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Beach Vacation Memories: DIY Sand Photo Frames

I’m so excited to be taking part in Kristen Duke’s Decorating with Pictures blogger series. I’m going to share a fun way to display some of your favorite beach vacation photos with a piece of the beach too!

DIY Sand Photo Frames for a souvenir to display your Beach Vacation Memories family travel

Many years ago, before the days of pinterest and such, my husband and I took a trip to Prince Edward Island Canada. PEI is known for their red clay/sand, and I wanted to take a piece of that sand home with me. I decided to create some photo mat frames using the sand I brought home. They turned out really well, and we’ve received many compliments from guests when they’ve seen them.

Sand Photo Frames

If you’re planning a trip to a beach, a good idea would be to bring a few ziploc baggies. They work well to transport the sand and you can double them up to make sure they don’t get accidentally opened. You can also easily write on the baggies so you can keep the sand identified if you’re visiting different beaches (like on a cruise).

DIY Sand Photo Frames for displaying your beach vacation picture memories family travel

Dry your sand. It might be dry enough after your vacation, but if not you can lay it out on a cookie sheet or such to air dry.

Sift the sand. I recommend you use a fine colander to sift the larger rocky pieces from the sand (the colander shown allowed too many larger stones, so I used a finer colander next). When I brought home the PEI sand it was very fine and I didn’t need to sift it.

Paint your photo mat! This is my number one trick I learned from my first try with the PEI frames. The layer of sand wasn’t uniform and some of the sand was pale so the white frame really did not look nice. So, buy some spray paint or acrylic paint that seems a similar color to the sand (just try to be close).

Apply glue. Okay, I did a way better job on the PEI frames and I think that’s because I made sure the glue was a really even layer. These frames I tried to use some semidry tacky glue and added some water, but it wasn’t thick enough and I missed some spots. When I added some glue to the “missed” spots on the frame above you can see that it was too heavy and you can see the color difference on the sand. The other frame I tried white school glue, but just applied it with my finger because I couldn’t find a brush, and it was uneven. Hence the uneven sand — although that one still looks good in a rough way. Also, this sand was from our local PNW beaches and it’s much rougher than the smooth PEI sand, so I think that made a difference.

Apply sand. I poured the sand all over the glue then pushed down with a paper towel along the frame. You could perhaps try a rolling pin. You want the sand to get pushed into the glue. Then give it a minute or two and tip the frame up so the excess drops off. Next you lay it flat and let it dry.

DIY Beach Sand Photo Frames - display your family beach photos travel

There you have it — a cute (and fairly quick) way to display your beach vacation photos with a piece of the beach too! I even found this cute summer beach print at Mama Miss to hang alongside my new sand frames. Be sure to jump over to Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke and see all the other great decorating with photos posts as well as some great giveaways!

Decorating with Pictures February Series

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  1. I wish I would have seen this before our trip to Oregon last October! I found you through Kristen’s blog, it’s so exciting to find another Seattle blogger :)

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