When browsing Etsy.com, I came across a picture frame decorated with M&Ms. It was very cute, but for the price, I figured I could do it myself and customize it just the way I wanted. For my daughter's first birthday I made her 2 custom decorated M&M frames. It was a cinch! Here are the step by step instructions for decorating your own photo frame with M&M's. This would be a great project to do with your kids, adult supervision required.
Plain Photo Frame
Paper and Pencil
Clear Nail Polish
Non-Water Based Super Glue
Total Estimated Cost
Products I Used
Link to custom M&Ms
- MY M&M'S®
MY M&M'S® personaliized candies make memorable gifts and unique party favors. Feature your personal message and special photo on M&M'S®.
Type of M&M's
For this project, you can use generic off the shelf M&Ms. However, if it is a special occasion you might want to purchase custom M&Ms. On the My M&Ms website you will find many pre-made designed M&Ms with sayings and images for holidays or special occasions.
I decided to order Custom M&Ms, which can be designed with words or a persons face printed right on them. This is, admittedly, costly since the website requires you to buy at least 3 bags when ordering custom M&Ms. I found it totally worth the cost and I love my final product. Remaining M&Ms were used for party favors.
Step 1: Trace Your Frame
The first step is to trace your frame onto a sheet of paper. This will be your set-up area where you will layout your M&M design. Try to draw your lines as close to the frame as possible so that you can have an accurate representation of what you are working with.
Step 2: Sort your M&Ms
CAREFULLY pour your M&Ms into a bowl. At this point you can choose to sort them, or just keep them all in one bowl. If you choose to sort, by color, style, etc, be careful while you sort them. A flat bowl works better so you can easily see the different M&Ms while you are working on your frame.
Step 3: Lay Out the M&Ms
Begin laying out the M&Ms on your template. Briefly examine each M&M looking for flaws or breaks. There will always be a few broken ones in the bag, and some of the custom printed M&Ms may look sloppy, but you should still have plenty of good M&Ms to work with. Decide on a pattern and repeat it all the way around. My pattern was White, Silver, Pink as well as alternating the 4 different images. This took time and patience but I like how neat and organized it ended up.
If you choose to go at random, that's fine too! When you are all done laying it out, you could always swap out a few if you see a glob of the same color or image in one spot.
*Note, you do not have to cover every inch of the frame. Decorate it however you wish! Maybe you just want one row of M&Ms going all the way around, that is fine too!
Step 4: Glue the M&Ms
Starting with one layer of your design, pick one M&M at a time and put a small dot of superglue on the bottom. You really only need a small dot. Place the M&M carefully on the frame and hold it for a few seconds so it sticks. Superglue dries fast, but if you used a big dot, it may take longer.
Work your way around the frame repeating this method. It's best to do a few M&Ms, then wait a minute, then repeat. That way you know the previous ones are glued on tight and you won't have to worry about anything moving around on accident.
Step 5: Seal the M&Ms
M&Ms are in their own candy seal, but you are going to want to seal them in nail polish for safe-keeping. Using clear nail polish, first paint the underside of each M&M. Mine had overhang on all sides so I covered these completely. This will also help to hold the M&Ms onto the frame. Let dry.
Next, flip the frame over and paint each M&M one by one. Be very slow and careful, painting each M&M individually just as if you were doing your nails. Try to get into any spaces as well so you can really get all sides of each M&M. Let dry.
*Optional: You can paint a second coat after it has completely dried if you are extra concerned about your M&Ms.
Step 6: Hang It!
That's it! That was easy right? Now all you have to do is find a pretty picture and hang the frame. I used 3M Photo Strips to hang this to the wall. The only downside with that is you have to push the frame onto the wall, which meant pushing on my M&Ms. Luckily none of them smushed when I did this, but it did make me a little nervous.
After creating my first frame, I had a few lessons learned that I thought I'd share to help you avoid mistakes I made.
- Glue must be NON-Water Based. Water-based glue will just eat away at the candy.
- Don't coat the M&M's with Nail polish before Supergluing. You may think it's better to coat the entire M&M with Nail polish, however the M&Ms will not stick as well this way and they will peel off easier.
- If you want the frame to sit on a table, start from the bottom up. That way you can ensure no M&Ms are hanging over the bottom edge.
- Not all M&Ms are the exact same size. Either try to be consistent (i.e. always look for big ones), or just be random if you don't care.
- Clear Nail polish is great for preserving the M&Ms as is. However, if you want to be creative or maybe add a little sparkle, try glitter nail polish.
- Be sure to throw away any leftover M&Ms that have nail polish or superglue on them right away so they do not get mixed up with the edible M&Ms. It's really hard to tell the difference and you wouldn't want someone to eat them by accident.
vivasuzi (author) from Somewhere in Michigan on June 16, 2012:
I used wooden, at least it looked like wood, could have been fake wood :) I wasn't sure how well the candy would stick to a plastic one.
Nadu224 on June 16, 2012:
Did you use a wooden or plastic frame?
vivasuzi (author) from Somewhere in Michigan on May 01, 2012:
Thanks! Glad you liked it :) I figure why go to etsy and by a generic one if you can make it yourself.
Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on May 01, 2012:
Sooo cute! I love M&M's and this is a great project. Thanks for sharing here with photos too :)
kerlynb from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on February 29, 2012:
WOW! I'm loving this well-illustrated, DIY photo frame hub of yours! Perfect for moms and even for preschoolers. Voting it up, useful, beautiful and interesting! :)
vivasuzi (author) from Somewhere in Michigan on February 28, 2012:
Thank you! The idea is not mine, I saw it on Etsy! But Etsy didn't say how to do it, I had to figure that out myself :)
LindaOH from OH on February 28, 2012:
Cute idea and a good review!