Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Still Tasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide - Save Money, Eat Better, Help the Environment

Check out You can enter any food you might find in the kitchen and find out how long it will keep in the pantry, in the fridge, or in the freezer. The website also provides information on safe food prep.

Can really save you money? Read this article: Expiration Dates: Should You Pay Attention? You will learn how long you have after the expiration date to still consume your foods. That way you won't waste money throwing away foods that are still safe to eat.


  • In my opinion, you can trust's information. They have listed their sources, and they are the same ones I would use.

  • Read this article. Then please tell my husband to read it!

Thanks, Heather, for the heads up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Additional 50% off at BCBGMaxazria

  • For my local peeps, there is a new BCBGMaxazria Final Cut at Grapevine Mills just down from Banana Republic.
  • The sale starts today and is "subject to end without notice."

See ya! I'm grabbing my purse...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

$30 For Longer Lasting Joy


"Being frugal does not mean one should not enjoy life, just that we should examine our way of life to see if what we are doing is bringing us pleasure for the cost associated. I recently had the problem of deciding to fill in the artificial nails that was given to me as a gift from my husband or taking them off and saving the money spent for upkeep. I do feel like I'm worth $15 every other week, but in the end I think it just comes down to the fact that I have other interests that I would rather put my money....For me personally, I decided I would get just as much enjoyment for my $30 this month in the following way: I could buy school supplies for a child I do not know or I could buy a lot of pencils and take to the school for use when a child does not have one. The next month I could find a nursing home in my area and take $30 worth of socks in all different sizes or I could save my money for a couple of months and take some nightgowns and pj's for the ones that do not have family.

"My nails were pretty but I found after examining that I can get much more joy for my money. I'm gonna take the same money and buy some polish, calcium and vitamin D (as someone mentioned) and work on my own nails and use the left over money in a more frugal and neighborly use. "

By notwrong

  • Other ideas for small doses of philanthropy:
  • Buy $30 worth of toiletries to donate to a local woman's shelter.
  • Take $30 worth of canned goods to a local food pantry.
  • Save the $30 a month until the holiday season, and provide a nice meal and gifts for a family in need.
  • Buy $30 worth of books to donate to your child's library.
  • Do you have other ideas?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From How to Fill a Stocking For Free


"We all love stockings. Up until just a few years ago, my mom would still give me one and it had always been my favourite gift to open. Stockings don't have to cost anything and are supposed to be filled with small trinkets and goodies, not things like $50 gift cards and iPods! Remember when we used to get clementines in there? What happened with that? :)

"Here are some things you can get for free, but plan early for some of these:

  • If you happen to go to trade shows or conventions, you can always get free things there. Have a look around. I usually go to a Health Show every year and get a free goodie bag with things in it.

  • Go to freebie sites, start collecting early and keep a box set aside for them. There are SO MANY free things to be had out there from big companies. A few years ago I kept a box with all the freebies I got just to see how full it would get. Over the course of a several months it was filled with things like books, cards, samples of makeup or soap, shampoos, cleaning products, amazing.

  • Craft Shows. Right around the holidays there are a lot of craft shows. Some crafters give out free samples of things that you can keep and set aside. (like soap pieces for example)

  • If you are planning to spend money on some holiday gifts, look for items that you get something free with purchase. This time of year that's easy! Use the free gift for a stocking.

  • Best Buy gives you a gift card if you trade in an old cellphone. So dig out that dinosaur phone of yours and bring it in!

  • Cash in credit card points or airmiles for free gift cards, magazine subscriptions, video rentals or movie tickets. They often don't cost a lot of points.

  • My drugstore often has deals where if you purchase a certain amount of goods at the store, you can get a free gift card of some sort. It is usually movie tickets or coffee cards. I rarely go in and spend $40 in one shot, so sometimes I wait till I need something big or lots of things then make a big trip so I can get the freebie.

  • Make some cool Rock Candy! Most people have sugar and food colouring in their pantry, so follow this recipe:

  • Go to a department store and ask for samples of perfume and make up. Maybe get a free makeup application while you are there :)

  • PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a lot of free stuff to give away like stickers and booklets. Check out their website for all the freebies.

  • Print out some free Baking and Cooking E-books here: or some other independent books can be found here that are free: or do a search for free ebooks online.

