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Frame It!


Subject:Arts & Humanities
Grade:3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description
Students make decorative picture frames for holiday gifts!


Students use creative thinking skills to decorate frame patterns. Students demonstrate ability in following directions.


holiday, crafts, picture frame, Christmas, gift

Materials Needed

  • tagboard, poster board, or cardboard or discarded picture mats from a framing store in different sizes
  • pencils
  • rulers
  • craft knife or craft blade (for use by teachers and teacher-recommended students only)
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • student-selected art materials

Lesson Plan

  • Hand out the picture mats, or demonstrate how to measure the tagboard, poster board, or cardboard for the front of the picture frame. Explain that photographs come in standard sizes (1 inch by 2 inches, 3 inches by 5 inches, 4 inches by 6 inches, 5 inches by 7 inches, and 8 inches by 10 inches are the standard sizes). The frame should be between 1 and 3 inches wide. When they measure the inside opening, students should make it slightly smaller than the picture size.
  • Have students use scissors to cut the outside edges of the frames. With your approval and supervision, have students use craft knives to cut out the inside edges of the frames.
  • Distribute the construction paper, scissors, and glue. Tell students that the construction paper will serve as the backing for the frame.
  • Have students trace the outside frame border onto the construction paper and cut along the outline to make the backing for the frame.
  • Show students how to glue the edges of three sides of the backing to the frame front, leaving one side open to slide a picture into the frame.
  • Encourage students to decorate the frame with different art materials.

Variation: For young students, use already-cut picture mats or cut out the frames from tagboard, poster board, or cardboard before handing them out. Contact local framing stores for unused, pre-cut mats that store owners might donate for the project.

Extensions: Provide inexpensive magnets or magnetic strips for students to glue to the back of the frame so the picture can be placed on a refrigerator. Try other picture frame activities, including


Observe students' participation. Evaluate students' abilities to follow directions.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Visual Arts:

Originally published 11/08/2001
Last updated 10/29/2010