truly beautiful now. The finish is perfect:

I said it before — staining is one of my very favorite projects. It’s instant gratification. :) I just love seeing the beauty of the wood come through before my eyes.

I’m thrilled to have this piece looking pretty and that it’s finally protected from the elements. I love that I didn’t sand every bit of the patina off too — I think it adds some character to the piece.

Finished Table Closeup

Here’s a view of the side I showed you earlier.

Side Finished

I use this bench all the time for planting, even in the winter. I’ll run out here even in the cold to transplant or pot houseplants. That ash bucket holds soil and keeps it nice and dry all year:

Having this spot is great for a gardening lover like me, but we also use it all the time when entertaining out here. It’s fantastic for serving food and drinks as well!

I am so glad I finally took the time to get this done. I’ve felt so bad leaving it exposed for so long. Now it’s a beautiful addition to our backyard.

I didn’t even plan it, but the stain goes so nicely with our newly stained deck. Here’s a reminder of how it started.

Before Table

And here’s what it looks like today. Look how much our trees have grown in too! Love it.

The  beauty of this space is not lost on us. We feel so incredibly fortunate to have this beautiful backyard. It is truly an oasis.

Finished Table in Backyard

Minwax has a whole campaign around revamping pieces that are important to us called Made With Love. I love this! Over the next few months they will be sharing how people have created and renewed future heirlooms. This sweet video is perfect for Father’s Day weekend.

Sarah’s blog, Thrifty Decor Chick, features more great DIY projects that will help you have a lovely home without spending a ton of money. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more. 

An Arts & Crafts Magazine Stand

It’s no secret in my family that my favorite style is Arts and Crafts, so when I saw a need for a stand to store our magazines and catalogs, I decided to make one in the Arts and Crafts/Mission Oak style from, what else? — oak, of course!

I started as I do every project: with a light sanding using #180-grit sandpaper. This not only removes minor nicks and scratches, but the sandpaper also opens up the pores of the wood so that they will accept our stain and finish.

While you can select any color of stain you like, I opted for Coffee in the  Minwax® Gel Stain line because it brought out the grain of the oak and matched the color we so often find on antique Arts and Crafts furniture. You simply rub on the Gel Stain, let it absorb into the pores for a few minutes, then wipe off any extra stain.

Whenever possible, I stain my boards before assembly, using protective rubber pads on my clamps to prevent them from leaving any dents in the wood.

After the glue had dried, I sealed the stain and protected the wood with two coats of clear  Polycrylic® Protective Finish in the semi-gloss sheen. I also could have opted for clear  Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane, but since it was too cold to open the garage doors while I was applying my finish, I elected to use the water-based Polycrylic, which has no fumes needing to be vented.

And here’s a quick finishing tip:  to duplicate an authentic vintage Arts and Crafts finish, gently rub out your final coat of dried finish with a fine synthetic pad dipped in  Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax in Special Dark. As soon as the wax begins to harden, buff it out with a clean, soft cloth for a finish so smooth your friends will assume it was done professionally.

Here is my completed magazine stand next to a vintage Arts and Crafts library table in my office. The combination of the Minwax® Gel Stain, Polycrylic® Protective Finish, and the Paste Finishing Wax really came together to give the new oak boards an authentic Arts and Crafts look.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!