Turn a Scrabble Board into a Picture Frame

Scrabble picture frame
Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Life, Clue, Hungry Hungry Hippos: we’ve never met a board game we didn’t like.

Still, Scrabble’s our favorite.

We’re not alone in our Scrabble obsession, either. Some folks memorize Scrabble-admissable words like uey, muhly, and zo, but have no idea what they mean.* Some even earn their bread on the Scrabble tournament circuit.

Sadly, Scrabble sets are often abandoned due to missing tiles. Fortunately, an unplayable game can be salvaged by turning it into a kickass picture frame/bulletin board/slice of awesome.

Whip out the old X-acto knife and transform that subpar board into a superlative piece of wall candy — we’ll show you how.

Resurrect an Old Scrabble Board as a Picture Frame

* uey: a U-turn
muhly: any of several types of grass native to North and South America
zo: a Himalayan cross between a yak and a cow

What You’ll Need


  • An old copy of Scrabble
  • Cork (in roll, tile, or discarded-bulletin-board form)
  • X-acto knife or utility knife (or mat cutter)
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Velcro tabs
  • Flat thumbtacks
  • Glue

Step 1: Glue Tacks to the Tiles

glue thumbtacks onto the tilesGlue thumbtacks to the back of the Scrabble tiles. You can glue tacks to all of the tiles, or pick out just enough for a few choice names or phrases.

Let the glue dry while you get on with the rest of the frame.

Note: if you don’t want to use tacks on your frame, you can use double-sided tape to stick the tiles on it instead.

Step 2: Cut Windows in the Board

cut windows in the boardUse the X-acto knife and ruler to cut out a few windows in the Scrabble board. Make them any size you want, keeping in mind that the windows need to be 1/4 to 1/2 inch smaller than the size of the prints you want to frame.

Board games are made to last, so cutting through the board will be harder than you expect. Make a series of shallow cuts along the same line rather than trying to saw all the way through in one go.

Keep your fingers well out of the way when you’re cutting, and be careful with that knife!

Step 3: Tape Photos to the Back of the Board

tape photos to the boardDecide which photo should peek through which window. Line up a photo behind the window, then tape it in place on the back of the board.

Repeat until all the frame windows are filled with lovely photos.

Step 4: Make a Cork Back

make a cork backingCut out a piece of cork slightly smaller than the size of the board.

Note: if your cork is thin (1/16th to 1/8th inch) cut two pieces the same size and glue them together to make one thick piece. This will keep the thumbtacks from sticking through the frame into your wall.

Step 5: Attach Velcro to the Cork

attach velcro tabs to cork and boardAttach Velcro tabs to all four corners of the cork back, and to corresponding places on the back of the Scrabble board. Attach the cork to the back of the board.

Having an easy-to-remove back will allow you to change the photos in your frame as often as you want.

Step 6: Hang That Baby Up

Scrabble picture frameHang your newly-completed Scrabble frame on the wall using mounting tape, nails, or sorcery.

Once you’ve got your frame where you want it, spell something out by sticking tiles onto the board.

Since the board’s so sturdy, it’s a good idea to make guide holes with a small nail before sticking in the tile-tacks. (We pushed too hard trying to get the tacks in, and popped some of our tiles right off their tacks!)

Extra Credit: Play More

Clue picture frameGot a beat-up old copy of Clue hanging around? Cut out some frame windows, and try to figure out who did which dreadful thing to your friends in which room!

Actually, any game with a great-looking board will work for this project. If you see Parcheesi or Monopoly hanging around the thrift shop, snap ’em up quick-like and make ’em into frames.

Gratuitous Extras

  • Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis looks into the world of the professional Scrabble circuit. It’s funny and you should read it.
  • Wanna know what a professional Scrabble player looks like? Watch Word Wars or Scrabylon.
  • We used the Spanish-language version of Scrabble for this project. The 29 different language editions of Scrabble include Bulgarian, Malaysian and Icelandic. The highest-scoring letter in Finnish and Norwegian is “C”.

Photo credits: dotbenjamin and Rev Dan Catt.