  • Make Compilation CDs with the recipient's favourite music or a new band that they may not have heard of yet. has tons of free indie music that can be downloaded from upcoming artists!

  • I don't recommend eating at fast food places, but sometimes they will give away free trinkets for children, even crayons and a colouring sheet or book. I've seen people just come in and not buy anything and ask for a free toy for their child.

  • Make candy or caramel apples! Most of us have sugar and apples at home or this time of year you can probably still get some for free from farmers. You can use recycled and washed chopsticks to put in the apple.

  • Make a free printable calendar for kids that they can colour in:

  • Have a swap or exchange with friends of items that you no longer want or things that you want to re-gift. This can include clothing, gadgets, handmade crafts, bath and body items (un-used), kids' toys, etc.

"Good luck and happy holidays everyone!"


  • The point is to get creative.

  • Last year my daughter requested a nice letter from us as parents instead of a gift in her stocking. The kids loved it, and that idea just might turn into a tradition.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Here's Where You'll Find Me on Black Friday

Banana Republic Factory Store

Click here for a list of stores that open at midnight tonight!

Ann Taylor Factory Store

  • Fight the crowds and go early. The point of these sales is usually to bring in lots of shoppers to clear out the racks. If you wait until the end of the sale, the selection will be picked over.
  • Don't forget the clearance racks, where you'll find the biggest savings. That's where I head first.

Friday, November 20, 2009

i.d. bare Minerals

Normally, you would never find makeup as deluxe as i.d. bare Minerals in my makeup drawer. My sister, however, bought it for me (along with a mink kabuki brush--I know! She's generous.).

I love i.d. bare Minerals because...

  • I hardly feel it on my face.

  • it smooths the texture of my skin.

  • it hides blemishes.

  • it contains sunscreen.

Alas, mine has run out. I was half-tempted to rush to the cosmetic store and pay the $25 pricetag, but then I wouldn't be the Bargain Huntress.

Here's what I found:

  • eBay has it for $19.95 with free shipping.

  • If you prefer, the marketplace has it for $15.49 + $4.56 shipping.

Then I checked for alternative labels:

  • Loreal Bare Naturale, which got good cyber-reviews, and is available for $12.49 at Target.

Questions to myself:

  1. Is i.d. bare Minerals worth the price?

  2. Do I really need all the extras in the Costco set?

  3. Do I just want to spend the least amount of money?


  1. If you have to have i.d. bare Minerals, I would choose to buy on eBay, only because the ratings on that seller were excellent.

  2. To get the most bang for your buck, try the Costco set.

  3. To spend the least amount of money, go with Loreal Bare Naturale.
I chose option 2.

I bought the set at Costco , and love every bit of it. (By the way, the Costco website lists the set for $31.99, but my local warehouse had it for $24.99.) If I put too much foundation on, my daughter tells me it looks orange, but she said the bare minerals looked yellow if I put too much on, so it's a wash. I guess I need to practice a little more. I love the eyeshadow base and the eyeliner. All three eye shadow colors add subtle enhancement to my face.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Making Old Tissue Paper Look Like New

"While making gift bags for the local nursing home, I realized I had a lot of tissue paper from events past. All the pretty colors and patterns, I couldn't bear to throw it away so I flattened it out and decided to iron it. Worked like a charm.

"Take 3 sheets of tissue paper put them together put iron on polyester with a tad of steam. Iron on both sides. The one in the middle will be perfect too. Fold it accordion style and bingo: recycled tissue. When you think of how much of this stuff goes to the land fill every year, this is a good way to recycle. "

By Dancer from RGV, TX

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dallas Outdoor Expo

Looking for a fun, low-cost family activity in the Dallas area?

Kids 17 & under are free. Adults are $5.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Panasonic NN-C994S

Our trusty Tappan microwave finally went kaput after 15 years of constant use. All hell broke loose. Every day, I fix up something to pop into the microwave, only to turn around and find an empty shelf where the microwave used to be. That's when the expletives start ("crap" is a curse word in our house).

On the bright side, one of my old, dingy appliances finally needs replacing with something new and shiny and pretty!

My original plan was to replace my built-in oven and microwave with a built-in double oven and microwave, which would require some cabinet reconfiguring. Then when my microwave broke (the old oven still keeps going, and going, and going...), I started to look into my options and discovered that I could get a microwave with convection that would act like a second oven. Brilliant!

