Port Hole Frame Tutorial

After mulling over a few different ways to construct these out of wood, picture frames, and various other materials I decided on the cheapest and most readily available product. Foam Core.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about I’m not surprised, the woman at Michael’s looked at me like I had 3 heads too. I guess most people call it foam board, but it is essentially 2 pieces of poster board with a foam sheet sandwiched between.


My husband is an architect and we used this stuff all the time to make building models in college. They called it foam core (maybe because it has a core of foam?? idk) Foam board is a kind of insulation. So that is how it has stayed in our house. I ramble…

Anyway, it comes in different thicknesses and can be a (insert favorite expletive) to work with if you are trying to be perfect. Looking closely you can tell my circles are nowhere near what normally passes as round. Luckily this is for a kids room and it’s OK that things are a bit wonky. Yes, they make a special cutter, but it’s $20 and my whole project only costs $10!

What you’ll need for this project:

a sheet of foam core (mine is 1/2 inch thick)
x-acto or mat knife (very sharp)
spray paint (or paint of your choice, heck decoupage with paper if it matches what you need)
flat thumbtacks (you can paint these to match)
ribbon the width of your foam (I think rope would be awesome for a ship theme, alas, I’m on a sub.)
hot glue
a large plate, compass, or string to draw the circles

**Tip: one of my favorite ways to draw a good circle is by pushing a straight pin through one of my old measuring tapes. You can poke right through the plastic at whatever measurement you need, and then use the hole in the end for your pencil.

Here we go…

Step 1: Draw the outside circle of your port hole (I fit 3 with a 12 diameter on one sheet) 6 inch radius
Step 2: Draw the inside circle (mine is 2 inches between the two circle) 4 inch radius

This is a scrap so don’t look at the measurements.

Step 3: Cut on both lines (trying your hardest to keep the blade vertical and the curses to a minimum)
Step 4: Paint (or whatever you are doing to cover the white.)

Step 5: Hot glue the ribbon around the inside and outside edges (fold the end under for a clean finish)

As you can see, my ribbon was not the same size as my foam. (who knew 1/2 inch was so hard to find?) Instead of searching I just painted the back edge with some navy acrylic and glued the ribbon to the front.

Step 6: Add the thumb tacks (I didn’t measure, just laid them out upside down and eyeballed it)
Step 7: Center your picture and attach to the back (Good ol’ scotch tape)
Step 8: Hang (I used command stickers and sticky tack)
Step 9: Admire!

Now that you have a finished port hole, stop back tomorrow to learn how to make the watercolors to go inside it. Even if you don’t know a lick about painting, you can make this art! And, if you don’t really need a “fish scene” the same process can be done with flowers, animals, cartoon characters, and more!

Thanks for visiting!
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P.S. If you do try this project, be sure to post a picture to my new flicker group Your tART!

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