10-Minute Project: DIY Beach Photo Frame with Starfish and Fabric

A shadowbox photo frame, pretty fabric, and starfish make me feel like I'm back the beach--and it only took about ten minutes to get there!
Photo by Travis Neighbor Ward

One of the hard things about moving to Atlanta was accepting that I’d be five hours away from the ocean. Luckily it’s easy to incorporate beach elements into my house, so I have daily reminders of the natural, laid-back seaside vibe I love. When I’m on vacation, I love to collect seashells, weathered pebbles, and seagull feathers. Luckily, crafts stores like Michael’s and other online stores sell shells, sand, and other beach-related crafts materials, and it’s easy to supplement what I find as needed.

I also like displaying family photos from our trips, and the best are set in frames that bring to mind the sounds of the waves and the smell of the salty air. For the project shown here, I decided to frame a photo of my older daughter, Lila, and me from when she was a baby and we went to Hilton Head with my mother. Once I had the materials, it took me about 10 minutes to complete. Here are the details you need to make this DIY beach photo frame at home:

A shadowbox photo frame, pretty fabric, and starfish make me feel like I'm back the beach--and it only took about ten minutes to get there!

Materials and Tools Needed

  1. A shadowbox picture frame, such as one from Lawrence Frames
  2. Mod Podge Fabric Glue, or some other type of fabric glue
  3. A sponge brush
  4. A hot glue gun with a glue stick
  5. A photograph
  6. Two starfish
  7. Enough fabric to fit in the frame
  8. Scissors

How to Make It

First cut the fabric to the right size of the inside back of the frame.

I decided to let the fabric be a little ragged around the edges for two reasons: I liked the homemade look of it (it reminds me of beach towels and picnic blankets), and it took a lot less time to glue it in than if I’d finished the edges. That said, I do have a pretty good eye for measuring and cutting in place. If you don’t, you could measure and use a ruler with a chalk pencil on the back side of the fabric, then cut it to size.A shadowbox photo frame, pretty fabric, and starfish make me feel like I'm back the beach--and it only took about ten minutes to get there!

 

Glue the Fabric Down

To keep it in place, I used the Mod Podge Fabric Glue, which I spread directly on the inside back of the frame using the sponge brush. Before I placed the fabric over it, I wiped the excess glue off of the frame using a paper towel. Really you could use any kind of fabric glue, or a hot glue gun, but I like the smooth texture of the Mod Podge, and the fact that it doesn’t stain or form lumps.

A shadowbox photo frame, pretty fabric, and starfish make me feel like I'm back the beach--and it only took about ten minutes to get there!

 

Glue the Photo and the Starfish in Place

Next I spread the Mod Podge on the back of the photo and set it in place. Using the hot glue gun, I placed beads of glue at the ends of the starfish’s legs. At first I assumed I could just glue it in the middle, but when starfish dry out they tend to bow, so I discovered that the middle didn’t actually touch the back of the frame at all.

A shadowbox photo frame, pretty fabric, and starfish make me feel like I'm back the beach--and it only took about ten minutes to get there!

And there you have it! Really you could put all kinds of things that remind you of the beach–different kinds of shells, sailor’s rope, even more photos.

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A shadowbox photo frame, pretty fabric, and starfish make me feel like I'm back the beach--and it only took about ten minutes to get there!
Photo by Travis Neighbor Ward

Do you have good ideas for other things you could add to the frame? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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