Written by 2:12 pm Projects

DIY Quick Change Picture Frame for Kids Art

If you have preschool or elementary school-aged kids you probably have tons of beautiful artwork all over your house. Maybe it’s taped to the walls. Maybe it’s in a stack on your counter. Maybe it’s stuck to the fridge with magnets. Whatever your situation, if you’re like us, you have a ton.

I was thinking of a way to display this art that looked nice but was easy to swap out since it seems like every day our little Frida Kahlo is bringing in something new.

A quick search of Google for Easy Change Kids Art Frames brings up some great solutions! But at anywhere from $20 – $30 for each frame, that’s a bit high for my debit card so I decided to make my own based on a tutorial I stumbled across on the website, A Beautiful Mess

This is a quick-change frame that solves my problem of displaying the art while making it really easy to swap out. I mean who wants to take down the frame, unclip the back, open it up, swap out the art, clip the back on, and then re-hang when all you need to do is open this up, take out the art, put the new one in, and close.

Watch the video or follow the steps below to create your very own quick-change frames!

Tool List

Material List



I ordered 9 x 12 picture frames as that seems to be the size of paper that our school uses for art projects. I’d suggest getting a frame that will fit the majority of what you’re seeing come home.

Also, to hopefully avoid any confusion I’ll refer to the purchased frame as the “front frame” and the frame that we’re going to build as the “back frame” since it goes on… well… the back… Okay let’s get cracking on.

Step 1

Remove the backer board from your front frames and lay it flat on your work surface.

Step 2

Grab your rectangular dowels (or cut to-size scrap wood); hold tight against the top of the frame and mark.

Step 3

Cut your marked dowels with the miter saw (or hand saw). PRO TIP: cut both sides at once to save some time.

Step 4

Place your freshly cut sides against the backer board and take a fresh dowel (or scrap) and hold it against the short side and mark.

Step 5

Cut the sides.

Step 6

Bring your freshly cut sides back to the backer board and you should now have a frame that surrounds the entire thing.

Step 7

Glue and clamp all the pieces together and let dry. You can add a brad nail here if you’d like, I did one set with brad nails and one set without, there’s no difference. It just adds a level of comfort I guess.

Step 8

Once dry, sand down with 120 grit sandpaper and then paint. I used white to match the front frame however you can use whatever color you’d like. PRO TIP: This is a great activity to get the kids involved (just use drop cloths and aprons!

Optional Step

Once the paint is dry, go back and give this a light sanding with 220 or 320-grit sandpaper, and then put on a second coat of paint. This will just give a smoother finish than with a single coat.

Step 9

Take your dry back frames and place them on a flat work surface then plop in the backer from the original frame. You’ll want to do this so the frame leg is facing you. Take your hot glue gun (I used black hot glue but you can use clear) and glue the backer into your frame. Your backer may be a little warped for whatever reason so just glue this in one side at a time while holding it flat against your work surface.

Step 10

Take your front frame and place it next to the backer frame (the frame leg should now be facing the table). Now attach the frames. Before screwing them in, drill pilot holes to avoid cracking the wood. You can use a piece of painter’s tape to act as a depth guide.

When screwing in the screws to the hinges, use a hand screwdriver again to avoid damaging the screw and the wood.

Step 11

We’re in the home stretch family! Now that we have our two frames hinged together we need to add something to make up for the half inch of space that is now missing since we removed the glass, mat, and backer board. To do this, cut down some cardboard boxes to the size of the interior of the front frame, minus 1/8” on all sides. I needed to use two pieces of cardboard for each frame due to the various thicknesses. Just experiment here to see how many you need. Alternatively, you can pick up some foam board from your local craft store. It’s already pretty thick so you may just need one or two pieces per frame. I used cardboard because I have a TON of it… thanks, Christmas…

Step 12

Once you have your pieces cut down just hot glue them onto the backer board.

Step 13

Add your hanging hardware. If you have a 3D printer go ahead and use this file that I remixed from the Thingiverse.

If you don’t have a 3D printer then pick up some canvas hangers from here. I can’t vouch for these but they look like they will work just fine.

Step 14

Add the art, hang on the wall and marvel at the creative genius of your child.