DIY Vintage Poster Frame for Greta’s Butterflies

September 26, 2014

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Alternate Title: Greta’s Butterflies

You see, Greta has a thing for butterflies. Her last room had a wall of butterflies above her bed and when we moved I packed them carefully back in the box to be used in her new room and I. cannot. find. that. box! Greta and I opened every unopened box from our move and still no luck. It’s hiding somewhere and I’m still on the hunt.


In the meantime, I needed a backup plan. She still really wanted butterflies in her new room and I wanted to give them to her. Taking inspiration from this piece, I ordered this butterfly specimen poster from Urban Outfitters for $24. The quality is really nice. The paper has an almost canvas feel to it. Greta’s eyes lit up when she saw it, “My butterflies!” She would be happy just having it taped up on her walls, but I, of course, had plans to add a vintage-looking frame before hanging it in her room.


Ta-da! Here’s what I did:


I gathered some 1.5″ thin pine for the back piece and used leftover white oak we had cut to the same size for the front slats. The oak was considerably denser and heavier and I didn’t want to risk ripping the poster (even though it is thick itself), so I used pine on the back. All four slats got a coat of walnut stain.



Then we pre-drilled just what would be the front pieces (the oak in our case) for 2 screws per slat that would connect the front and back pieces of wood once our poster was in between.

photo 4

The last step before sandwiching the poster was attaching my hanging string. I found this cute red and white twine at my craft store. I just eyeballed a string length, tied a little knot and glue gunned it in place. Make sure you flatten that glue dot so your wood pieces will stick together flat, as well!

photo 2

I put a line of glue to adhere the paper to the wood on both ends and when that was set, I also glued the wood together. Even though I was screwing the slats together as well, the glue gun was hot and I figured a little extra enforcement couldn’t hurt.


The last thing I adhered was a little label frame I spray painted gold and slid in an ivory card that I wrote “Greta’s Butterflies” on. I drove four screws into the front slats (2 on top and 2 on bottom) and that was it!




A “vintage” poster hanger in about an hour. Greta has her butterflies again (I think she likes these ones even better!). All is right in the world.

Have the best weekend, you guys!

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What do you think?

  1. Colin says:

    Hey Julia, do you remember where you bought the label frame from? Trying to find something like the one you used but I cannot seem to locate one anywhere! Thanks!


  2. Marlene says:

    ohhh great idea….got a periodic chart at Paper Source for my daughter who is a chemical engineer and couldn’t decide how to frame or mount it….this is PERFECT! Thanks!!!

  3. Ruth says:

    I was inspired by this post to decorate my office and purchased a couple of the Paper Source wrapping paper prints. I stained and cut a free yard stick (Culligan booth giveaway at a home and garden show) and attached clips. I have gotten complements from everyone that walks by! Best project under $10! Thank You!

  4. Christiane says:

    Wow, your handwriting is amazing!

  5. Jen says:

    I know I should be patient for the big reveal, but I’ve been hunting for the right pink for my little girl’s room, and this is it! Any chance you can tell me what color that is?

  6. Macy says:

    Such a great idea! Greta’s room is going to be A-mazing when you’re finished. I can’t wait to see it all put together.

  7. Bethany R says:

    I got a cool map of the world from Paper Source for under $4, sold as wrapping paper (and it looks like its the same size as your butterfly poster)- we just have it hanging on the wall right now with washi tape. I think we’ll give this a try! Thanks for the idea!

  8. Lauren says:

    Glad everyone else has been mentioning Paper Source as well. One of my favorite shops. No biggie (not like this was a $5000k couch someone else was selling way lower), but for your future art, they’ve got a cool selection of stuff.

    But the hanging looks GREAT. We are considering some of Paper Source’s prints for our kitchen/dining area and this might be perfect.

  9. Emily Jane says:

    So charming! I love how it turned out.

  10. Haley says:

    such a cute way to make the poster look a little fancier! Definitely an idea I’m filing away for later.

  11. Kate says:

    I LOVE THIS! I can’t wait to see Greta’s whole room. I’m loving the vintage feel and I’m sure it looks lovely with the green chalkboard. So very sweet!

  12. I really like the simplicity of this frame, instead of going the usual route of putting the art behind glass/plexi and using a four-sided frame. This is perfect for a kid’s room (and obviously Great is so happy!). Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  13. Trilby C. says:

    Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference, isn’t it? So glad that Greta’s happy with it. And now I’ve got inspiration for how to hang more art in my own bedroom!

  14. Victoria says:

    You know this frame is right up my alley. The Ardent Forager used something similar to market a series of vintage posters of the anatomy. There’s an airy feel to this method of framing art. Brava. Beautiful.

  15. Jen says:

    FYI, Paper Source has all of these posters under their Cavallini wrapping paper selection for $4. Not sure why Urban Outfitters sells them for $20 more. Maybe they are printed on different paper, but I don’t think so.

  16. Barbi says:

    I LOVE this project! I was looking at cheap poster frames and was so not impressed by the flimsy plastic options. Not only is this inexpensive, but utterly awesome. Thank you for the inspiration! On another note, I was glad to see a recipe post from Chris recently. I was totally missing those :)

    • Julia says:

      He has been so, so busy at work. I have been doing some cooking. And we have also been doing the Whole30. But he has come up with delicious food even on that program I hope he’ll share soon. Thanks, Barbi!

  17. Emily says:

    Love this frame idea! I got the exact same print at Paper Source for 3.95 awhile back (looks like they still carry it at that price, too) but didn’t know quite what to do with it. I will definitely be hanging it this way sometime soon!

    • Julia says:

      Nooooo!!! I should have shopped a little more. Good find. Is the paper thick? I am just wondering because it is marketed as “wrapping paper.” Amazing find.

      • Alan says:

        I don’t know how it compares to the UO poster, but I was impressed with the quality of Paper Source’s prints. It’s not cardstock or anything, but it’s at least as thick as as 24 lb paper.

      • Emily says:

        Alan is spot on, it is thick paper but not cardstock. I got so lucky, the only reason I found it is because I happened to have a gift card to Paper Source. I am guessing the UO poster might be thicker so if mine doesn’t hold up to mounting this way, I might spring for the poster version.

      • Julia says:

        I bet it is the same exact one. Now I know. :)

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