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How to Upcycle Cardboard into a DIY Photo Display Board

Like everyone else these days, I take far too many photos on my phone – specifically of my two sons.

This tutorial is all about how I made an upcycled DIY photo display board to display some of those photos instead of leaving them on my phone where I rarely see them!

 I saw an IKEA photo display board for sale second hand in a charity shop and bought it with the intention of printing out more photos of my sons.  

But as I have two sons – and I like to be even handed about everything – I also got to thinking how could I make a DIY Photo Display Board in a similar style out of stuff I already have?  Here is how! 

IKEA photo display board
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
DIY Photo Display Board
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Materials Needed – DIY Photo Display Board:

DIY upcycled photo display board materials

Step 1: Cut your Cardboard & Fabric to size

cutting the fabric DIY photo display board
cut fabric to size for photo display board

The IKEA version I was copying was basically a canvas print with twine stabled to the back of it.  If I had a spare canvas or old picture I didn’t want I probably would have stapled the fabric to that, but I didn’t have one to hand so I went with cardboard.  

I had a large A2 envelope so it was thick and in one piece.  You could cut down a larger box to the size you want and/or tape pieces together to get the shape and thickness you are looking for.  

It doesn’t need to be a rectangle either.  You could make this whatever shape you want!  

Once you have your cardboard selected the first step is to cut your fabric to size.  I literally laid my spare fabric down on top of my cardboard and cut around leaving about a 5cm excess beyond each edge of the cardboard.

Step 2: Iron your Fabric

iron fabric before attaching to cardboard

An important step for this project is to iron your fabric before attaching it to your cardboard backing.  

I laid my fabric pattern side down on top of an old towel and ironed it on the floor as it was a fairly large piece.

Step 3: Glue Fabric to Cardboard Backing

folding corners for DIY photo display board
folding corners for DIY photo display board

I was originally going to staple the fabric onto the cardboard until I realised my staples were too long and they would poke through the other side!  

So in the end I opted for spray adhesive to attach my fabric to my cardboard backing to make my DIY photo display board.  Another option might be strong double sided tape.  

Whatever way you are attaching it the most important part to get a neat finish is how you fold your fabric at the corners.  

See the images above for how I did it.  

Using spray adhesive is fairly simple.  I folded my fabric into place first, weighed it down with the sellotape and twine to stop it unfolding and then lifted the fabric where I wanted the glue and sprayed.  

It only takes about a minute to get tacky and then you just press down firmly.

Make a Kid’s bookcase out of Cardboard Boxes

Step 4: Add your Twine

twine for DIY photo display board
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
twine for DIY photo display board
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

The next step is to add your twine.  

Rather than measure it, I just tied it around where I wanted it and cut the ends off after I had secured it with a double knot.  

I didn’t have any specific distance between the pieces of twine either. I  just eyeballed what looked good to me.  

You can choose more or fewer rows of twine depending on what you are intending to display.  I intend to use this for 6×4 and 5×7 photos and maybe some event tickets and other small mementos. 

As you can see from the fourth photo above I also used sellotape to secure my twine in place as otherwise, no matter how tightly you tie it, there is a chance it will move.  

See the step below for how I did this.  

Step 5: Securing the Twine with Sellotape

securing the twine in place on diy photo display board
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
twine for DIY photo display board
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I used rather a lot of sellotape as that is what I had to hand.  If you have duct tape or strong packaging tape you could probably use less as it will be stronger.

The first image above is the pattern I used to put my sellotape down.  I basically criss crossed and overlapped to secure the twine and stop individual pieces of tape from coming loose.

Step 6: Attaching the Board to the Wall

DIY photo display board

Because the final board was so light I decided to attach it to the wall with four small panel pin style nails.  

I actually have another DIY notice board I made that used an old picture frame as the base.  Because that one is essentially hung on the wall with a wire, like a picture, it tends to get knocked a lot and go a bit off kilter, so I prefer the idea of having this one secure to the wall on all four corners!

Finished DIY Photo Display Board made from Cardboard!

photo display board from cardboard DIY
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

That’s your DIY Photo Display Board finished.  

The last step is just to use your mini photo pegs and get creative displaying your photos and momentos.  

Don’t hang anything too heavy obviously but photos and leaflets like the Thomas the Tank Engine Day Out flyer at the bottom have been holding up on this just fine.  

I am enjoying picking more photos to get printed to stick up so we can actually look at them and say ‘do you remember when we went there?’

DIY photo display board tutorial

How to Upcycle Cardboard into a DIY Photo Display Board

Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 5

Create a cheap and easy Photo Display Board using leftover fabric, cardboard and twine.


  • Cardboard
  • Spray Adhesive or double sided tape


  • Fabric
  • Twine
  • Sellotape
  • Mini pegs for photos


  1. Cut your cardboard & fabric to size
  2. Iron your fabric
  3. Glue fabric to cardboard backing
  4. Add your twine
  5. Securing the twine with sellotape
  6. Attaching the board to the wall

If you liked it – Pin it!

DIY Photo display board form cardboard upcycle project

Looking for more upcycled Decor Ideas? Try our tutorial for making trinket bowls from takeaway noodle containers.

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