I love crafting with cardboard. It’s such a versatile medium and for many of us who order online, it’s free too. We save all our shipping boxes, no matter how big or small and over the years we’ve upcycled them to make Flintstone shelves and PoP trees. This time round, I’ll be using one of those boxes to make this hinged cardboard heart frame.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive frames. And this one is definitely easy on the pocket.
All it cost me was a little time and a whole bunch of love. Oh and four clothespins to make the hinges.
Not only are the frames budget and eco-friendly they make great gifts too.
In this tutorial I’ll show you how easy it is to make clothespin hinges (aka pegs for those of us who speak the Queen’s English) and use them to join two DIY cardboard heart frames, But, before we get there, please do me a favor and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
For the heart frame:
- Cardboard box
- Sharp craft knife
- Free cutting piece pattern
To make the hinges:
- 4 wooden clothespin (pegs)
- Straight tube spacer beads
How you dress up your frame is entirely up to you. I gave mine a woody texture using homemade texture paste and craft paint.
How to Make a Cardboard Heart Frame
Each heart frame is made from three layers of cardboard salvaged from a storage boxes. Depending on how thick your cardboard is you may need more. I used the following pattern to make my hinged heart frame.
The easiest way to cut the pieces is with a sharp craft knife. I find scissors squish the edges. It’s not a biggie, but if you want crisp edges, a craft knife is definitely the way to go.
Sand the pieces after cutting to get rid of small rips and neaten them up.
Glue two square pieces together to form a backing board. The heart cut-out goes over the top once we’ve added the hinges and dressed the cardboard up a little.
How to Make and Add Clothespin Hinges
I discovered this trick when I couldn’t find teeny tiny hinges for a fairy door. Pull a wooden clothespin apart. You only want to metal spring that joins the pins together.
Bend the two cross-over wires straight as shown below.
You should end up with something like this.
Slip a straight metal tube spacer into the coiled part of the modified clothespin spring. Pssst, did you know that you can use those tube spacers to make a tiny working wind chime for your fairies? They always come in so handy.
Test that the hinge moves freely before installing them.
Installing the clothespin hinges
Lay the two glued cardboard squares side by side with a 6mm (1/6”) gap between the squares. Use a little masking tape to keep them in place. Mark about 3cm (1.2”) from the top and bottom of the squares.
Place one of the clothespin hinges on the mark and glue down as shown below. I used instant glue.
Repeat for the other hinge.
The hinges will be hidden once we glue down the heart cut out.
Use a small pair of pliers to crimp the ends of the spacer. Squishing the ends prevents the tube from slipping out.
Adding a Faux Wood Texture
I adapted our cardboard candleholder tutorial to create a faux wood texture on these hinged heart frames. If earthy, rustic tones don’t appeal to you, you can paint the frames or use molds and embellishments to dress them up. Adding a 3D stencil would also look lovely.
To add a faux wood effect I used some of our homemade texture paste. Store-bought texture paste will work too. Smear the texture paste on the edges of the cardboard to hide the wiggly, woggly inside cardboard bits. Add a medium thickish layer of texture paste to the top of the frame (the side where you can’t see the glued-down hinges).
While the texture paste is still wet, use the flat edge of a stirrer to drag the paste from top to bottom to create a weathered wood grain effect. Draw vertical “plank” lines with a toothpick. You can watch the quick video below to see how it’s done.
Do the same on the top side of the heart cut-out. Leave the paste to dry.
Painting the heart frames
To paint the frame, I used black (a teeny, tiny bit), brown, and white craft paint.
Place the paint in a small dish and swirl the colors around. You don’t want to mix them completely.
Following the textured “grain” apply the paint. You can apply as many layers as you want to build up the effect.
Don’t forget to paint the sides.
Finish off by dry brushing a greyish white to give the frame a slightly weather appearance.
Once the paint dries, flip the heart cut outs over and tape your favorite photo to the back end.
Glue the heart front to the cardboard frame back.
If the gaps between the glued pieces bugs you, use a stirrer or toothpick to fill them with a little texture paste.
And that’s it. The cardboard heart frames with clothespin hinges are ready.
They make perfect eco-friendly gifts and, depending on how you dress them up, will fit right in with most decor styles.
Not bad for a morning’s worth of cutting, texturing, painting, and gluing.
No-one would ever guess the heart frames started out as a storage box and a few clothespins.
What do you think? How do you upcycle your cardboard boxes?
If you like the idea of making a cardboard heart frame or clothespin hinges, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, I wish you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.