For those of you who follow my social media adventures, you know that I’ve been on a happiness kick over the past year.  More specifically, I am an active participant in the #100happydays challenge on Instagram.  The premise is this: take 100 photos of things that bring you happiness for 100 days in a row.  The results intend to help participants enjoy the little things in life and focus on the positive rather than get overwhelmed by negativity.  It also helps keep focus on a task and builds up to a consistent project with a great outcome.  I actually started the challenge on January 2, completed it, and decided to continue for a full 365 days a year (I’m currently on day 293).  Even on those days when nothing seems to be going my way, I’m able to find a cute cat portrait or an inspirational quote that helps me keep things light.  Here’s a blog post I wrote about the challenge back in February.

About six months into the challenge, I decided it was finally time to get my Instagram frame game into gear.   I’d take some of my favorite snapshots and translate them into… you guessed it… a DIY project! I was inspired by this Young House Love post about making art more personal and used Picplum to print some of my favorite snapshots from the past year.  Each print comes out to $1 and is 5×5 inches – their website is designed to print your Insta-photos!  I went a little wild…

After sorting through my favorites, I decided that I wanted to highlight some of my favorite people, places, and cats, so I chose the eight photos below.  It worked out perfectly because we have some pink and green accents in the bedroom, where I planned to hang up these bad boys.  And now for a project four months in the making…

Yes, you read that correctly.  It took me four months to actually complete this project.  We all have busy lives, and I know I’ve lamented about it before, but it’s really important for me to press pause on all other life tasks to get the creative juices flowing once in a while.

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Before I started the DIY process, I selected and arranged my favorite eight photos from Instagram over the past year or so.  I also made my semi-annual pilgrimage to Ikea and bought eight 12×12 Ribba frames.

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Next, I chose an off-white cardstock from Jo-Ann, more of a cream color than white, and decided to use that as the internal photo mat for the frame.  I measured the cardstock to the back of the frame and cut it to size.

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At first, I planned to attach the photos right onto the cardstock, but it looked too plain.  I really just loved the idea of a double border around such a small photo.  Luckily for me, Dan has a photo mat cutter.  If you don’t have one of these, you can create the same border (albeit without the depth of the mat) with white cardstock and a traditional paper cutter.

For the cutting part, we bought a photo mat board at Michaels.  Dan did the measuring.  We measured the exact size of the photo, which was 5×5 inches.

We then cut the cardstock to fit the photo in its center which created the double mat effect.  This mat cutter was pretty fancy and created the beveled look, which leaves an indent in the mat paper to give it some depth.

In terms of cutting, the next step was to cut the mat to fit the cardstock.  We chose a one inch border to create the second frame around the photo. Here’s what the photo mat frame looked like on its own:

Next, we placed the cardstock behind the mat.  I taped the photo just using two pieces of tape on the top and bottom to secure it in place.  This would make the photos easy to change out in case we wanted to do a quick refresh in a few months..

Each photo took its proud place in the center of the double frame.  Below you can see the difference in color between the cream cardstock and the white photo mat paper.  I really like the contrast that it created.  The two colors definitely generate more interest for the eye.

When we hung the frames we left two inches in between on the top/bottom and sides, creating a gallery wall of eight Insta-frames.  It’s currently centered in the middle of our bedroom wall, but it is not centered over the bed (we still need to rearrange some furniture).  One day you’ll see the big reveal in all its glory.  For now, I’m happy with this personalized art update to complement my #100happy days progress!

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