DIY Dowel Decor: Modern Printables Frames.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

diy dowel decor modern printables frames with raccoon image
Here's a totally fun little dowel decor project:  DIY modern printables frames.  These are what you see hanging above that spiffy Smart $40 Canvas Drop Cloth Headboard.

What's great about this project?  You get completely custom, customized frames, no one will have the same as you, they're darn cheap to make, plus you can make them in under fifteen minutes.  Give or take on that timeframe, but generally.

Fast, easy, modern, chic, did I mention custom...this project checks all the boxes.  Dowels, they're fun!

diy dowel decor modern printables frames on wall
Plus, as a bonus, I'll teach you how to make your own photo corners which is a fantastic little DIY that will save you from buying (and losing) a large quantity of the store-bought version.  If you've used photo corners before, you'll understand the losing part.  

Though nowadays, it looks like they're stickers* rather than in the olden days when they were loose and you had to dampen them and they scattered like roaches when you sighed.  Huh. 

Well, save yourself some money anyway and make them!  Custom!

Ok!  What do you need for these DIY dowel decor modern printables frames?  Not much!
Pick up the dowels at a dollar store,* at a hardware store, craft and hobby store like Michaels* or over at Joann Fabrics,* a home improvement store like Home Depot,* or even a local lumber store.  That last locale, you might be able to find dowels in fancier types of wood.

But is the cost comparable to buying a frame?, you're wondering.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Depends on where you purchase your materials or if you have most of the items.  Having a completely custom DIY dowel decor frame, I mean, that's priceless though, right?

So these are crazzzzyyyy easy.  

About the printables....mine came from Etsy* though there are a slew, an utter slew, of printables out there on the interwebs.  Supporting artists with a few dollars goes a long way though and I encourage it.  

Via Etsy, you can download the art instantly then either print it at home or ship it off to print via online ordering at an office supply store, print shop, or places like a FedEx or UPS store.  

The handy thing too about Etsy prints is that many are scaled for different sizes already; just upload the size you want, choose the size option online, and send it off to print.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Here are the raccoon prints I purchased:  the sketchy line* one, the watercolor-y one,* here's the minimal one,* and then here's one* I have yet to print though it's going in a larger, bland conventional frame.  Yawn, heh.

Oh, did you know too that Etsy is on Rakuten?  Yeah.  So earn some cash back for your purchases.  You can sign up for Rakuten here.*

To start, cut up some dowel pieces in random (or measured if you like) sizes.  I used a variety of different sizes and shapes, mostly leftover from my recessed can light shades.  Key to note here though, however you cut them, plan to have enough at the top of your frame to hide the hanging hardware.

supplies for dowel frames
So just arrange your dowel pieces in whichever way you like as a dry run.  Along the sides, the top, the bottom.  Arrange and rearrange until you find an arrangement you like best.

Carefully peel back some of the protective plastic on one side of your acrylic sheet and stick your dowels down.

gluing dowels to acrylic sheet
I had a spot of trouble here, hence the multiple glues I listed above.  I tried hot glue, things fell off.  I tried super glue, things fell off.  I tried the Fuze It and while it was the best option, it had the longest dry time.  Though in some areas, all of the listed glues worked in some capacity.

I mean, you might try that E6000 glue* but I personally have zero luck with it.  It never sticks anything to anything.  Ever.  But, if it works for you, please give it a whirl. 

.....Zero luck.  I watch quick crafty videos sometimes, they're using that glue, and I just shake my head.  Don't get it.


Once the glues have dried, flip your masterpiece DIY dowel decor modern printables frames over and now you'll glue the hanging hardware to the back, hidden from view thanks to the dowels on the front.

gluing picture hanging hardware to acrylic sheet
Let it dry.  Thoroughly.  I heard several a crash only to find glue fail after glue fail.

dil dowel decor modern printables frame ready for art
Ready for art!
Now, to make the photo corners, easy peasy lemon squeezy again.  The internets have many a guide but I followed this one and it literally just could not be any more straightforward.

Get some paper, any kind you want, ribbon, trim, whatever.  Slice the paper down to about a half inch or so strips, however much you want the corner to inset over your image.  Use a straight edge* and an Xacto knife* to get straight, clean edges.

Fold the strip ninety degrees, perpendicular to the long piece, to make a forty five degree angle.

making diy photo corners with paper strip
Fold the other side to match making a nice sharp point.  You may want to give a little bend towards the middle, folding the sides up a hair.


Bam.  Sweet!  A ten second photo corner for your dowel decor modern printables frames, two DIY's in one!

Print up your printables, trim them to size if need be.

trimming artwork for framing
I had a special guest!  TFA Finn though he wasn't much of an assistant here.  And FYI, always trim with the waste side out so you don't accidentally slice your art up.

diy photo corners pile
Really this is an excuse to show Finn.  Note the sawdust on him.  He's my boy.

taping corners to artwork
Tape the corners to the artwork.
Slide the photo corner over your image's corner and stick it down with regular tape then stick the artwork to the acrylic with some double sided tape.*  

taping artwork to acrylic frame
Finn's over it.  "Mommy, go away, I was sleeping."

Voila!  DIY Dowel Decor, modern printables frames!  Cute, right?
diy dowel decor modern printables frame
Now go hang everything up, stand back and admire your fancy pants custom self.

diy dowel decor modern printables frames hanging on wall

*The photo corners, acrylic sheets, dowels, picture hanging hardware, hot glue, hot glue guns, super glue, Fuze It, double sided tape, cork backed straight edges, and Xacto knives are Amazon affiliate links.  The dollar store link is a Dollar Tree affiliate link.  Michaels, Joann Fabrics, and Home Depot links are the respective affiliate links as well.  The Etsy links are Etsy affiliate links.  The Rakuten cash back link is a referral link.  We each get $30 if you sign up then spend $30.  Whew!  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab" for more info.


  1. Absolutely fabulous! What I particularly love about them is the slight design variation in each that makes for a very sophisticated look. Oh...and they look amazing against black. SO well done!!!

    1. Thank you so much! Therein lies the fun, the possibilities are endless! Thank you! xo

  2. These frames are so cute and easy to make. Thanks for putting your efforts are sharing this with us. It is very helpful.

    1. Terrific, so thrilled you like them! It’s a fun and easy project. Thanks!


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