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Add 3D Frames to Your Photos: Free Online Tools

My jacaranda photo, "Lady with Painting" Makesweet photoframe

My jacaranda photo, "Lady with Painting" Makesweet photoframe

3D Photo Frames Made Easy!

In 2007, I wrote a Photoshop tutorial for adding 3D frames to photos. Well, here's another option: free online tools that decorate your photo with a billboard, poster, painting frame, polaroid, or other interesting background image.

Even major websites are using free online tools to make their images stand out in 3D. I noticed a BBC article on a famous painter with a suspiciously familiar background I'd used myself.

That "photo" of two men hanging a painting on a wall was actually created by a free "photo mixer" tool on Makesweet.com. These "mixers" slant, scale, and shade your graphic to match their 3d background perfectly.

Tip: I think you can create about five different Makesweet photomanips for free before it asks you to sign up. It's $5 a month. If that's not your cup of tea and you've run through all your trial-and-errors already, then try the suggestions below for more photo frames (Loonapix is the best).

How Photo Mixers Work

Upload Your Graphic, Apply it To a Fancy 3D Background Like a Sticker

It depends which website you're using, but all of these photo-enhancing free tools work about the same way.

1. Pick a photo frame from their library of backgrounds. (Here's Makesweet.com's "Moonlit Billboard")

2. Look for the "upload image" button. On Makesweet, it's a plus sign.

3. Makesweet has an extra step: click the plus sign again to upload a graphic, OR click the "ABC" button to add text! (You can do both on the same image)

4. Once you've uploaded your graphic, Makesweet lets you scale your image (the vertical slider) or rotate it (the compass below the slider). Also click and hold on the image to drag it around within the frame. The red "X" button lets you clear the image or text and try again.

Different free online tools have different controls.

4.5 For Makesweet ANIMATED photo frames only: Click the Movie icon and choose "Hi-res." This creates the animation. Otherwise, when you save, you'll just get a still image.

5. Done? Click the Disk icon to save it to your computer. Save it under a DIFFERENT NAME than your original image! You don't want to erase your original.

6. Open it in your computer's graphics program to see how it looks. You may want to increase the contrast or crop the image (sometimes Makesweet has extra white margins on both sides of the picture) to get it just right.

7. Upload it to Picasa, Photobucket, or your favorite image hosting site, or upload it right into your blog post or online article, if it's got built-in image uploading!

8. Add the graphic to a webpage using HTML codes. (here's how)

LoonaPix Photo Effects

Some Really Photo-Realistic Effects

Loonapix is another place for 3D photo frames, although most of the backgrounds are pretty elaborate. Here's a "Photo Studio" for example:

In addition to Loonapix's "Photo Effects" frames, which tend to be 3D backgrounds like billboards, beach towels, old west "WANTED" posters, sepia and B&W effects, and/or very elaborate scenes, there are also much simpler Photo Frames that look more like the fancy frames you'd see in scrapbooks or on greeting cards. For example:

There's a lot of good, interesting 3D frames in the "Other" section of the Photo Frame area of Loonapix.

It's a little hard to find the buttons for "Upload an image" and "Create Image" (to add the photoframe effect) on Loonapix. Don't give up; they're there! Create an Image is at the bottom of the page.

Other Free Online Photo Editors - All of These Have Some Kind of Picture Frame Tool

  • LunaPic Online Photo Editor
    LunaPic is a powerful free online photo editor that lets you crop, resize, color, and add special effects. Choose "More Upload Options" at bottom to get started. Under the "Border" menu you'll "Picture Frame" as well as other 3D photo frames.
  • Tuxpi Photo Editor
    Tuxpi is a simple, easy to use mini photo manipulator with some nice special effects and a small but neat selection of picture frames for your photo. Choose "Download to Computer" in left sidebar to save.
  • SignGenerator.org signs, boxes, notepads, and more
    This only lets you add text to background templates like billboards and post-it notes, but it's so quick and easy for making webpage graphics that I wanted to include it.

Examples of 3D Frames With Different Online Tools

Lunapic Picture Frame Border

Lunapic Picture Frame Border

Lunapic Taped Photo Border

Lunapic Taped Photo Border

Makesweet.com Volkswagon Van

Makesweet.com Volkswagon Van

Tupixi.com Brushstrokes Photo Frame

Tupixi.com Brushstrokes Photo Frame

Tupixi.com Edit Edges   Focus

Tupixi.com Edit Edges Focus

Loonapix "Charming autumn in Cambridge" frame. This site has a lot of really elaborate add-your-photo-to-a-photo images like this.

Loonapix "Charming autumn in Cambridge" frame. This site has a lot of really elaborate add-your-photo-to-a-photo images like this.

Loonapix "Museum" Frame. Notice it recolored the image to make it match the scene.

Loonapix "Museum" Frame. Notice it recolored the image to make it match the scene.

Using SignGenerator.com. Note that Hubpages doesn't allow pages with watermarks, so you may have to crop.

Using SignGenerator.com. Note that Hubpages doesn't allow pages with watermarks, so you may have to crop.

Tip:In photoshop and other graphics editing programs that use layers, if you set the "Blending Mode" of a top layer to "Multiply," it PAINTS that layer onto the one below. This lets you add images to photos of blank signs, posters, etc.

Tip:In photoshop and other graphics editing programs that use layers, if you set the "Blending Mode" of a top layer to "Multiply," it PAINTS that layer onto the one below. This lets you add images to photos of blank signs, posters, etc.

I hope this page will help you jazz up your photos. If you find any of these tools to be handy, please share this tutorial with others!

Comments and Feedback - Please Share This Page!

shiv pratap on July 23, 2015:

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robertham on April 08, 2013:

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vsajewel on February 23, 2013:

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dexter yarbroug1 on August 31, 2011:

I really enjoyed your lens!