Matchbox Frame DIY // Tiny Art Week

A lot of what I deem tiny art is really just tiny junk, but with sentimental strings attached. It typically is banished to sock drawers or coin jars, never to be admired or talked about. We must, as tiny art supporters, put an end to all that under-appreciation!   All that precious junk needs is a lovely little home–this matchbox frame DIY is perfect  for your tiny treasures! My sister Eirene (who you’ll be lucky enough to hear from tomorrow!!) came up with the original matchbox frame (more on that later), but here I’ve come up with a few different variations, all of which are amazing. They are my tiny little frame-pets, and I love them.

mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_12

Now to it. First of all, print off my matchbox frame templates, and then pick yourself up some of those mini little matchboxes. I had to look pretty hard for these, babies. In Walmart, they are NOT with other picnic items (they only have the large boxes there), but with the houseware/tupperware stuff. All I can remember was they were near the nutcracker. Don’t ask.
mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_1

For the black art-deco matchbox frame, draw on a scant quarter inch border, then add some squares in the corners (see templates). Bust out the exacto and make quick work of it. Touch up any edges that needed cleaning up with a sharp pair of scissors.

mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_2

For the showcase matchbox frame, simply measure and cut down the center of the outer sleeve, and then trace and cut a cool design on both sides (see templates again). mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_3

Glue (Elmer’s) the sleeve back on at the sides. mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_4

For the fancy matchbox frame, cut out a cool design from cardboard (templates here), mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_5

and then paint it and your other frames. The showcase and art-deco frames are all one color, but for the fancy frame, paint the box portion white. See top picture for reference. mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_6

After everything is dry, trace around your matchbox onto some pretty corrugated paper (or any other nice paper), cut it out, and pop it into the backs of the frames.
mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_9

Your showcase and art-deco frames are done at this point, but for the fancy frame, hot-glue the cut-out-fanciness on top of the painted box portion. mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_7

Round up all your little treasures. Here’s  my booty: A centavo from Argentina (where I served a mission) that I flattened by putting on the train tracks , a pressed flower that Josie picked on a nature walk, an old Mia Made broach that I got with some trinkets I got from my grandma, a pin from Taiwan where my husband served his mission (love that it says Touch Your Heart!!!), and last but not least a very old Goodyear button (1851) that I got along with other antique buttons one year from my brother for Christmas.mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_8

I used tacky wall putty (what’s it called?? We call it Goma) to both stick the trinkets into the frames, and then also stick the frames to the wall. It’s easily removable, and the trinkets are easily swapped out. 

Now my tiny little Mia Maid broach shines with these other pressed flowers from Argentina (each frame holds flowers from a city I lived in).  mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_10

mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_15

My showcase frame and defaced Argentine currency now shines a top my gallery, (as well as ties in that minty green color!)

And that happy little Taiwan pin completes a sweetheart vignette in our bedroom. (Other explanations: foo foo was my high school/college term depicting romance lovin’ received at any level, the shoes are a sketch I did years ago, the torn playing card is proof of Allan’s incredible marksmanship via Scout camp, and that lovely print is from Caitlin’s shop.
mad mim_tiny art week_matchbox frame tutorial_12
 Now dig through those sock drawers and coin jars and discover all those little trinkets with new tiny-art-eyes! (cause that’s a thing). Remember to hashtag any #tinyart adventures!


  1. Posted October 24, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    That is fantastic! I’m on it…..

  2. Mary
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    This is awesome! I squee over tiny things and before this had just been sticking them on bookcases. This will be a much better way to show them off.

    • Posted October 25, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      Ah Mary. Of COURSE we share an infinity for tiny things!!

  3. Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    this has got to be the cutest thing, I adore them all!!! Saw it on Instagram and had to investigate.

    • Posted October 25, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

      Thanks Jessica! I seriously am thinking about making a ton and then just leaving them in special places for people to find…it could be the start of something really hysterical..

  4. Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Que Tal!
    Hice mi mision en Argentina tambien!
    BA Oeste

    • Posted October 25, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      En SERIO?? A mi tambien! Me pregunto si servieramos en algunos do los areas iguales! That’s rad!!

  5. Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant! Simply brilliant.
    I stumbled upon this blog post earlier today – you’ll appreciate her love for the tiny stuff :

  6. Posted October 25, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Oh! I love this! Tiny anything is the best.

  7. the mither
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    my lttle “borrowers” heart is full of joy!

  8. Posted October 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Love it! I made one and I it turned out great. I also linked to you :) Thanks for the project idea. It was great fun!

    • Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Wow, I love it!! That paper works great, thanks for the link!

  9. June Lovell
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    i am stunned with the possibilities…i think of all the little children in church on sunday morning and how thrilled they would be to find a little box tied with a tiny bow only to open and find a little something…can you tell i don’t have any grandchildren?

  10. KimR
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Joy! I found you via a link at A Fashionable Stitch. A great new way to frame my tiny treasures! I needed a new project to keep me busy during the winter days ahead. Thank you for sharing!!!

  11. Posted November 8, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    thanks so much! Perfect for my little tiny art work. xo

    • Posted November 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Awesome! I’d love to see it if you ever take a picture just tag me! @miriamtribe

  12. Mel
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    What a Funtastic idea! I have all these little trinkets from my childhood and beyond. I am so going to use your idea to make tiny frames for each one. Maybe I’ll put them all together in a bigger frame – like a mini memory art gallery! Lovely idea for a kids bedroom as well. Just found you and your website has really inspired me – thank you for sharing.

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