Making Easy Instagram Photo Frames With Jewel Cases

“Who has two thumbs, an Instagram addiction, and just bought a bunch of jewel cases?” I think we all know the answer. THIS GUY had a little art project up his sleeves.

Ever since jumping on the Insta-wagon back in April, I’ve been itching to get some of our photos printed. We just never had a place for them and were always a little wary of the quality through various printers. But a few weeks ago when I spotted a Facebook coupon for five free Instagram prints using Picplum, I ordered away (nothing to lose, right?) and I was pretty impressed with my handful of free 5×5″ prints… so, like the sucker they hoped I’d be, I purchased a bunch more for $1 per print.

My paid order was fueled by the fact that I stumbled upon something completely accidental. With a tiny trim on two sides, these square prints fit pretty darn perfectly into the front of a jewel case (you know, the clear plastic cases that CDs come in… used to come in?… do I need to refresh everyone on what a CD is?). The only reason I ever discovered this is because my five free prints were sitting on my desk on top of an old CD case, and I realized they were basically the same size.

So I swung by Office Depot and snagged a $10 bulk pack of slim jewel cases (there were 30 of them in the pack, and I didn’t need that many, but it was the smallest pack of thin ones, and I thought thin cases would look the best). Then I just slid some of my favorite prints inside twelve of them.

As you may have guessed from that first picture, I’m not designing homemade covers for some stocking stuffer mixed CDs or anything (although I guess this would work for that too). I actually thought they made for a cool way to display photos in my Man Cave Complete With Pegboards as I’ve lovingly come to call the basement these days. Because nothing too precious makes sense down there with pieces of wood and sawdust flying everywhere – but something to cover photos that I want to display (thereby protecting them from said sawdust) might just be handy, right?

It’s certainly not very fancy or overly fussy, but I really like how easy this was and how stress-free it feels. If a rogue screw cracks a “frame” it’ll cost less than a dollar to replace. Plus they look pretty great against my navy pegboard, amIright?

Total cost for each “frame” including the art inside = $1.30. Can’t buy much other framed art for that price, right? And you know Sherry loves to say that geek is the new black. CD cases are bound to be the next mixed tape/eight-track, right?

To hang my grid I just used 3m Command strips (the velcro kind for “damage free” picture hanging). I actually like to use the strips perpendicular to one another (rather than right on top of each other) – that way I have more flexibility to move things around once both strips are stuck in place (I can shift things up and down or side to side a bit that way).

And fortunately the holes on my pegboard made for a great guide when I was pressing them into place.


Wanna know a secret? I actually tucked an extra photo or two behind some of them. So if I ever want to mix things up I can just hinge the case open, swap the photos, and call it a day.

And since I have extra photos and extra cases, I can always expand my super classy inexpensive art installation across the whole board down there. But for now I’m leaving it open so I can hang some other non-Instagrammy item on the right. Ya never know when I might come across something else to dude things up down here. Although I’m surrounded by hammers and drills and saws, so I’m a pretty happy guy already.

Oh and every time we share pics we realize that we should mention a few other things on the basement agenda, so here they are:

  • stain some of the wood going on down there (like that burned shelf and the dusty and less-forgiving-because-they’re-so-light counters)
  • possibly stain the concrete floors (since they’re pretty light and not-too-forgiving either)
  • paint the old scratched up door that leads to the basement (yellow like the front door)
  • hopefully deal with the exposed ceilings (although there are things like plumbing and duct-work that hang down, making it less simple than just screwing up some drywall)

In the meantime, does anyone else have Instagram art projects up their sleeves? I’d love to hear ’em – especially if you know of other cool places to get them printed on paper, canvas, etc. Oh yeah, and if you want to follow us on Instagram you can find us at (you’ll never guess) @younghouselove.

Psst- We hear the Cultivate quiz from yesterday’s giveaway is still running very slowly/crashing. Looks like they weren’t quite ready for all of you quiz-loving folks! So sorry about that, guys. We hope they get all the kinks worked out soon… and there’s still a $200 gift card for one lucky winner (whether you take the quiz or not), so that’s the good news!


  1. Maureen says

    I think you have just stumbled upon something great here, John. This will be all over Pinterest in no time! (That’s how I judge everything in life now)

    Also, I have some SERIOUS workbench envy going on.

  2. elaina says

    uh oh… John’s using the “no John cuts” scissors! Did you get permission first? :)

    Love the photos! Makes the basement seem a lot more friendly than mine!

    • says

      Haha, ironically those are now John’s scissors since I got newer ones (he might have ruined the old ones on packaging tape, despite my sharpie warning, hahah).


  3. Karen F says

    very clever, and such a sweet project! love it. I must have a million of those skinny cases, too…hmmmm *wheels turning*

  4. Tyra says

    Instagram art is oh so fun. The hubs and I went to Chicago and I made a grid of 20 small instagrams in a frame to represent our trip. Just ordered some larger prints (4×4) and planning to string them up somewhere! I use printstagram. Good quality and fast delivery. 24 (4×4) or 48 (2×2) are just $12.

  5. Jackie says

    Love this. Just saw a deal for $21 “Casetagrams” – aka iphone cases printed with your instagram photos – on Gilt City! Hard to buy for cousins, mom, and brother — check!

  6. Vivian says

    Great idea! I’m going to pass the idea on to my son who needs inexpensive ‘art’ in his first home … also great idea for the son in a dorm room!

  7. says

    Love it! Such a clever idea!

    I made this little instagram wall in the guestroom a few months ago. Cheap graduation signature frames from Kohls, and the photos were printed from Postal Pix. It;s an app, and you order the pics from your phone. They have sizes from 3×3 up to 8×8 and I’ve been really pleased with all of my prints.

    I also LOVE ordering magnets from Stickygram!

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