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Bean Frames




Besides being tasty in a salad, beans can be unexpectedly stylish when they trim wooden frames. Here, beans were applied in three designs, and they make the frames look like a set.

Bean Frame How-To
Browse through a store that sells dried beans to get inspired by the bright colors and smooth bead-like shapes. Paint unfinished wooden frames with acrylic paint, and glue on beans with craft glue. Begin gluing along the outside edge of the frame, starting at one corner, applying a thin layer of glue and pressing on beans.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2000



Reviews (41)

  • NWKelli 5 Mar, 2013

    Thanks so much for the great craft ideas. The only thing I wish is that the photos detailing your projects had the ability to be enlarged in order to see more detail. I'll be doing this one. :)

  • kitty 5 Mar, 2013

    love the beans martha......

  • Sheryll 29 Oct, 2010

    This is such a great reminder of all tht can be done with simple, everyday stuff. I have done this before many years ago . I am so happy to be reminded of such a clever reinventive fix for my old stored, empty frames! Thank you so much Martha!!! Oh yeah, for you nay sayers, you must not have any creative visions. because this can look very elegant.

  • moondust811 19 Nov, 2008

    I LOVED this gift idea! I used it to make frames for my friend's birthdays and got rave reviews! They loved their gifts and it didn't cost me hardly anything. I used wooden frames you can buy at a craft store for a dollar a piece and some white beans and black paint with a clear shiny paint on top. I just used regular craft glue to glue the beans on and that worked great. I upped the value of the frame by making my own birthday card and sticking it in the frame, an all-in-one gift!

  • DrBeeMe 24 Apr, 2008

    Wondering if a glue gun would work better or just plain ol' white glue? Any suggestions?

  • CraftTestDummies 4 Apr, 2008

    My Gran used to craft flowers by gluing beads and seeds on cardboard rounds with a wire attached, and then make wreaths and center pieces. These would be great crafts to make on Earth Day! Just be careful to store in airtight containers for the off-season to keep critters from feasting... or move them outdoors for winter and feed the wildlife!

  • momdig 3 Apr, 2008

    I don't get it. Why the negativity? If you don't like the craft, then don't freakin' do it! It probably would be best to poly or varnish over he beans to keep the bugs out.

  • swanyj 2 Apr, 2008

    30 years ago I made a collage of all types of seeds and sprayed it with varnish - still looks great. Susan

  • sstaal 2 Apr, 2008

    Sorry, text was lost. Years ago I had a shadow box full of beans and pasta. Within 2 years I found it full of bugs! I wonder if a coat of varnish would help keep these frames nice...

  • sstaal 2 Apr, 2008

    Years ago I had a shadow box full of beans

  • LouLou2007 1 Apr, 2008

    I used to glue beans and pasta to everything I could get them or it to stick to. LOL, it's funny how old ideas come back and make a big hit again. Kids love this craft and it's something they can really express their artistic ability with and not cost an arm and a leg. I love this craft and plan to start it up again; it is most certainly a wonderful embellishment!

  • mundorff 1 Apr, 2008

    Beads might be more elegant?

  • waycrossgrannie 1 Apr, 2008

    Thanks for the idea..My teenage girl volunteers will do this with residents at one of the local nursing homes. Great, inexpensive and will be fun for everyone...

  • mssell 1 Apr, 2008

    You can also paint AFTER the beans are applied for the texture thing without the contrast.

  • wicmoon 1 Apr, 2008

    Beans today...Pasta Art next or maybe jewlery made out of Fruit Loops. This has to be an April Fools joke. I would have gone with "The Scream" painting made from dried pasta.

  • mahze 1 Apr, 2008

    I thought it was a wonderfully creative idea. Why not! SO I have a coffee maker that uses whole coffee beans and I pulled some out. Pretty greasy process, but bottom line - it's beautiful! Fits in well with my craftsman style home. This is an excellent small motor project for a child, only using other types of large and medium size beans. I'll take my daughter to pick out a variety. I've got some inexpensive flat frames from Ikea which will be easier for a young child to decorate.

  • contributors_marthastewart_com_hrhprincesskathy 1 Apr, 2008

    i disagree with KaterTot. I have made these before and they are wonderful. They are great folk art frames for old family photos and prints. In fact, my hallway is full of them. They are simple to make and loog great. Try one, you will be hooked!