The cost of a double oven and microwave would cost about $2500, whereas a single oven and a convection microwave will cost me about $1500.

Here are the two convection microwaves I considered:

Sharp R-930

They both got good reviews. They're both about the same size and have most of the same features. The Panasonic has 1100 watts vs 900 watts for the Sharp. They were so close, in fact, I had to build a spreadsheet to make the decision for me. In the end, I (with the help MS Excel) chose the Panasonic NN-C994S from for $499.

Today the UPS guy saved my life. He delivered my Panasonic convection microwave. So far so good. The world can now start revolving again!

  • Take your time. There are so many choices and so much information out there, it can be overwhelming. Try to make objective, methodical judgements about which is the best appliance for the right price. That's why I use Excel quite often. It's completely objective.
  • Set a budget before you start looking. It's easy to find something that's a little better, a little bigger, or has slightly better features. Pretty soon, you might get your heart set on something that's twice the cost of your original plan. Sometimes it's a reality check. Maybe your beginning budget was unrealistic for your needs. But maybe you can live without the microwave that has access to the internet and sets the table for you, too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

50% Off at Payless ShoeSource

Get 50% off your entire purchase at Payless ShoeSource, courtesy of The Oprah Winfrey Show. You will find the coupon on her website. You can either print a coupon or send a text to receive a code on your mobile phone. The promotion is only good TODAY!


  • Before you go, ask yourself, "Do we need shoes?" If the answer is yes, zip over there.
  • If you have the means this may be a good chance to buy shoes for those in need.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homemade Face Paint


This recipe is for homemade face paint.


1 Tbsp. cold cream
1 Tbsp. corn starch, a little more or less, maybe, to make a nice paste
1/4 tsp. or more white food color - Wilton makes a great white food color.


Mix all together, then add any paste gel food color you want. Make different colors, put it in a child's empty watercolor pallet. The addition of the white food color makes it possible to use this face paint just like the real face paint. Use a wet brush and use just like the real thing.
This face paint does stain the skin, but use any dish soap with OXY in it and the paint comes off very nicely. OXY means that there is peroxide present in the product. Have fun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bargain Wax Paper

From my newsletter:

Use Cereal Liner as Wax Paper

"I seldom use waxed paper. In fact I usually only use it when my husband makes hamburgers on the grill, to layer the raw patties in so they won't stick. Instead of buying waxed paper just for this use, I save the waxy bags that line the cereal boxes. When I empty the box, I open the bag along the seam and roll it over a tube in an old waxed paper box and put in the drawer.
I never pay for it, and we always have it."

By Mom from Missouri

She forgot to mention it's a great way to recycle and get on the "Going Green" bandwagon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free TV and Movies


is a free website where you can watch movies, TV shows, missed episodes;
all for free with no membership."

By Diane from Denver, CO

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fun Savings at Kohl's

Kohl's is one of my favorite places to shop for clearance.

Here's what I picked up the other day:

Here's how I did it:

  • Girl's top (size 24 mo): Regularly priced $14; on clearance for $2.80.

  • Girl's shorts (size 24 mo): Regularly priced $16; on clearance for $3.20.

  • 17" x 24" bath mat: Regularly priced $20: on clearance for $6.

  • Present coupon from the mail for $10 off any purchase.

Total: $2.15 (96% savings!)


  • Keep shower gifts on hand. I get invited to a lot of baby showers, so I like pick up clearance-priced items ahead of time. Also, my Mom taught me to give clothes in bigger sizes (eg 18 mo to 2T), since new moms generally get a lot of stuff in newborn sizes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Extra 40% off at Ann Taylor

If you love Ann Taylor, now is the time to shop there. Like the ad states, "it doesn't get any better than this." This is the best sale of the year (held bi-annually, I think).


  • Take 40% off the lowest price listed. So if the shirt's price is $30, then you pay $18.

