My Clever Collage: The Photo Frame Collage Gift Box


Birthdays are really fun, especially if one of your loved ones is the one celebrating! Birthdays are double the fun if you love making special gifts! I am the person that loves making surprise gifts for my loved ones and wrapping them in a unique way! So if you want to surprise someone with your fun gift wrapping techniques, just keep on reading!

I love making cool gifts and I especially love wrapping them up in a unique and surprising way. In this tipster I will be showing you how I created my latest gift box, the lomo way! It is actually the first time that I wrapped a gift in a form of a mixed media collage and also gave it a utility.

To be more precise, I created my clever collage on the box in which I placed the gift, and gave it the form of a photo frame. This way, the gift recipient did not only have to keep the actual gift, but also the box (which can be used for hidden storage as a clever photo frame collage).

So, here we go! Bear in mind that you will need some time to make this collage as it consists of many layers which need to be very carefully blended together. I did this collage (including the box) in about two and a half hours.

What you need:

  • A pair of scissors
  • One cutter
  • A pencil
  • A roll of good double sided sticky tape (preferably a wider one – I used a 4.5 cm wide roll)
  • A ruler
  • A black permanent marker
  • Smooth, thin black leather (if you can’t find any you can use some hard black cardboard)
  • The striped cardboard pieces that you can find in your Diana F+ box and your Diana 35mm Back box (if you don’t have one of those you can use any colorful thin cardboard, wrapping paper or cardboard from any Lomography box)
  • Two A3 white paper sheets (it is better to get thicker sheets so that the color of the box will not be visible at all)
  • Some tracing paper (I used some semi transparent wrapping cellophane which had a random pattern, but as it is hard to find, some tracing paper on which you can draw a random pattern with a white marker will do the trick)
  • Some of your most beautiful lomographs, one of which must be with the birthday boy or girl (I used two 13/18 cm printed photos)
  • A gift box (mine had these dimensions: 30cm in Length, 23cm in Width and 6cm in Height)

How to Assemble

Step 1: Measure the gift! Length, width and height are all important! Find a box that will fit your gift. The box that I used was perfect for a magazine and a toy car. I did not use the original box (which was a large one from Ikea); It was the only one I found that would perfectly fit the height of my gift, so I modified its length and width by cutting it and reassembling its right and top side. So, in order to better understand, here is a drawing that describes the process.

Tip: you can slightly carve the cardboard with a cutter so you can bend it more easily. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Then you can use a ruler to bend the cardboard.

Step 2: Get the A3 white paper sheets and starts sticking them on the box. You need to completely cover the box with the white sheets. This way you will have better adherence for the following layers and the color/colors of the box will not be seen. To do this, just apply double sided tape on all the faces of the box, then start sticking the paper on it. When needed cut the paper with a cutter. Press the paper on the box with your hands thoroughly so that it will be very well fixed.

Tip:It is better to do this step on a flat, solid and clean surface so that the paper will not get dirty.

Step 3: Gently mark the edges of the photo that you will use in the center of your photo frame with a pencil. You will need these markings so that you know where not to apply double sided tape. Do not apply double sided tape where the photo will be put! The photo will be held by the layers which will be applied on the margins of the photo frame. This way the recipient of the gift can change the photo whenever he or she wants without destroying the bottom white layer.

Step 4: Prepare the pieces of striped cardboard from the Lomography boxes. For the two lengths of the box you will need the long pieces of red and black cardboard from the Diana 35mm Back box. They are 4 cm in width and you will need to bend them in half. For this, draw a fine line in the middle, on the back of the cardboard and then carefully bend it with the help of a ruler. Measure them so that they are each 30 cm long and cut them.

Take the inside green cardboard from your Diana F+ box and cut the larger margins. They are already bent so all you have to do is to mark the place where they will be set on the box.

Good. Now, the long red pieces of cardboard will be set on the left and right margins of the box. You will need to mark the place where they will be set by putting them on the box and drawing a fine line with a pencil. Do the same with the small green pieces of cardboard by placing them on the middle of the top and bottom of the box.

Tip: This will help you know where to place the bottom layers of the collage so that no white spaces will remain on the margins of the photo frame.

Step 5: Now the fun layering part begins! On the right side of the box you will add some pointy shapes of leather. To give them some dimension, I used some semi transparent wrapping cellophane. What you have to do to get this step right is to have patience! Start from the bottom corner and make your way up, following the two guidelines made at the previous steps:

  • Do not apply sticky tape where the photo will be placed (the leather shapes must cross that line so that they will be able to hold the photo in place, but no double sided tape must be put on the parts of the shapes that cross the pencil guideline!)
  • The right side of the shapes must cross the pencil guideline on the right (which corresponds to the long red cardboard pieces) so that the cardboard pieces will be placed over them and keep them in place.


  • Do not use too many pointy leather shapes! The whole ensemble will become too thick and the cardboard pieces that will come over them will not be able to hold them in place.
  • Cut the excess tape before sticking the shapes on the box.
  • Leave about 2.5 cm from the left side of the shapes without sticky tape on them so that the photo will have enough space.
  • Put some semi transparent paper between some of the shapes so that your collage will gain some depth.

Step 6: Put a two 2 cm wide and 17 cm long strips of leather on the bottom and on the top of the face of the box starting from the guideline that shows until where the green cardboard will be put. Stick the two pieces of green cardboard on the box with the wider side on the face of the box. Cut a 3 cm wide and 32 cm long strip of leather and stick it on the left side of the face of the box so that 2 cm of its width will be visible after the red piece of cardboard will be placed and so that it will be on top of the green cardboard. Stick the two pieces of bent red cardboard on the left and on the right side of the box, over the strip of leather (on the left) and over the leather shapes (on the right).

Tip: Press each layer thoroughly!

Step 7: Cut two 6 cm wide and 23 cm long pieces of leather and stick them on the lid and on the bottom side of the box so that they cover the small green cardboard pieces. Cut two 4.5 cm wide and 30 cm long pieces of leather and stick them on the right and left side of the box so that they slightly cover the red cardboard strips.

Tip: Put the double sided tape on the leather and then stick it to the box.

Step 8: Cut the second photo that you will use in a funky shape and place it on the bottom left corner over all the other layers being careful not to place sticky tape in the portion where the main photo will be placed. Put the main photo in your photo frame and start doodling some shapes on the margins with a permanent marker. This way your composition will gain some cohesion and all the layers will be perfectly blended!
You can leave the back of the box blank as I did , continue creating another photo frame, make a collage out of more photos, draw something or write a cool birthday message!

Tip: Do not worry that the doodles will be ruined if the photo will be replaced! Because you will draw some abstract lines, when the photo will be changed the lines can be redone!

This is my final result! Hope you like it!

Also, please remember that this gift box slash photo frame was created for a gift that had some specific dimensions! If your gift is bigger than this you will need to adjust the dimensions of the box! Take your time, take all the necessary measurements and don’t rush the creative process! Who knows what great ideas will blow your mind! By the way… I realized that the final result of my work will also be a photo frame only half way through my work and when I began working on the gift box I only intended to make a cool wrapping paper out of some photos and some colored paper! So, please get creating and share your gift wrapping ideas lomo style!

written by lucretia on 2012-01-18 #gear #tutorials #birthday #box #tipster #collage #romania #constanta #photo-frame #hand-craft #mixed-media #clever-collage #gift-box

One Comment

  1. xomichelle
    xomichelle ·

    wow great tip my bf will love this

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