Patriotic/Military Tribute Photo Frame {Tutorial}

Military Patriotic Photo Frames

I’ve been wanting to post this tutorial for a while. I actually first did this for Father’s Day last year.  I was trying really hard to think of something for Father’s Day for my father-in-law and step-dad.  In all of that thinking, it dawned on me that they both served in the Military.  My father-in-law served in the National Guard and my awesome step-dad served in the Army.  I think it’s a cool thing for our kids to have such a rich military heritage.  When I made the gifts last year, I knew that I wanted to make a duplicate of each for our family as a reminder of this rich heritage.

I’m so glad that I didn’t make these for our family last year, because now I can share with you how I did it!

Here’s what you need:

Military Patriotic Photo Frame supplies

An 8×10 floating picture frame. I got mine from Wal-mart for around $10.
An 8×10 photo. If you want a copy of the background I used, email me {shatziweb(at)gmail(dot)com} and I’ll send you the .png file.
Vinyl quotes. I used the quote “Land of the Free; Because of the Brave”
Vinyl star stencil. For the quote and the star stencils, I used my Silhouette to cut out the vinyl.
Glass Etching Cream. It’s kind of expensive to buy, but it lasts forever. I think this bottle was $18ish dollars. I’ve used it for many crafts and have only used less than 1/4 of the bottle.

Once you have all of the supplies, these come together really quickly.  To start, take the two glass pieces out of the picture frame.

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 1

Set the top glass piece aside. We’ll use that in a little bit.

Remove the sample paper so you can place your 8×10 photo. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, but it’s pretty important that you get the photo centered. I used a measuring tape to double check. The frame comes with a couple of adhesive squares to mount your photo on the glass.

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 2

After the photo is in place, apply the vinyl directly to the glass.

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 3

When I put the vinyl on, I just freehanded the centering. But, the most important thing is placing the words closer to the photo than the edge. If you put it too high up, there is a chance the frame will cut off some of the letters. Basically…center it left to right. Vertically, you want it to be off centered and closer to the photo.
When the vinyl is in place, grab the top glass piece and set it on top of the photo.

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 4

I like to use the photo as a guide for placing the star stencils.  I didn’t double check to make sure they were exactly even, but I tried really hard to get them as even as I could. It would make the frame look strange to have the stars not aligned.

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 5

Once the vinyl star stencil is in place, set aside the bottom photo/glass piece. Get out the glass etching cream.  Before you apply the etching cream, make sure that the vinyl is completely smoothed out. You don’t want any cream seeping under a rogue wrinkle.

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 6

Follow the directions on your etching cream bottle.  For mine, it had to sit for 5 minutes before being rinsed off.  In my experience, the more consistent etch you want, the heavier you need to apply the cream.  If you’re going for an un-even, rustic look, don’t apply the cream as heavy. It probably goes without saying, but only put the etching cream where you want the glass to be etched.  If you accidentally drop a blob in the middle, even if you wipe it quickly, it may still slightly etch the glass.  Definitely something to be careful about.

When it’s finished, I just rinsed the cream off in the sink. The vinyl just comes off with the cream.
Now, clean the glass,  put your glass pieces back together and place them back in the frame.  And that’s it!

Military Patriotic Photo Frame step 8

With the 4th of July right around the corner, these would be perfect for decorations.  Or, as a very last minute Father’s Day present. Or, maybe both!


  1. says

    Love this idea! My dad is a former marine and would be honored. I only wish I had seen this before Father’s Day weekend. :) Keeping this in mind for his Birthday! Thanks for a wonderful idea!


  2. says

    This is a lovely idea and I really love the etched stars too! Thanks for joining in on the networking blog hop – always great to meet some fantastic new bloggers xx

    Anna (My Design Ethos)

  3. says

    You my friend are amazing :) I love love love this! You couldn’t have picked a better quote either, it’s just perfect.

    I’ve been wanting to etch my glass canisters in my kitchen but for some reason I’ve been a little intimidated.. but it doesn’t look that hard :) Thanks for the tip!

  4. says

    What a beautiful gift! A tribute to both fathers AND the military!
    My son served in Iraq and my grandson is named after a comrade who died there so we are a mil family too :)

  5. says

    This is great! D was in the Army, my dad was in the Air Force and I bet they would love to get one of these. Thanks so much for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you next week.

  6. says

    Wow. This is really great. I have so many features already this week but if you want to add it again next week I will add it to the recap post. So glad you shared this on BeColorful. Have a great week.

  7. says

    Shatzi, This project is simply wonderful! So artistic and PATRIOTIC! I am re-doing a bedroom in an Americana theme and I am copying this whole project using a picture of my Dad who served!!!! Thank you so much for showing us how to honor our brave servicemen and women in such a classy and unique way! I have a weekly DYI linky called TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS. It goes live Wednesday evenings at 8:00… I would love you to share this great tutorial!!!

  8. says

    Pictures are the best way to save the memories of your life’s Happy moments and frames play an important role in preserving these pictures with care and safety. Here you have given really nice examples of beautiful photo frames creativity. It is a great tribute to our freedom fighters.

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