I’ve really loved the look of acrylic floating frames- they’re modern and that brass hardware- swoon! But they’re pretty expensive. I saw one on West Elm, but it was $180. Nope- that’s above my budget. So I thought I could make my own. I’ll be honest, I’ll struggled with this DIY acrylic frame, but I’ll tell you how to avoid my mistakes so you can easily make one.
how to make a diy acrylic frame
For a long, long time I’ve been wanting to create my own colorful art. So I finally did it! Every night for 12 nights, on our family walk, my son and I wore the same colored outfit and found a wall with the same hue. The goal was to get some fun pictures with a rainbow of backgrounds.
It was a fun project! And by the end I was really happy to be done with it- lol! But we got some cute pictures together and it’s fun to have a little snapshot of this moment in time with my little guy. The best part of this huge photo project- although it was a pain to do, it was free! Actually it cost me $3 to get the 12 pictures printed to 4″x6″. Which is practically nothing!
In addition to the prints, I thought it’d be fun to include paint swatches from my rainbow stairs. This was free and I thought it’d help tell the color story even more clearly. The colors I grabbed from Home Depot are-
- 2 pieces of 18″x24″ plexiglass (0.093 thick)
- Brass Sign Standoffs– I used 4 for my frame (one on each corner). This includes screws and anchors for hanging.
- Art. I used 12 pieces of 3″x5″ prints. One large piece of 16″x20″ art would be perfect too
- Glue Dots for holding the art on the plexiglass
- Drill and full set of drill bits
I only needed to buy the plexiglass which was $24 and brass sign standoffs (they were $7) for this project, plus the $3 in art. So I spent a total of $34 on this project. Much more affordable than the $180 to buy it new!
I purchased my acrylic sheets at Home Depot. Tip- before I do any project where I need to buy supplies from a hardware store, I look the item up online to make sure there’s stock at my store. Then I can also note the aisle and bay the item is on that’s found on the product information page. I take a screenshot of that information or write it down in the notes section of my phone. This made it easy to find the plexiglass.
Right now, acrylic is in a bit of high demand because they’re being used for sneeze guards. It was hard to find these, so just a heads up that you might have to check Lowes and Home Depot and possibly drive to find some in stock.
For the sign standoffs, the hardware for the corners, I bought that online at Amazon. I purchased the brass version. They are also available in matte black, polished chrome, and brushed silver. Buy the color that’ll will work best for your style so you don’t have to bother with spray painting it.
step 1- prep the art
Start by getting the art ready to frame. For me, that looked like trimming the name and logo off the paint swatches. I also trimmed my 4″x6″ prints down to 4″x5″. That way they nicely fit on my 18″x24″ plexiglass frame.
step 2- create the holes
Next, it’s time to drill holes into the plexiglass so I could hang it with the sign standoff hardware. I was nervous about this part.
To drill the holes, I first put painter’s tape on the front and back on both pieces of plexiglass in the corners. Note, don’t remove the protective sheet on the acrylic- leave it on so it doesn’t get scratched up. Both the protective sheet and painters tape will help avoid cracks..
Next, mark on the top of the tape where the holes should go. Mine were 1 1/4″ from each side. I put a scrap piece of wood under the acrylic to protect my desk.
The biggest thing you want to avoid with this step is cracking the acrylic. So what you do is start with a small drill bit and then work your way up to a bigger one. I began with a 1/8″ side than 3/16″, then 1/4″ then 5/16″, then 3/8″ to finally have a big enough hole that the hardware fit nicely. Tip- if you get a thicker piece of acrylic, you’re less likely to crack the glass.
Another tip- if you have more than one drill, use it! That saves you time with switching out drill bits. It took me about 3 minutes to drill out one hole. So about 30 minutes between two sheets. For the second sheet, lay the finished sheet on top and then mark the holes by putting a sharpie through the original hole so they both match up.
Sadly, on the very last hole that I was drilling, I accidentally cracked the glass with the biggest drill bit. It was like it caught on something. I was devastated! And so disappointed. In hind sight, I wish I had tried the method where you heat up a landscaping spike on the stove and melt the plexiglass. This blog has excellent directions for creating the hole.
It’ll cost $5 more to do, but it saves a ton of time and frustration. So it’s totally worth it!
Since I couldn’t find any extra sheets of plexiglass within 30 minutes of my house, I decided to use what I had and put it on the back. When they are in stock, I can buy a new sheet and substitute the broken one out.
step 3- clean the plexiglass
And now, make sure the holes on the two pieces of plexiglass match up and the hardware can go through all 4 holes. If not, drill out where is needed.
Once the hardware goes on nicely, remove all painter’s tape and the protective film off the front and back of the acrylic.
At this point, the plexiglass will be pretty messy. To clean it, you’ll want to be super careful. If you wipe the small pieces of glass that was drilled off, it could scratch the surface. Instead, use a blow dryer on the cool setting to blow off any small pieces.
Next, use a microfiber cloth and a solution of water and dish soap and wipe down both surfaces of the acrylic. Then, use a clean towel to wipe off the soap until the plexiglass is clean.
I found it best to lay a clean blanket on my bed and then work on the plexiglass while it was laying down.
step 4- insert art and hang
Finally, it’s time to put the art between the two pieces of plexiglass. At first, I thought I would be able to just put the hardware on and the art would be held up. Nope! I couldn’t get it tight enough to hold it up! Dang! So instead, I had to use glue dots on the back of each print and paint swatch to hold them in place.
Now it’s time to hang! So I took my frame to my guest bedroom where it’ll go over the dresser. Pardon the mess in here, we’re renovating the bathroom right next to this room and so there’s boxes of tiles and a toilet and vanity cluttering up the room. You’ve got to love a big project!
I held up my frame. I had it assembled with the hardware installed in the corners. When I knew where I wanted it, I put little dabs of toothpaste on the back of the hardware, right above where the screw holes where. Then I touched the frame to the wall (while a level was balanced on top) and the toothpaste got transferred to the wall!
That’s where I screwed in the back of the hardware to the wall. Another option is to hold up the plexiglass without the hardware in it and just mark where the holes are. Since you have to make 4 holes in the wall, it’s important to be precise with this step. The nice thing about the hardware I bought is that it comes with screws and anchors so that makes hanging easier.
Once the back of the hardware is on, put the two sheets of plexiglass on the hardware and screw the top piece on. At this point, you’re done!
And here it is all hung up! You can’t really see the crack- it’s on the bottom right hand side. Mostly, it’s a cute and playful piece of art!
I love the modern frame and how light and airy it is in this space. Though it’s an affordable project, it’s at least a medium to advanced level of DIY. I got pretty frustrated along the way. But I think with the tips I added in this post, you can avoid my mistakes.
I wanted to show you this view, it’s right around the corner from my rainbow mural. They look so fun next to each other! I’m really loving the colorful art here. I rarely hang personal pictures, but I like how these are both sweet, and work with the color story in here. This piece is really making me happy!
As many of you know, in the winter we rent our house as an Air BNB. Since it’ll be a rental, I wanted to take down the personal pictures and switch them out for colorful floral art. I might actually like it more now!
I created these graphics to match my rainbow colors. I thought it’d be fun to offer them as a free download!
To download the free printable, just put your name and email in the form below. You’ll get an email right away with how to download. Plus you’ll be subscribed to my weekly newsletter! If you’re already subscribed, go here to download.
What do you think? Do you like it? Would you make one? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
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