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. says

    Love it! I could totally see bulletin board on the other side as a place to post plans, directions, etc that you might need while you are working down there. Almost a dude version of Pinterest!

  2. LeCheech says

    I’d probably print a bunch of instagrams from my inkjet backwards and put them[a little haphazardly] on a canvas with modpodge, let it dry, then wet it to take off the paper. DIY Canvas printing is FUN! :D

    Sadly, I’m a terrible photographer with nothing but a point and shoot and a dream.

  3. Mary says

    Ah! Love this. Was just thinking..if you found a way to hang the case with the extra space on the bottom and stuck a slip of paper in there..BAM. Would look like a Polaroid!

  4. says

    Oh, and if you follow PostalPix on Pinterest, encourage people to send in pictures of the prints in use, and then they pin them for their followers to see. Some of the stuff people have shared is REALLY awesome & creative.

  5. Sara says

    For some reason, I am never able to comment on giveaway posts – after hitting “submit”, I always get a page saying I’ve already commented / am making a duplicate comment (even though I have not commented yet). But I don’t have problems posting on non-giveaway posts. Has anyone else had this problem?

    • says

      Whenever someone enters exactly the same thing as someone else (ex: “Frame me!”) you may get that message, which is why we have a bonus question to help to differentiate every comment. So by saying “Frame me! My favorite piece of art is a postcard from my grandmother!” or otherwise responding to whatever the bonus question is, your comment will become unique and it should sail right through.


  6. says

    For some reason the “two thumbs” part of the title translated to “two left feet” in my head – as in, did something a little goofy. I read the post THREE TIMES looking for the silly thing John had done. Duh, Abbie!

    • says

      Burger doesn’t seem to understand how screens work. You can put him in front of a TV or phone or whatever and he won’t even register the items on it. It might as well be off!


  7. Vicky says

    Love it! Things are looking great down there!

    If you guys do decide to deal with the exposed ceilings down there, you may want to keep in mind access to your utilities. My inlaws have a finished basement, with drywalled ceilings, and is has hindered them in the past when wanting to make changes/fixes upstairs (they don’t necesisarly want to get into major ceiling repair downstairs to move the location of an electrical outlet upstairs).

  8. Desiree C. says

    I also have two thumbs and I’m giving you a two-thumbs up!You gotta love accidental inspiration! Those are so clever and the jewel cases add a manliness to them that really works in the Man Cave Complete With Pegboards (ha!). I also LOVE the pops of color in the photos against the navy blue pegboard. This is definitely inspiring me with ideas for my husbands new (!!) man cave. Though, in our case we don’t have pegboards and tools–he’s a basketball coach, so we have white boards and old school basketball photos of past players. Our problem is that he wants to paint the whole room royal blue…yikes. You should help me convince him it’s not the greatest idea. I’m thinking a royal blue stripe around the room, but most definitely not the entire space…in the basement…with one single, small window.

    I already feel the walls closing in on me.

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