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Frame It! 7 Gifts to Frame for Grads

Frame It! 7 Gifts to Frame for Grads
Lisa Ann Jersey

Looking for a special gift for the high school, college, or even kindergarten graduate in your life? Me too, and since I’m on a tight budget this year and am not much of a do-it-yourselfer, I came up with a great gift idea to get me through. My baby sister is graduating college this year, so I need a gift that is special, has a lot of thought put into it and that she will have and treasure for years to come. Sound like something you’re after? Well, presto! I’ve come up with the frame it gift. But wait, I’ve got more than just one frame it gift idea up my sleeve, in fact, I’ve got 7. Check them out below to see if one will work for you!

Framed-dollar-billsFramed Money

Yes, take some bills, any amount and tack them into a frame. Why not just give the grad actual money? If the money is tacked up in a frame, you don’t have to give a set amount and you can add a quirky little plaque (made of paper or cardboard, whatever your budget allots) with a saying like “Something to get you started,” or “For Emergency Use Only,” or “Emergency Ramen Fund,” – you get the idea. If you’re not on a strict budget, framed cash is also a unique way to wrap their gift, plus it might actually inspire your grad to try to save that money instead of just cracking open the frame and spending the money. You can even get crafty and collage money from different currencies or monopoly money with real money. You know your grad best, so just have them in mind and money in your hand and frame away!

Framed Things from Home

This gift is especially nice for graduates who will be continuing their education elsewhere, like a high school grad leaving for college or college grad leaving for a job or law school. If I were framing this gift for my sister, I’d include small pieces of sagebrush, casino chips, a wolf paw sticker (Go Wolf Pack!), pictures of Lake Tahoe, snow and mountains, a piece of our mom’s kitchen stationery and maybe a coaster from her favorite restaurant. Just gather up any things that will remind your grad of their hometown, house, family, friends or school and collage it in a frame or shadowbox. You can also add a plaque, or just collage in special messages to your grad depending on size of the frame and the amount of items you use.

Framed Past Treasures

While this gift is a tad bit trickier, it’s a great gift for parents or siblings to give. For my sister, I’ve decided to frame a painting she made me when she was in 5th grade, it’s pretty worn and slightly tattered, but with a nice mat and a sentimental frame (one that says “Sisters By Chance, Friends By Choice”) this gift will surely be one she’ll always treasure. I’ve also decided to use a larger frame so that I can fit in a picture of the two of us underneath her painting. Other items that you might want to frame as a gift include: 1st finger paintings, baby hand or footprints, a saved birth announcement, a piece of a favorite blanket, a 1st A paper or test, a previous graduation announcement or name in paper (ideal for contrasting with a current one) a 1st report card or any other little piece of memorabilia you’ve saved over the years.

Framed Tickets

This is probably my favorite of the framed gifts; there is so much you can do with this one so get creative! I save just about every ticket I ever get, from movie tickets, to plane tickets, to concert tickets and more, so I’ve really got a lot to work with, but you don’t just have to frame a ticket from an event you and your grad went to together. You can frame tickets of an event or show you’ve yet to see, as a clever way of giving them the tickets, or even mock-up tickets of something you’re committing to do together in the future. My sister and I have always wanted to go to Tokyo, so I’ve crafted up some tickets, put a date 10 years out on them and framed them with a message that says, “Our first dinner in Tokyo is on me.” I’ve also framed old movie tickets with a photo of us at a Harry Potter premier with a message that says, “We may be dorks, but we’re dorks together!” Remember, if you frame plane, train, movie, concert, play, prom, or any other tickets you can think of with a quirky message or photo, you’ve got an instant memory and gift to be treasured much longer than the event itself.


Letter-giftFramed Letters

A heartfelt letter to your grad might sound a bit corny, but as long as you put your heart into to it, they’re bound to love it. I also like the framed letter as an alternative to a card. A graduation card can run you $5+ but a framed letter, even in a cheaper frame like one from a Dollar Tree, should definitely save you a few bucks!

Framed Gift Cards

This may be similar to the idea of framing of money above but trust me, there is a lot of potential in this one. Framing a gift card or gift cards can give you a chance to get personal with your grad. I picked up $5 and $10 gift cards to all my sister’s favorite places and then chose a collage frame, one with multiple sized windows. I put a gift card in each of the windows and decorated them with little sayings and stickers. This gift can get pretty pricey but it would also work to frame a single gift card in a regular frame and decorate around it or even collage pictures of the grad behind it, this way they still have a keepsake once they use the gift card.

Picture-frame-with-Graduate-pictureFramed Pictures

There is nothing wrong with framing a great picture of you and your grad and gifting it to them in a special frame. If you want to spruce it up, you could frame a single scrapbook page with stickers and decorations around it. For this one though, I’d say less is more. A simple frame, a picture of the two of you and a nice card or letter will go a long way.

Need frames? Some of my favorite places to buy picture frames are Walmart (hello inexpensive!) and Office Depot (hello multi-packs!). Have a place you get frames from or some framing ideas of your own? Feel free to share below!


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  1. Fred

    I really like the idea of framing a letter to my daughter about her accomplishments and how proud I am of her. Yes, you mentioned it does sound very corny but you can never go wrong with a gift straight from the heart.

  2. Janet

    Really cute! I love the "First dinner in Tokyo is on me" idea and the "Emergency Ramen Fund" one - maybe include a little joke plastic hammer with that one! 🙂

  3. Christian

    Great ideas. I love the fact that these gifts can mean so much and cost so little.

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