The first time I stepped foot in our upstairs hallway, I envisioned beautiful custom frames, filled with our favourite family photos hung from end to end. When I started to create this wall, I first looked at custom framing. Due to the size and quantity that I required, it would cost me close to $2000! Although I typically like to save so that I can add quality items to our home, we still have many rooms in our house that need furnishings and decor, so the $2k could definitely be put to better use elsewhere. I I really wanted to hang something asap (things are looking bare after Christmas!), so I opted for a more inexpensive framing option and I'm so happy with how it turned out!! Below are the steps to get the look of custom picture frames for less than half the cost.

Empty hallway with white oak hardwood floors and white walls

1. Buy your picture frames

I chose the 61 x 91 cm Ikea RIBBA frames. Although I don't love the quality of Ikea's frames anymore (they now use plexi instead of glass), I couldn't find simple frames that were large enough, for a great price. They do reflect more light than I would like, however it's not terrible. I used these frames in the playroom as well and they look great!

2. Order custom matboard for your frame

I ordered my custom matboard from Custom Mat. Their website was easy to use, my items were delivered within a week, they're Canadian and they were having a sale (bonus!). Below are the exact specs of boards I ordered.

Size: 24 x 36 (in)
Window: 10.5 x 13.5 (in)
Off Center Margins (in): Top:7.75 | Botoom:14.75 | Left:6.75 | Right:6.75
Colour: Smooth White

The one thing I would've done differently/ what I had intended on doing (this is what I get for placing orders at 2am LOL), is make the matboard window square, or shift it up a little higher. I wanted there to be significantly more mat below the image than there is now, but that's ok! I'm still very happy with how it turned out.

Here is an image of the matboard that comes in the Ikea Ribba frame vs. the custom mat I ordered.

Ikea frame matboard vs. custom matboard

3. Order your prints

There are tons of great options out there for ordering prints. When I'm hanging photos in our home, I want to ensure the best quality, and I'm never disappointed with Their website is easy to use, and my prints were delivered within a few days.

custom mat board and family photos

4. Put your frame together

This is pretty self explanatory, however the steps are below. One tip I would give is to ensure that the area you're working in isn't too dusty or that it doesn't have any little dog (or human) hairs lying around. You don't want to get those stuck behind the glass when you're framing your photos.

1. Remove everything from the Ikea frame (make sure you peel the protective film from BOTH sides of the plexiglass)
2. Add custom matboard
3. Add photo or print (use tape to secure it)
4. I place the Ikea matboard on the back - you never know, you may want to use it one day!

gallery wall with custom diy matting

5. Hang it

We hung the frames roughly 21.5" apart and 4" above the wainscotting. We decided on the distance between each frame based on the wainscotting below.

This DIY framing project cost me roughly $300. Although I don't plan on doing so anytime soon, I can reuse the mats, and swap out the frames down the road for something that's a better quality, and I won't feel bad about it.

If you have any questions on my DIY custom picture frames, please let me know below. And if you try this project out yourself, please tag me on Instagram. I would love to see how it turned out!!