  • Visit the store, too. You may find items in the store that are not online (and vice versa). Find the closest store to you here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homemade Drinkable Yogurt


Homemade Drinkable Yogurt

"My kids love the Danimals brand drinkable yogurts, but they are such small servings and quite expensive. I make my own drinkable yogurt in a glass or plastic drink shaker. Combine 2 cups of any yogurt (blended, fat free, sugar free, any kind!) with enough milk to smooth it out and shake a few times. This will serve 3-4. Add more milk to get desired consistency. Serve or store in refrigerator. I put this on the table and the kids LOVE to see what kind of 'Danimal"'I've made.
To pack for a lunch, use a sturdy plastic beverage container, or save those single-serve chocolate milk bottles with lids, run through the dishwasher, and serve in those. Finally, here's a super hint: You can freeze this drinkable yogurt in ice cube trays. Add a toothpick and you have a yummy Popsicle or fun cubes to use in milk or more yogurt drinks or shakes. Enjoy!"

By Missy W

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Old Navy Clearance

A little birdie told me that Old Navy has all clearance another 50% off the lowest price. I had to go check it out this afternoon. I got:


2 pairs knit shorts
1 pair swim trunks
5 t-shirts
1 hat
1 pair leggings


1 pair knit shorts
1 bra


1 pair chinos


1 zip hoodie
2 pairs yoga capris

Can you guess what all this totalled?

$49! That's just over $3 per item.

  • Avoid arguments. Bring at least one item home for each member of the household (except for your husband who told you, "DO NOT buy me another shirt"). That's how I stay the "nice mom."

Couponing I can get behind

A question posed to me quite often: "Do you coupon?"

I disappoint many, I'm sorry to say, when my reply is, "No, not really."

I use Costco coupons, and occasionally those that come in the mail from stores such as Ulta and Bath & Body Works, but I never clip coupons from the newspaper. We don't even subscribe to the newspaper anymore.

I tried clipping coupons once years ago, but I decided the dollar savings weren't worth losing my sanity. I had a hard time keeping them organized, remembering which ones I should use on particular shopping trips, all while trying to debate my little children on their right to have attractive candy displayed at the checkout. I can still see the glare of the customers waiting behind me.

Forward to August 2009. Displayed at the self-checkout, a flyer for couponing (is that really a word?) catches my eye. Why the change of heart? I can load coupons to my reward card online. Now that I can get behind!

I have found 3 websites so far that provide the service:

You choose your store, enter your reward/frequent shopper card number, then start choosing coupons. They will even give you a shopping list that displays all the coupons you have chosen.
  • Choose products wisely. To me it's not a great deal if it's something you would never buy. Additionally, a lot of the products I've seen coupons for tend to be processed foods, which aren't as healthy.
  • Get on board with me. The more popular the service is, the bigger the selection will be.

Since I'm new to coupons, I'd appreciate any comments or feedback that I have missed!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Heather and I got pioneer-ish again...this time it's homemade laundry detergent.

Supplies needed:

  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Bar of soap
  • Water

Step 1: Grate bar of soap.

We grated all the soap and bagged the extra for future use.
(It looks like mozarella cheese, doesn't it? One of my kids almost ate some.)

Step 2: Boil 6 cups of water in a deep pot.

Step 3: Add grated soap and stir until dissolved.

Step 4: Add 1/2 C washing soda and 1/2 C borax. Stir over heat until dissolved.

Step 5: Remove from heat and pour into a large bucket.

Step 6: Add 4 more cups of hot water and mix well.

Step 7: Stir in 1 gallon plus 6 cups cold water and mix well.

Step 8: Let sit for 24 hours.

It's ready to go! Use 1/4 to 1/2 C per load of laundry. I have a large capacity washer, so I use 1/2 C. Despite my 13-year-old's fears, it worked great and did not disintegrate his clothes.


One bar of soap = $0.30

Washing soda = $0.28

Borax = $0.18

Total cost for 64 loads (using 1/2 C) = $0.76

(Fab @ Sam's Club costs $7.12 for 64 loads)

You save about 90%!

  • Ivory soap costs the least and dissolves well, but you can also use Fels Naptha, Sunlight bar soap, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps.
  • Washing soda too some effort to find. In the end a local hardware store ordered it for us.
  • Here are 10 more similar but different homemade laundry soap recipes.

P.S. Sorry it took me so long, Heather!

Monday, September 14, 2009

FREE Benefit BADgal Mascara


FREE Benefit BADgal Mascara at ULTA on September 19!

