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Picture Frame Vase Surround

Display family memories with this four-photo frame that doubles as an inexpensive planter.

Frame vase on a table.

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Miter saw
  • Drill and bit set
  • Jigsaw with fine-tooth blade
  • Tape measure
  • Scratch awl
  • Clamps
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Wood glue
  • 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape


  • 1/4 x 6 x 48 poplar board
  • 1/2 x 36 square poplar dowel
  • 24-in x 18-in x .08-in clear acrylic sheet, #78778
  • Glazier points, #58230
  • Quart-size empty paint can, #27318
  • Felt pads, #54062
  • Valspar spray paint, metallic gold
  • Sherwin-Williams paint, Show Stopper, #HGSW1052

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online


Step 1

From the 1/4 x 6 board, cut four sides (A) 6-1/2 inches long. Then cut the bottom (B) to 5-1/4 inches square. From the 1/2-inch square dowel, cut four corner braces (C) 6-1/4 inches long.

Good to Know

To keep your fingers a safe distance from the blade, cut from the longest board available or tape short pieces to a longer scrap piece you can hold safely. For the sides and corner braces, use a stop block on your saw for consistent lengths.

Step 2

Drill holes in frame corners.

Download and print the Picture Frame Vase Project Diagram. Then make four copies of the Frame Cutout Guide (Drawing 1). Tape a copy of the guide to a side (A). Mark the locations of the four corner holes with an awl or sharp nail and drill the 1/2-inch holes. Repeat for the remaining three sides.

Good to Know

If you have a drill press, save time by stacking the sides and taping them together. Tape the Picture Frame Vase Project Diagram to the top and drill holes through all four sides.

Step 3

Draw lines between corner holes.

On a side (A), draw lines between the outside edges of the holes to form rectangles with rounded corners (Frame Cutout Guide). Using a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade, cut along the lines to remove the center. Sand away the saw marks using 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper. Repeat for the remaining sides.

Step 4

Clamp brace to frame.

Glue and clamp a corner brace (C) along the narrow edge of a side (A) with the ends flush at the top and a 1/4-inch gap at the bottom (Frame Side Assembly, Drawing 2). Repeat for the remaining three sides to create four identical frame side assemblies.

Step 5

Glue and clamp frame side assemblies to each other with the faces and edges flush (Exploded View, Drawing 3). (The edge of an adjoining side will compensate for the offset position of the frame cutout on each face.) Check that all of the corners are square.

Step 6

Glue the recessed bottom ends of the braces (C) and press the bottom (B) firmly against them. After the glue dries, sand the outside of the surround with 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper. Spray-paint the entire surround (metallic gold shown). Then paint two opposite faces of the surround red (Show Stopper shown).

Step 7

Drive glazier points into braces.

Cut four clear inserts to fit between the corner braces and 5-1/2 inches tall. Use the inserts as a guide to trim your photos and cardboard backing to size. Place a photo against the plastic and top it with a cardboard backer, then rest all three between a pair of braces. Drive glazier points into the braces to hold the pieces in place.

Good to Know

If you have trouble driving the glazier points, start the hole with the tip of a utility knife blade. Press gently to avoid bending the prongs of the points.

Step 8

Display four of your favorite pictures in this box that can also be used to hold a flower pot or cut-flower arrangement. --Lowe’s Creative Ideas

Add the flowerpot of your choice to the surround, or place cut flowers in an empty quart paint can.