  • LuvMaerz 1 Apr, 2008

    What a great embellishment! I think I might dip the beans in watered-down paint and lay on wax paper to dry first. Then I can coordinate the frame with my decor! Great idea!!

  • carolinaliving 1 Apr, 2008

    When I was a teacher I did a lot of crafts with beans. I would make outlines of designs for the children such as turkeys for Thanksgiving, and they would glue beans of various types/colors to create artistic patterns rather than coloring or painting the design or picture. They are quite versatile as a craft material.

  • craftylady66 1 Apr, 2008

    Thank you for this wonderful idea. It will be something i can use in Vacation Bible School this summer, as well with my grandkids and myself.


  • WVJane 1 Apr, 2008

    Wow. I'm glad I'm not alone. This reminded me of crafts I did as a child in Bible School. I think it's a great idea for kids, but not necessarily for adults. I do think the coffee bean idea could class this up a bit.

  • ChristySatfield 1 Apr, 2008

    I made an entire picture using beans and split peas about 35 years ago. It turned out great, but after about 5 or so years, bugs got into the beans and I had to discard the picture. Is there a way to seal the beans so bugs don't get into them?

  • MWindsor 1 Apr, 2008

    Wouldn't you need to seal the beans with varnish? To stop bugs

  • karita 1 Apr, 2008

    This is cute. I liked someone's comments about using coffee beans. Mmm, yummy coffee. :-)

  • jkgasser 1 Apr, 2008

    I think this would be a cute idea for a picture in a kitchen.
    Janet Gasser Ohio

  • diannabrown 1 Apr, 2008

    I find it sad that a few of us do not like this project. I have seen frames very similar to these in a very high end gift store, that sell well over $35.00. No accounting for some peoples taste. I like it!! I have sone this with some of my ugly brass frames that I purchased in the 80's, and they look great. Thank you

  • arsesrus 1 Apr, 2008

    I have been doing this for many, many years using coffee beans. Looks and smells great!

  • Aigroeg 1 Apr, 2008

    I love the projects that you put onto your website. Some of them are not applicable to me but the ideas are great and I appreciate the Martha Stewart Team that thinks them up. Thank you.
    Georgia Browne

  • susandixon 1 Apr, 2008

    this is a great idea. i think children would like to do this on a raining day. i also think of activities that seniors can do in a nursing home. this would be great.susan

  • humblebeefarm 1 Apr, 2008

    i really! like this project. very doable, inexpensive but gives a rich look.

  • Hunebun 1 Apr, 2008

    What a GREAT idea! My grandkids are coming over and I told them what we were going to do. (age 8-17). They can design there own and give to there moms for Mothers Day. I have all the materials, so it's even better. Keep up the GOOD THINGS, MARTHA. Brandi Cancellieri

  • PamElizabeth 1 Apr, 2008

    I would have never thought of this, but it is really a beatufiul accent to an otherwise plain frame. I will try this.

  • prohacs 1 Apr, 2008

    If you zoom the image, it appears that the frames are highlighted with glued-on beans. HMMMMMM - - I think I agree with the previous posters.

  • danigirl1210 1 Apr, 2008

    My guess is that someone is either pranking everyone or they are having a serious creativity drought at Martha's headquarters....

    This is bad. Sorry.

  • KaterTot 1 Apr, 2008

    P.S. I don't think it's an April Fool's joke. I think they thought those made nice looking frames - otherwise they wouldn't have chosen the nice colors and the typical bird pictures Martha likes

  • KaterTot 1 Apr, 2008

    Oh good, it's not just me. I was afraid my previous posting sounded harsh.

  • Corrie 1 Apr, 2008

    Couldn't decide if this is serious or an April Fool's joke....fine idea for something for kids to do, but have you actually ever seen a bean frame?! Yikes1

  • jennyferd 1 Apr, 2008

    Ummm, is this part of an April Fool's joke? I am certain Martha does not have dried bean covered frames in her house.... perfect project for kindergarten. :)

  • KaterTot 1 Apr, 2008

    Sorry Martha, I gotta part ways with you on this one.....................these should only be made by girl scouts, or children crafters :) Love most of your ideas, though!

  • grammy2twins 1 Apr, 2008

    What a great idea for kids to do on a rainy spring day!

  • chook 31 Mar, 2008

    this is great i will try it
    it is cheap but nice janet(chook)