How to Make a Window Picture Frame

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I previously shared my vintage windows as picture frames, but I never shared a tutorial on how to make a window picture frame. I’ve had many questions about it, so I thought I’d share a little post on how I did that.  It is one of my favorite picture displays in my home, and just off of my front door, so it gets a lot of notice from the traffic in and out of our home.

Kristen Duke

{All of these lovely beach pictures of my family were taken by the talented Shari Hanson near Huntington Beach, CA. If you live in the area or vacation there, call her for family pictures, LOVE these of my fam!}

I set out to find some vintage windows at my local antique store, and planned on the traditional vertical panes that I’d seen other places. It took me a minute to adjust to the square nature of these frames, but then I got excited that they were a bit different than the norm. I knew I was going to use them as picture openings, and just needed to adjust my expectation to the square picture over the rectangle (they didn’t have the rectangle). It actually worked out for the better since I had so many images–some vertical, some horizontal–and the square accommodated for both the best. I think these were marked at $25 or $30 each.  And I asked the store owner for a discount since I was getting two. I was able to get both for $40.




How to Print Custom Size Photos

I planned for the pictures to fill the entire opening, but oopsey, they were too small. It actually worked out in my favor though. I sized the iwindow opening to 10.5×5 (it looked like an exact square, but it was deceiving. When I ordered my prints, the lab I used didn’t have that size, so in photoshop, I created a document the standard size at the lab (I am pretty sure it was 12×18, but can’t quite remember). I cropped my picture to the size I wanted it (10.5×10) and “dropped” it into my 12×18 in the other photoshop window. If you don’t know photoshop, this might be trickier, but if you have it, it’s worth learning how to do this. Then I made the outer side an obnoxious green color with the instructions for the lab assistant to trim off the green with their big trimmer. I then picked up my prints in the 10.5×10 size. I saw no bright green in my prints.


When I got home, I decided I’d adhere my pictures to a giant cardboard box piece. This was tricky lining everything up, especially since I measured wrong and some of the box showed through.

vintage window

My measurements of the window were not exact, so my pictuers were a little smaller than I wanted them to me.  Instead of printing them again, I spray painted my cardboard box a turquoise to match our clothing. I tried to keep the  measurement of the pictures with the boxes on the cardboard so it would be easier for me to line it up to the frame when I attached them.

vintage window frame

I’ll admit, lining up the pictures exactly with the opening was a pain and took a few tries. It would have helped if I had measured, but that task seemed too tedious, and I like to eyeball things–even if it takes me more time.  I know, crazy. It’s the artist in me.


I LOVE how it looks with the pop of turquoise behind each print!

The “i love us” print I found at Eighteen25, it makes me happy.

picture frame

Once I was done with the picture arranging, I used an industrial strength staple gun to attach the cardboard to the wooden window. This is my husband pulling out the staples when I realized my pictures weren’t as straight as I thought. Boo hoo. The cardboard made a great picture backing–no one will ever see it. I think I attached my pictures to the cardboard with tape that may or may not be archival safe. I’d go for the archival safe option. Really, I can’t remember if it was or not, but they look great to this day!


Tadaa!  The silhouette in the middle is a whole other story. It is a puzzle of pieces taped together, I would just get a big print if I were you;)

vintage window frame


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