Picture Frame Memory Tray Tutorial

Picture Frame Memory Tray

This is the time of year when I become obsessed with memories. Somewhere between the cold chill in the air and pumpkin pie, I get lost reminiscing about the happiest times in my life.

I came up with a DIY project to help keep these memories close throughout the year! Enter: the Picture Frame Memory Tray. 

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Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

• Wooden picture frame
• Two handles
• Drill or screwdriver
• Measuring tape
• Pencil
• Mod Podge (or glue of your choice)
• Screws to attach handles (if not provided with handles)
• Scrapbook paper or fun fabric
• Memory pieces to put in the tray

I love this project because it’s so versatile! You can use any size or shape picture frame as long as it has a thick enough border to attach handles. You can also use decorative drawer knobs or pulls instead of handles if you find some you love!

I do recommend you try to find a frame that only mounts on the wall instead of one that stands up. Otherwise you’ll have to remove the cardboard stand on the back.

First, you’ll need to measure and find the center of the frame border and mark it with a pencil. Make sure to measure both sides and resist the urge to eyeball it. If both handles don’t line up, you will have to carry the tray at an angle the rest of its life. ☺

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Next, we need to attach the handles. I’ve included instructions for both types of handles—those with visible screws and those with hidden screws. With hidden screws, you’ll have to screw the handles in from the underside of the frame. It’s a little more difficult than handles with visible screws, but if you purchased those, don’t worry! Both will work just fine.

Visible Screw Mounts:

Place the center of the handle on your center mark. Mark the screws holes with a pencil. Using a drill, attach the handles.

Hidden Screw Mounts:

For those of us with hidden screws, you’ll need to flip your handle over and measure from the center of one hole to the center of the other. Mine were 3.75 inches apart, so I just measured out 1.875 (half of 3.75) from my center mark and marked the right hole with a pencil. Then I did the same for the left hole. I lined up the markings with the handle on its side so I could make sure they were correct.

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Next, I used a drill bit to drill the holes.

Then, I flipped the tray over and lined up the screws with the new holes.

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To ensure the screws drilled into the handles, I drilled one about ¾ of the way through.
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I put the handle over the screw and then spun the handle clockwise so it would screw in enough to hold the handle still.

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I drilled the other screw through the frame and into the handle about ¾ of the way. Then, I drilled them both until tight.

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Using the cardboard backing as a template, trace it onto the back of your scrapbook paper or fabric. Cut it out and place it inside the frame to make sure it looks the way you want it.

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Then, attach the paper to the cardboard backing. I used Mod Podge to bond the paper, but you’re welcome to use the glue you have handy.

This next step is really where your tray comes alive! You can add pictures of you with your family, old movie ticket stubs, or even small trinkets you purchased on trips. You can also use pieces of fabric, like a tea towel from your grandmother or a swatch of fabric from an old childhood outfit. I also think pressed flowers (say, from your wedding bouquet) might work nicely as well! The main thing to remember is whatever you put in the tray needs to be mostly flat so the back of the frame will close.

Because it’s my husband’s birthday month, I decided to create my memory tray with items from our first few dates. I even have the card from the first time he sent me flowers. Some call it hoarding, but I call it saving. ☺

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I used some scraps of coordinating paper, ribbons, and an envelope to hold all the items. When creating a page like this, layering is key. Just when you think you’ve added enough layers, consider adding one more! It gives dimension and creates interest.

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Though the items should be pretty tight underneath the glass, you should glue or tape the pieces to the back paper. This will ensure they won’t shift whenever you move the tray around.
Once you’ve secured all of your items to the backing paper, you’re done! Just put the picture frame backing on and flip over!

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Hope you enjoy your tray! Happy crafting!

Written by knownvalley

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