5 Craft Projects Using Things From Your Yard


Nature-Inspired Photo Frame

A homemade seashell frame, like the one pictured here, is the perfect mate for a beach vacation photo.
A homemade seashell frame, like the one pictured here, is the perfect mate for a beach vacation photo.
iStockphoto/Robert Churchill

Have you ever bought a picture frame only to be disappointed by that decision later? You're not alone. Regrettable picture frame purchases clutter garages, attics and closets worldwide. Instead of wasting space or trashing something that's still useful, you could give those unwanted frames a nature-inspired makeover turning them into gems to keep in your home or give as gifts. All it takes is some found items, a little effort and time. Soon, your only worry will be finding a picture worthy enough for that refurbished frame.

To get started, the next time you head out for a walk, pretend that you're on a treasure hunt. Take along a medium-sized tote bag and some tissue paper (for wrapping fragile items). Gather anything that catches your eye -- leaves, twigs, rocks, bark and even feathers. If you're a beachcomber, you might find seashells, sand dollars, pebbles and sea glass. Any of these items could turn a tacky frame into a stylish treasure.

After you have a collection of perfect items, break out the glue and go to work. For heavy, oddly shaped items, a hot glue gun might work best, but other glues and epoxies should work OK, too. A little glue and a lot of imagination can turn that old frame into something you will love.

If you're feeling especially craftsy, you could use fallen branches or driftwood to build your own frame from scratch. Just cut four lengths of wood, either all four the same size, or in matching pairs. Use a hammer and nails to secure them into a square or rectangle. Place your picture on a spare photo mat, or cardboard, which should be cut slightly larger than the window of the frame. Secure the mat to the frame with thumbtacks or hot glue and you have your own unique, homemade picture frame.

Next, find out how you can use natural items to dress up your table.