Framing a Photo in a Paperweight - Greeting Card Background with a Metal Frame Embellishment

This is the second paperweight design in my series on framing photographs.

If you're looking for easy ways to incorporate images into your designs, this step-by-step project can be modified to create a variety of different looks.

You'll need a few basic elements to replicate this layout.  I used the Oval Paperweight Kit (PhotoWeights: Oval), a greeting card, and a metal frame from a set of embellishments.  I'll point out some alternate materials as we go along.

I'm always using portions of greeting cards in my paperweight designs, especially greeting cards that are beautifully embossed with gold detailing.  In place of a greeting card you can use a scrap of decorative paper or fabric. Just be certain the material you use isn't too thick to fit within the paperweight you're using.

I used the display area template for the Oval paperweight (PhotoWeights: Display Area Template) to choose just the right area for my design before tracing a cut line.

TIP:  If you take one of our templates to the gift shop, you can see exactly how the design on a greeting card will fit within your paperweight.

Using a pair of sharp scissors, I cut along the traced line.

The cut-out from the card was affixed to the self-adhesive mounting board (included in each paperweight kit).

I created a reference mark in the center of the background, using a ruler as a guide.

The metal frame I used is the smallest of two included in a package.  These are made by Momenta.  Your local craft store should have a selection of embellishment frames to choose from in a variety sizes, shapes, colors, materials, and finishes.

If you'd like your frame to be a particular color, you can always paint it to match.

When you're working with the Oval Paperweight Kit, as well as other paperweight styles that limit the thickness of the items you can display, be sure to choose frames with a thin profile that will fit comfortably.

The 'x' I marked on the background helped me center the frame.  Once I checked the frame with a ruler to make sure there was an even amount of distance on all sides, I traced around the inside opening of the frame (in case the frame shifted).  I wrote down the distance between the edges of the frame to the end of the mounting board.

The frame I chose has a center opening that measures 1" square.  The photo was sized in a photo editing program to slightly more than 1".  When I cut the photo out, I left some additional material so there would be enough paper to glue to the frame.

Be sure to trim the photo if any edges are visible from underneath the outside edge of the frame.

The frame originally had two strips of self-adhesive foam tape on the back that I removed.

I applied glue around the opening for the photograph, making sure I used just enough to hold the photo in place.

When I'm working with metal, my favorite glue is Liquid Fusion from iLoveToCreate.  It's a clear urethane glue that's transparent and works well with both porous and smooth surfaces.

To prevent any glue from getting onto my work surface, I placed the photo on a scrap of cardboard and lowered the frame (with glue on the reverse side) onto it.

Let this set for about 5-10 minutes or until the photo is securely attached.

Now that the glue between the frame and the photo has set, you can apply adhesive to the back of the photograph.  Keep the adhesive from the edges so you can make adjustments without getting glue onto the background surrounding the frame.

Using your marks as a reference, place the frame in the center of your background.  Use the measurements you wrote down previously (the distance between the outside edges of the frame and the end of the mounting board) to make adjustments so it's perfectly centered.

Here's a close-up view showing the embossing and gold detailing of the greeting card artwork.


Before you seal your finished work in the paperweight, it's important to allow the adhesive to dry completely.  If you don't, evaporation from the glue may cause the inside of your paperweight to become cloudy.  I always recommend waiting 24-hours, depending on the type of adhesive and how thick it's applied.

Clean your paperweight with a streak-free glass cleaner to remove any dirt, dust, or finger prints.

After the glue in your artwork has had time to dry, place the mounting board face-down in to the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.

To finish, apply the self-adhesive bottom pad (included with each paperweight kit) across the bottom surface of the paperweight.

When you order a paperweight kit at PhotoWeights.com, you can select your bottom pad in your choice of three colors; black, burgundy, or green (shown above).  The only exceptions are the Dome, Heirloom Dome, and Deep Dome.  These styles are only available with black pads.


Framing a Photo in a Paperweight - Pearls & Glitter

I wanted to start a new series of designs that will focus on gorgeous, creative ways to frame photographs within your paperweights.

The first paperweight in this series requires just a few supplies and tools to create a vintage-inspired design that will beautifully frame a modern or period photograph.  Although I used pearls for this paperweight, you can use other bead and background colors to create a completely different look.

To re-create this paperweight, you'll need the following iems:  Heirloom Dome Paperweight Kit (PhotoWeights: Heirloom Dome), two sizes of pearl beads (4mm and 8mm), swatch of paper in a color of your choice, clear glitter, white glue, Aleene's Tacky Glue, and a 1" circle hole punch.

The first step to creating this paperweight design is to trace the area from your circle hole punch onto the background paper you're using.  I did this by punching a hole in a business card and tracing within the opening.

The 1" circle was traced onto the paper first so I could use this as a center reference when I traced a larger circle that's the size of the Heirloom Dome's display area (PhotoWeights: Display Area Template).

Using a pair of sharp scissors, I cut along the outside line.

Many hand-held hole punches available in craft stores limit the distance you can punch from the edge of the paper.  To compensate for this, I cut a straight line to remove enough paper to allow me to punch out the circle I traced earlier.

Because the paper will be covered in the final design, the seam that will be left won't be visible.

Center the traced circle into the viewing window of the hole punch, usually found on the bottom.  Once centered, punch out the desired area.

The hole punched into the background paper will frame your photograph.


After you've cut your photograph to fit within the 1" circle, apply white glue (Elmer's is just fine) around the opening.  Be sure to spread the glue evenly to prevent it from seeping out from underneath.

After the glue used in the previous step has set for a few minutes, you can apply the piece to the adhesive side of the mounting board (included with each PhotoWeights paperweight kit).  Also affix the small portion of paper that was cut earlier.

Now that the photo and background paper are attached to the mounting board, it's time to get to work!

I applied Aleene's Tacky Glue around the photograph.  (I prefer to use tacky glue for this type of application because it's thick and stays in place.  It also remains flexible while it's drying, making adjustments easy.)   If you don't apply enough glue to fit two rows of beads, you can always add more glue later.

I used two sizes of beads in this paperweight, 4mm and 8mm.  The 4mm beads were applied first, circling the photo.  The 8mm beads followed.  Be sure none of the holes in the beads face upward.

After all the pearls are in place, you can make any necessary adjustments to even out the spacing and make sure the holes aren't visible from above.

I didn't want to leave the paper around the pearls untouched, so I decided to cover this area with clear glitter.  To do this, I started by brushing a layer of white glue outside the larger row of beads.

With the piece over a small bowl, I sprinkled the clear glitter onto the white glue.  Tap the edge of the card onto your work surface to remove excess glitter.

Here is a photo of the finished work, ready to display in the paperweight.


One thing that's difficult to capture in photos is the amount of drying time that is required before you can place your finished artwork in the paperweight.

If you seal up your paperweight while the glue is wet, evaporation from the glue will cause the inside of your paperweight to become cloudy and humid.

I recommend allowing your artwork to dry for at least 24-hours.  When the glue is completely dry, check to make sure all the beads are securely in place.  You should also remove any stray particles of glitter with a small, dry paint brush and/or gentle puffs from a can of compressed air.

To finish your paperweight, center your artwork onto the adhesive side of the bottom pad and press it in place to secure.

After you've cleaned your paperweight with streak-free glass cleaner, apply the bottom pad face-down onto the base of the paperweight.