How to Personalize Picture Frames

Written by Mark Rogers

A framed photo is a timeless, personal gift: you’re giving the recipient something you know they will appreciate, whether it’s a photo of someone they love, artwork you specifically selected, or even an empty frame to enclose a recently earned diploma.

Make the gift even more personal with your own special flair, commemorating the occasion and giving them a memento to treasure for years to come.

Write a Secret Message

Many times, you’ll include a handwritten card that expresses your congratulations, gratitude or well wishes. Instead, write these personal sentiments directly onto the backing board or dust cover, resulting in a hidden message that remains a special secret between you and your loved one.

With Frame Destination picture frames, the back of the frame is most often the backside of the mounting board, also called backing board. You can write on this with any type of pen or marker, but it is wise to ensure that the ink does not bleed or show through.

If you are writing on the dust cover, which is located at the back of the frame and protects the frame contents, make sure that you either write the message before you attach the dust cover or, if it’s already attached, use a very light touch. Dust covers are not thick, as they’re a functional part of the frame that’s not meant for display; if you use a particularly sharp pen or push too hard, you may tear it.

Write on the Mat Board

Dust covers are not meant to last forever, and a mounting board may be replaced — if your message is particularly important, you can put it on display. If you’re planning on writing on mat board, use a pen that won’t fade. Pigment ink pens are a much better choice than dye ink pens, so do not use a ballpoint or fountain pen. Look for gel pens or any other pen that’s labeled “pigment ink,” such as Pigma Micron.

Before writing on the mat board you’ll use for the frame, make sure that you plan out your message as well as the spacing, placement and size beforehand. Practice writing it a few times so that you’re sure you won’t make a mistake. If you do, however, don’t worry: you can always order another mat board cut to size.

Paint the Frame

Take your personalized picture frame gift to the next level and make it DIY project with paint. You can let your imagination run wild:

  • Paint a message or phrase
  • Use painter’s tape for geometric patterns
  • Paint with dots to create intricate designs
  • Use a stencil
  • Create an ombre or two-toned effect

If you’re not sure how to paint a picture frame, simply follow our guide for painting both wood and metal frames.

Don’t Leave an Empty Frame Empty

If your gift is the frame itself, don’t leave it completely empty — frame something temporarily. For example, you could frame a hand-written note instead of a card or even create a fun, personalized postcard. If you have a child, have them draw a special picture. This way, you can show them the frame the way it will look when their own artwork is added.

You can also frame something else just for the fun of it, such as a sheet of stickers, a cartoon clipping or even a photo of their favorite celebrity.

Frame Your Gift

You can include a picture frame as a little something extra even if it isn’t directly part of the gift, especially if they can use the frame later to commemorate the gift they received. For example, frame that pair of concert tickets you’re surprising them with — and then take a picture at the event to frame later. You can frame anything relatively small and flat, such as lottery tickets, a gift card or even some money.

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One thought on “How to Personalize Picture Frames”

  • Star Wars Canvas
    Star Wars Canvas October 8, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    This is a great idea for framing. Adding wall art frame to an interior of a house, room, or an office really helps in making it livelier and aesthetically beautiful. Thank you for sharing this helpful information! I also want to share the ideas I read from


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