Starting September 15, 2009, bring the October 2009 cover of Seventeen or a printout of the home page to any participating ULTA store to receive a full-size tube of Benefit BADgal Blue Mascara (approximate retail value: $19). Eight thousand (8,000) will be given away, with an average of 24 available at each ULTA store location. Must be female, between the ages of 13 and 29.


  • Not the right age? Recruit your daughter, a friend, or a friend's daughter.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sale at Sephora

Save up to 75% at Sephora online or in stores.
You can choose up to 3 free samples with any order.
Orders over $50 ship for free.
  • Check in-store, too! Here's the store locater. Generally, there are deeper discounts on items in the store.
  • Go in with friends. Not spending $50? Get friends or family members to share an order to get the free shipping.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homemade Softscrub

I'm on a do-it-yourself kick right now. First, the burritos, now this homemade Softscrub,

and there's more coming....

Here we go with the Softscrub:

  • Vegetable oil based liquid soap (we used Murphy Oil Soap)
  • Baking Soda
  • empty bottle
  • funnel
Step one: Add 1/2 of a box of baking soda to a clean bottle. (I used an empty contact lens solution bottle with the tip cut a little larger.)

Step two: Add enough liquid soap until you get the consistency of icing. Keep adding a little soda or a little soap until you get the consistency you want.

Step three: Shake the bottle to mix thoroughly.

Here's the cost breakdown:

Baking soda: $1
Murphy Oil Soap: $1 (I only used about 6 oz of the 32 in the bottle.)

Softscrub cleanser costs about $5 or $6 at the grocery store, so we made it for 1/3 the cost.

That's all. It was a snap, and I love the way it cleaned my shower tile.

Here's my shower tile before the homemade softscrub (try not to get too grossed out):

And after...

Other shower cleaners took a lot more elbow grease than this did. I'm actually excited to clean it next time!

  • Feel good about going green. You're not only saving money, but you're also cutting down on waste from containers.
  • Search "homemade soft scrub" on google to find other recipes to try.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One of a Kind Dress for Under $10

Here's my do-it-yourself One of a Kind dress for under $10

I have to admit that the hem isn't finished. It turned out a little shorter than I wanted, so I'm deciding whether to keep it short and wear it with tights, or add ribbon, fringe, or some other embellishment to the hem.
Fabric: $2 (2 yards @ $1/yd from Walmart)
Pattern: $1 on sale at Joann's.
I may even wear it to church!
  • Go for it! With fabric that cheap, even if you never wear, it's good sewing practice. I bought the whole bolt of fabric. Should I sew an overcoat, hat, and purse to match??
  • Don't give up. The neck band gave me some trouble, but the 3rd time was a charm.

Free Samples

There's a world of free samples out there that I'm just discovering...

During my son's orthodontic appointment, I perused the August 2009 Ladies' Home Journal, where I came across an interesting article. The author and her husband decided to tighten their budget, which included *gasp* her "Beauty" category. So she endeavoured to live on free samples of beauty products for a month.

Her two avenues included 1) Signing up for freebies over the internet; and 2) visiting makeup counters and asking for samples.

I checked out the freebie sites she mentioned, and here are my favorites: scours the internet for available free samples, then provides links to them. There are no strings attached.
P.S. This one is my favorite. I have already started to receive freebies: chocolate, feminine hygient, etc. If you sign up for their newsletter, they will send you a periodic email notifying you of the latest freebies available. is a fun website that includes a page of links to free stuff. provides free downloadable software that allows you to fill in forms with the click of a button.

Does anyone want to one-up the LHJ author? Can you live entirely for free for one month? I ain't doin' it, but I present the challenge...

  • Don't give away too much information. If a company asks for more than a name, email address, and physical address, I question whether it's legitimate.

Huge Sale at

How do you get a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant for $1?!

Check this post at Fabulessly Frugal.

