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DIY Cardboard Frame with Kids Art as a Handmade Gift Idea

by Jean Van't Hul
December 1, 2016

This sweet handmade gift idea has kids making their own hanging framed artworks using DIY cardboard frames, paint sticks, wire, and beads.

Handmade Gift Idea - DIY Cardboard Frame for Hanging Kids Art

I like to encourage my kids to make handmade gifts for family and friends. Sometimes it’s home baked treats, sometimes it’s art, sometimes it’s playdough snowmen, sometimes it’s a gift we craft together.

This week, we’ve been making art gifts with vibrant colors, recycled DIY cardboard frames, and beaded handles.

If you’re looking for a handmade gift idea, this is a sweet one for the kids to make for family, teachers, and friends.

Handmade Gift Idea - DIY Cardboard Frames Displaying Kids Art

DIY Cardboard Frame with Kids Art

A big thank you to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

This post contains affiliate links.MATERIALS

  • Cardboard
  • Utility knife, such as an X-Acto
  • Paper
  • Kwik Stix paint sticks*
  • Markers or pencils
  • Flexible wire (we used 18 gauge, which is available in the bead section of craft stores and also at hardware stores)
  • Beads
  • Glue

*Kwik Stix are a low-mess alternative to paint. They are basically tempera paint in a solid stick form. The color glides onto the paper very smoothly, a bit like oil pastels, but the paint quickly dries to a hard, smudge-free paint surface. And the colors are wonderful and vibrant! 

You can buy Kwik Stix in a variety of colors and sets at stores such as Walgreens, Michaels, and toy stores as well as online on Amazon.

These paint sticks would make great stocking stuffers, by the way! Or bundle them with a few other art supplies for under the tree…

How to Make the DIY Cardboard Frame - Cutting out the cardboard

DIY cardboard frame instructions

Note :: This part of the process is an adult’s job.

First, use a utility knife to cut two pieces of cardboard into matching rectangles or squares. Any size is fine but I made ours roughly the size of a sheet of paper. One will be the back of the frame, one will be the front.

Then, cut out the center of the top piece of cardboard. I traced my ruler onto the cardboard for an even frame of about 1 1/4 inches wide.

How to Make the DIY Cardboard Frame - Assembling the pieces

Slip a piece of art paper between the two pieces of cardboard and trim it to fit.

Kid Made Art Gifts - Set Up

Set up your art-making station with the frames, paper, drawing tools, and paint sticks.

Testing Kwik Stix Paint Sticks on Cardboard

Note, you could skip the paper and draw with the paint sticks directly on cardboard. I tested the colors and opacity on the brown cardboard and most of them worked great as you can see here.

Kids Handmade Gift Idea - Drawing the Picture

Instructions for the Hanging Art Gift

Draw and paint your picture. Daphne is starting with a pencil drawing above and used black marker for her snowman drawing below.

Kids Handmade Gift Idea - Adding Color with Paint Sticks

Use the paint sticks to add color.

Collaborating on an artwork

As I shared in our post about our Thankful Bunting, you can use permanent markers on top of the paint sticks as well as under. In this photo, Emily and her mom are collaborating on some art details.

Using Kwik Stix Paint Sticks

The paint from the paint sticks dries quickly but if you want to try blending and color mixing, you can do so in the first minute to 90 seconds.

Kids Handmade Gift Idea - Decorating the Frame with Paint Sticks

Once you’ve finished your artwork, it’s time to decorate your frame! Daphne is adding a pattern of colors around the edge of hers.

How to Make the Beaded Handle

Kids Handmade Gift Idea - Create Beaded Hanging Wire

To create the hanging and carrying handle on your framed artwork, punch two holes at the top of the cardboard back. Slip a length of flexible wire through one, wrapping the end around itself to secure it.

String beads along the wire, leaving enough room at the end to wrap it through the second hole.

We used these pretty faceted beads ($3.99 at Target).

Glue the pieces together

Now it’s time to glue the three layers together—the cardboard backing (with the beaded handle), the paper artwork, and the decorated cardboard frame front. We used a hot glue gun, but you could easily use most other glues if you’re more patient about drying time.

Handmade Gift Idea - Hanging Framed Kids Art

Admire your new DIY cardboard frame and artwork.

Would your kids like to make an art gift for a family member, teacher, or friend?

Pin It for Later

Handmade Gift Idea - DIY Hanging Framed Kids Art

Thanks again to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post; all opinions expressed are my own.

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