Personalised unique photo frames – upcycling fun

Here at Hours of Fun we love to upcycle things and make new, gorgeous items from old, shabby things. Or transform a plain item into a patterned piece or design to match a rooms décor or a person’s passion.
One of my favourite crafts is decopatch or decoupage depending on what paper and technique you are using. They are both crafts involving paper layers, using glue and varnish. Decopatch is a brand of paper designed especially for ripping, gluing and layering. It is stronger than tissue paper but not as thick as printer paper. It rips well and doesn’t tear when applying glue. You can buy specialist glue with varnish in it, or use PVA glue watered down slightly then craft varnish as the final coat.
Decoupage is the original craft involving layering up any type of paper, adding glue and varnish, sanding down each layer, then building it up in the same way, sometimes up to 30 or 40 layers. The aim is to have a finish that looks like a smooth coating rather than individual pieces of paper. You can also distress it using sandpaper or distressed ink to give it an aged, weathered look.
We have been making a lot of photo frames using both of these techniques recently. The decopatch paper comes in a range of gorgeous patterns and designs and is perfect to use if you want a frame to colour co-ordinate with a room or match a favourite colour. We have also started making personalised photo frames using photographs printed onto paper, then glued onto the frame in a mosaic style pattern.

The photographs have been of families through the years, full of memories and they create a gorgeous keepsake. We use photo frames that have a border around the inside of the frame, in between the frame and the space for the picture. This breaks up the design, allowing the frame and the picture to stand out clearly from each other.
We can produce your own personalised photo frame. All we need from you are the pictures you want us to use and we will create a gorgeous keepsake you can keep or give as a gift.


Exploring the art of Decopatch – fun with paper and glue


I am expanding on my craft skills at the moment by trying lots of new crafts and revisiting others I have not done for ages.

This time it was all about decopatch – fun with paper and glue!

Decopatch is believed to be a variation of Decoupage, which is an old technique used to decorate furniture by gluing cut paper/material onto a surface, varnishing, sanding and repeating.   It requires many layers to produce a smooth, polished finish.

Decopatch is similar but uses very fine specialist paper which can be torn to shape, is strong, easy to use and can be applied to almost any surface.  It is a technique easier to do and is a fantastic introduction to this type of paper craft.

You can get specialist glue and varnish, however PVA glue and any water based clear varnish works really well.

I had a couple of gifts in mind.  I wanted to make my mum something for Mother’s day and I wanted to make my friend Louise a photo frame for her birthday.

Photo frame

I purchased a plain wooden photo frame and gave it a little sand down and clean.  I then choose two different patterned papers to use and got busy tearing pieces and glueing them in place, overlapping each piece slightly.  Once it was covered I let is dry overnight then varnished it.  Once it dried again I gave it a very light sanding and varnished it again.

I was really happy with how it turned out and I think I may never buy a decorated photo frame again.  We have a couple of wooden frames at home with only a tiny area for a photo – my next frame project may be to improve these using the decopatch technique.

Louises decopatch photoframe before Pinks and blues frame Louises decopatch photoframe close up of HoF label

 Cardboard letters

For my Mum for Mother’s day I choose to cover letters spelling MUM which would allow me to play with decopatch on shaped items rather than a flat surface and I hoped they would make a lovely gift.

The letters are made from strong cardboard and I choose three different designs of paper to cover them with.  As a finishing touch I used a  perminant black marker pen to write inspiration words over the front of the letters – picking words that represent my amazing mum and the fantastic relationship we have.

I have since visited my mum and dads and the letters are on display on the mantlepiece.


Mum and heart boxMum letters decopatchmum with first layer of paper