  • Hurry! The promotion only runs until 9/13/09.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Homemade Frozen Breakfast Burritos

Supplies needed for homemade frozen breakfast burritos:

Tortillas (10-in)
Eggs (about 2/3 of an egg per tortilla)
Bacon (we used turkey to try to keep it nutritious)
Potatoes (roughly 1 med potato for every 10 tortillas)
Cheddar Cheese (1 lb will fill ~25 tortillas)
Vegetable oil spray
Salt and Pepper (optional)
Gallon-sized freezer bags

Step 1: Spray large non-stick skillet with spray and heat to medium.
Step 2: Whisk 10 eggs at a time in a bowl.
Step 3: Scramble eggs in batches until no longer runny.
Step 4: Cook bacon in microwave.
Step 5: Shred cheese.
Step 6: Dice potatoes, and saute until tender in sprayed non-stick skillet.
Step 7: Setup assembly line--it doesn't matter what order.
Step 8: Spray the inside of a freezer bag.
Step 9: Place about 2 heaping tablespoons of eggs, 1 heaping tablespoon of potatoes, 1 slice of bacon, and 2 heaping tablespoons of cheese on tortilla. (Anymore than this, and the burrito gets too full.)
Step 10: Roll up the tortilla as tightly as possible without ripping it.
Step 11: Place burrito in freezer bag. You can fit about 6-8 burritos per bag.
Step 12: Freeze.

When you are ready to eat them, you can heat them individually in the microwave, or several at a time in the oven (350 F for 10-15 min).

So is it worth all the effort?

A box of 6 small frozen breakfast burritos at Wal-mart costs $3.74 or $0.63 per burrito. My supplies cost me $25 and I made 90 burritos (or $0.28 per burrito). That's a savings of just over half.

Furthermore, I think our burritos were probably healthier than the ones I priced at Wal-mart, because we could control the fat and salt content.

And finally, my kids LOVE me! Because now they are not doomed to eat cold cereal for breakfast every morning before school.

  • Invite a friend. I can't take all the credit for this post. My friend, Heather, actually invited me to do this with her. It was fun to share the work with someone, and we saved money buying in bulk for two families.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Money management software has been a marriage-saver in our home. I seem to have a black hole in my wallet, while my husband keeps a TIGHT grip on every penny. Since I keep track of our finances (because my mom did), when the money disappears, it's on my shoulders. offers free web-based software to help you keep track of your expenses, follow a budget, and perhaps make changes where needed.


Thanks, Jamie, for the head's up!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Antix White Multi Frame Knock-Off

This Antix White Multi Frame (at for $225) appeared in the July issue of InStyle magazine. I loved the frame immediately, but not the price.

So I decided to make it myself...


  • Various frames
  • 1/4" MDF
  • sandpaper
  • wood glue
  • spray paint

Step 1: Purchase various frames.

I found seven frames at thrift stores for an average of $1 a piece. It doesn't matter what they look like since they will be painted, but these are all wood (or pressed wood) so that I can work with them easier.

Step 2: Cut mdf to the appropriate size.

I chose to cut mine to 24" x 30"

Step 3: Sand edges of MDF.

The finished product looks more professional if the edges are slightly rounded.

Step 4: Make a slot on the top edge of each frame.

This will allow you to change photos. We used a router (at a depth of ~1/16" to do the job, but if you don't have a router, you could use a dremel, a chisel, or sandpaper (or all three).

Step 5: Sand slot to smooth edges.

Step 6: Scuff the front of any glossy frames.

This will help the spray paint stay on better.

Step 7: Spray paint each frame.

Following carefully the directions on the spray paint can will produce the best results.

Step 8: Spray paint MDF.

It may take several coats. In fact, I probably should have used primer, but I didn't.

Step 9: Lay out the frames on the backing.

Measure carefully and mark them.

Step 10: Use wood glue to attach each frame to the backing.

Step 11: Weigh down the frames and allow to dry overnight.

As you're placing the weight, be careful not to shift the frames. (I did, but didn't notice until I saw these pictures. When you get to the end, can you tell which frame is not straight?)

Step 12: Spray paint one final coat.

Step 13: Attach picture hanging hardware to back.

Step 14: Display!

Total cost: $21.
Total time: 2-3 hours
  • Frames: $7
  • MDF backing: $5
  • Spray paint: $8
  • Sandpaper: in garage ($2-$3 at home improvement center)
  • Wood glue: in laundry room ($2-$3 at home improvement center)
  • Picture hanging hardware: $1


  • Choose frames that are different from each other. Find ones that have embellishments to add character.
  • As a rule of thumb, an odd number of frames will please the eyes more. Seven seemed to work well.

Did you find it? It's the top right. I hope it doesn't drive me crazy!