This Valentine’s Day, we suggest that you create something for your loved one, instead of buying them something; or perhaps mix things up a bit. We know that while a bought gift is always enjoyed, something you make with your own hands, in which you put your heart and soul, is always going to be appreciated more.
We’re going to mix in the beautiful with the useful in this lovely photo holder, and we’re going to help you make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Of course, it can be used for other occasions too, including birthdays, Mother’s Day, name days, anniversaries, and so on.
Materials for lovely photo holder
- thick jewelry wire
- lace ribbon
- pink thread
- paper heart
- wood block
- wood stain
How to make a lovely photo holder
We hope you have everything you need on hand because once you get started, you won’t want to stop to go get something you’re missing. Before we get started, we should discuss the materials a bit. We have a printed out heart, but you can also draw it yourself on a piece of paper if you’re confident you can get a good shape. Then, the nails we chose are thin and short, so you should get similar ones. We also chose a dark wood stain for the project, but you can go for whatever shade you see fit.
Also, we went for some regular pink thread here, but if you want a different color, you can go for that one instead – just make sure the thread is strong and won’t break when you try to tension it a bit. We also used a thick jewelry wire; a smaller gauge indicates a thicker wire, but you don’t want to go too extreme, as it’s going to be more difficult to bend. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s proceed.
Step 1: Stain the wood
Let’s start things off by staining the wood. Get the wood stain (or glaze) you chose, dip in the paintbrush and start adding in the color. Since the raw wood is full of all sorts of ridges, make sure you use a wide brush to cover as much space as possible. Also, you’ll likely need to double down on some areas, so the stain covers the entire wood.
Turn the wood on all sides and apply the stain so the entire piece is covered and protected.
Turn the wood on all sides once more and make sure all areas are covered, including corners and edges.
Step 2: Cut out the heart
For our next step, you want to get the heart drawing and cut it out with your scissors. Once more, if you can draw a good design, you’re good to go, but otherwise, you may want to print it out. Also, we’re going for a plumper heart instead of one of those thin ones.
You will want to let the heart in a square for now, so don’t follow the lines of the drawing.
Step 3: Hammer it in
Now that you have your heart square, it’s time you place it over the block of wood. Get your nails and the hammer and start creating your design.
Place the first nail in the top area of the heart and hammer it in. Careful not to also hammer in your fingertips. You want to hammer all the nails in the same amount, but don’t go all the way. You’ll be stringing the thread off these nails, so go about half-way down.
Keep adding more nails, following the heart contour. You’ll want to add a new nail every half-inch or so.
Take the opportunity to mark up the important areas of the heart – the swell of the top loop, the outer edges, and so on.
Go around the heart, adding in the nails. Try to give the design some symmetry and add the same number of nails left and right.
There you go!
Step 4: Break the heart
Now that all the nails have found their spot, it’s time you started ripping out the paper. You will obviously encounter some difficult areas, but you’ll manage to get it all out if you go slowly.
Step 5: Start stringing the thread
You’ll want to start with the top middle nail. Loop some thread around that nail and tie a double knot.
Bring the thread down and wrap it around the opposing nail. For now, this is the way you’re going to string the thread – working between opposing nails. Keep building loops by doing number 8s with your thread.
Slowly build up the threads maze by going around the block, covering all the nails you put in.
As you progress, you want to go about two rounds going between opposing nails before mixing things up. Now you can start connecting other nails too, in order to give the heart more consistency.
You can also do the contour of the heart by going from one nail to the next, wrapping once around the nail and continuing to the next.
In order to give the design more solidity, keep connecting nails. It will take a bunch of passes before the you can notice the heart is a lot fuller.
When you feel like you’re done, you can tie off a knot and cut the excess thread with some scissors.
Step 6: Shape the hearts
Now that the string art part of the design is done, we’re going to the next step which is shaping another two hearts. These particular hearts will be made out of jewelry wire and it will later hold onto your prettiest picture.
Grab the jewelry wire and work to mold it so it looks like a heart.
This will take a bit of time and effort, especially since wire this thick isn’t very easy to control.
Once you’ve done the heart, give it an extra length of straight wire and then cut it off. We used our scissors and some brute force, but some pliers will work well too if you have any on hand.
For the first heart, you only have to slightly close the wire by bending the end. Don’t worry, we’ll fix this soon.
Start bending another heart out of the jewelry wire.
This time, allow the wires to overlap more in the bottom area as you’ll need the extra length of material.
Straighten out the wire below the heart and give it the same length like the first one has.
Cut off the extra with scissors or pliers if you have any on hand.
Step 7: Join the hearts
Now that both heart pieces are done, you just have to place them together. Line up the hearts and wrap the extra wire you left off the end of the second heart around both of them.
Give the wire a few loops to secure the pieces together. Also, wrap one of the heart “legs” around the other too.
Step 8: Place the hearts
Next, you want to get another nail and your hammer and place it in the middle of the top area of your wood block.
Hammer it in for about half the length and then pull it out by wiggling it around – you want to make the hole a big bigger.
Get your scissors, open them up, and place one of the blades in the hole. Turn it around to make more space.
Get the wire hearts and push them into the hole you just created. Make sure they’re as steady as possible. If you somehow dug the hole too wide, you can always secure the wire with some hot glue, for instance.
Step 9: Add a bow
We also have some lace ribbon on our list of materials. Get that and wrap it around the base of the wire hearts.
Tie a knot and then measure out the ribbon, estimating how much you’re going to need for a bow. Cut off any excess material with your scissors.
Tie a pretty little bow out of lace and tighten it up on the wire.
Voila! We now have an extremely beautiful photo holder that you can gift to someone you love. Add in a picture of you together, and you’ll certainly make a lasting impression on them.
Obviously, the design allows some changes here and there. You can go for a different stain color, pick another thread, choose a silvery wire, use a different type of ribbon and so on. The size of your creation may also vary, depending on how big your wood piece is.
Regardless of what changes you’re going to make, we’re sure it’s going to be a great result. Talking of which, share pictures of your results with us over social media and drop us a comment below.