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Craft with Resene, from the Australian Women's Weekly

These versatile holders can be used to display favourite photos or for handmade place cards at a special dinner party.

How to make picture holders

What you'll need

  • Paper tubes (toilet roll or similar)
  • Copper wire, 12-gauge
  • Wooden dowel, 10mm diameter or similar
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Disposable cups for measuring
  • Wooden spatula for mixing
  • Disposable container for mixing (ideally ice-cream container size)


Tip: These picture stands are not intended to be perfect. If your stands have little holes and dimples in them, that just adds to their handmade authenticity, and makes them look more like concrete.

  1. Start by covering your working area with a drop sheet or newspaper, as this DIY project can get a little messy.

  2. Collect all the paper tubes together and decide on the height of each stand. Using a marker pen, mark inside to show the level you will fill them to. A group of varying heights is an effective way of displaying photos, making them easier to see.

  3. Seal the bottom of each tube with overlapping layers of masking tape (A), so there are no gaps for the plaster to seep through. Set aside while you get the plaster and wire stands ready.

Picture holder closeup
Equipment you will need
  1. Cut a piece of copper wire approximately 25cm long. Again, you can vary the heights if you plan to display them in a group. Using a wooden dowel or similar, wrap one of the wire ends around the dowel 2-3 times to create the coil that will hold a photo in place (B). Be careful not to bend the rest of the wire, as you want it to be as straight as possible.

  2. Now mix the plaster. Check the instructions on the packet, but it is usually one part plaster of Paris to two parts water. Measure both the water and powder in separate containers first (C). Pour the two ingredients together in another larger container. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spatula to remove all the lumps and create a smooth paste (D). You need to work quickly as the plaster sets in minutes, so it is important to be organised and only make one stand at a time rather than trying to mix and make them all at once. Mixing a little more than you think you might need is best as you won’t have time to make up more and top up your tube. Our largest tubes used half a cup of water and one cup of plaster powder. Once the consistency is right, pour the mixture into the tube up to the line you previously made. To remove air bubbles, tap the bottom of the tube onto a flat surface firmly. Keep tapping until there are no little air bubbles coming to the top.

Pic A
Pic A
Pic B
Pic B
Pic C
Pic C
  1. Insert the wire holder. Because the plaster is relatively thick when you pour it, and also sets quickly, simply place the wire through the centre point of the stand, hold for a few minutes and it will stay in place (E). Note: you will feel the plaster heating up as it sets and the paper tube may look damp.

  2. Once you can feel that the plaster is hard enough to hold its shape and, while the tube still feels damp, peel it off (F). If it’s still damp, the cardboard will come off more easily and not stick to the plaster. If your tube does stick, don’t worry. Wait till the plaster is completely dry and use a damp cloth to rub the excess paper off.

  3. Repeat these steps again for the other stands.

  4. Some cardboard tubes may leave a spiral imprint. To remove this or any unwanted bumps, wait till the stand is dry and, using a fine sandpaper block, wet and sand your stand until it’s smooth. Set aside to dry.

  5. Finally, paint each stand with two coats of Resene paint. These Resene green hues look gorgeous in a group.

Pic D
Pic D
Pic E
Pic E
Pic F
Pic F

Resene Rococo

Resene Nourish

Project by Marsha Smith, April 2020

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Projects from The Australian Women's Weekly
View more project ideas from The Australian Women's Weekly magazine in the Resene weekend diy projects section.

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