DIY Tea Light Photo Frame

DIY Tea Light Photo Frame DIY Tea Light Photo Frame DIY Tea Light Photo FrameI have been dying to hang a few of these portraits of Trey and I in our home. You might remember that earlier this year we spent a month living and working from Los Angeles. I lived there for a few years after college (you can read more about that story here), but Trey had never really experienced the city as an adult, and since we both can do the majority of our jobs online, we decided to do something a little nuts and live in a different city for a whole month! It was really fun and special. A few of our friends were in town at the same time and so Elise, being the sweetheart she is, offered to take some pictures of us at the beach (something we just can’t do in Missouri. Ha!). I LOVE the photos she took of us. So I was really excited to frame some for our home. I created the frames for these and I love how they turned out. They are simple, a little modern, (but still earthy with the raw wood look), and the tea lights add a little touch of romance/cozy vibes.

I like the look of the real tea lights, but as with any candles or candle features in your home, remember to never leave an open flame when you go to sleep or leave your house. You also would not want these in reach of any kiddos or cats. And remember that you could absolutely use electric tea lights instead—no supervision needed for those. 🙂

This project is in partnership with our friends at Canon USA. If you’ve been reading the blog long, you know that we love our Canon printers for crafting as well as printing photos at home. The photos I printed for this project, using my PIXMA TS9020, are super special to me and I love how deep the black areas, as well as the colors, turned out. The prints have the same rich, warm tone that the photos have—so pretty.

DIY Tea Light Photo Frame These frames are super simple to make, but you will need a few tools to get started. Trey bought me a miter saw years ago and that’s really useful if you’re wanting to create wood projects with angles (like these 45° angles around the frame). But I’ll also share how you could pull off creating these frames with only a drill if you needed. 🙂

Canon printerFirst, here’s a super quick video tutorial for this project. See how easy it is! Don’t be afraid to use a few power tools, friends. The projects you make can still be super quick and cute to execute, plus you’ll feel like a DIY goddess (or god—we welcome all deity genders here).

For this project, here is what you need:

-wood glue
-sandpaper or sanding block (fine to super fine)
-picture hardware
-printed photos (from my PIXMA TS9020)
-tea lights (see note at the end of this post)

miter saw OR pre cut wood
-power drill and spade or forstner drill bit

Step One: Cut your wood. How much wood you need will depend on how many frames and what size you want to create. I made three frames that each hold an 8×8-inch picture. So each side needed to be 11 inches (then cut in with the angles, so only the outer edges end up being 11 inches). So I needed a total of 11 feet of 2×4 wood. I then used my miter saw to cut the wood and the 45° degree angles. If you want to complete this project without a saw, you can get your wood cut for you (or buy the size you need) with straight edges. If you go this route, it will probably look a little more polished to add wood filler to the seams and then paint the frames after that’s dry. Since I wanted to leave my wood looking raw, I think the 45° angled edges was the way to go for my project. But you’ve got options!

How to cut 45 degree angles in woodStep Two: Use the drill and drill bit to add the holes where the tea lights will go. If you plan to use real tea lights, it’s best to add your holes farther to one edge (the edge you want facing forwards), so the light will be farther away from the picture.

You can use either a spade bit or a forstner bit, either will work. I decided to try out a forstner bit this time as I’ve used spade bits in the past, and I was curious how they would compare. I did think the forstner bit was easier to use, but it’s quite a bit more expensive than a spade bit, so I am not sure if it’s THAT much easier or cleaner. So either one will work here; I mention both in case you already have one or another already.

Step Three: Add a small amount of wood glue to the seams and glue them together. Use clamps to secure them in place until they dry (check your glue but usually wood glue suggests you clamp for 30 minutes and then allow 24 hours for it to be totally dry). Then add the L-bracket hardware to the back edges.

How to make a tea light photo frameStep Four: Print your photos, trim, and tape in place. This part’s easy. 🙂

Step Five: Add the picture hanger hardware and you’re ready to add your tea lights and hang!

DIY Tea Light Photo Frame DIY Tea Light Photo Frame Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Video: Statler Visual Co. Music: Jeremy Larson. 

  • This is so effortlessly creative. You just saved me a ton of thinking for frame ideas.

  • That is the cutest idea ever! I love it!

    Cat //

  • I love how simplistic these are, but the depth of the frame really makes for a beautiful design!

    Becky x ||

  • UGH these photos are so stunning! It’s only fitting they be put on display in your home!

  • This is such a cute idea!! I absolutely love how the wood looks when its hung on the wall

    Abi | abistreetx

  • I love photos
    New post:

  • My son is a first responder and I showed this post. He said it’s perfectly safe, just don’t light the candles.

  • The first thought I had when I saw this project was was “Oh no! Fire hazard!” Not only is there photo paper next to the flame (highly flammable) but the raw wood on each side is just waiting to catch fire. Tea lights put off a surprising amount of heat. I have a very scary memory of a decorative, wall-mounted candle holder catching fire when I was a young girl and very quickly the wall was in flames. Ours was made of metal, not wood, but it held multiple tea lights closely together. I hate to sound negative because I love this blog so much, but I would hate something unsafe to happen to anyone making this project. I agree with your idea at the end for electric tea lights! 🙂

    • Hi Hailey! Thanks for bringing that up! We totally understand. 🙂 We actually moved a disclaimer closer to the beginning of the post.

  • These are really neat, and I LOVE real flame as opposed to fake – but have you lit them yet? I’m wondering about the heat against the image (as well as the top of the frame), and how long it would last.

  • These are so creative and beautiful! I never thought of three-dimensional photo frames, much less candle lit ones. How romantic.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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