A Digital Picture Frame : Final Project Inspiration and Plans

My father has been asking for a digital picture frame for christmas or his birthday for years now. For some reason each year we neglect his request and get him something else. Why? I have no idea. But delay no more, for my final project in Aesthetics of Design I have decided to produced him a homemade digital picture frame. There are many designs out there on the internet for creation of a digital picture frame, and in parsing through them I couldn’t find one that I truly liked. What I was able to do, however, was formulate some sort of idea of what I needed to create my own, from there I figure the design will come on its own. Of course digital picture frames are available commercially for pretty cheap these days, and my one off version likely won’t be as powerful, or inexpensive one from amazon. But creating my own picture frame from scratch will allow me to personalize it to my father in ways that a commercial product simply can not. In my mind, the digital picture frames that are on the market today aren’t particularly aesthetically impressive, which is shown by the following images.


The bare bones list of components I will need are a computer or controller of some kind, a power source, an mini-HDMI cable and a display. The most important components are the brain, and the display, for those items I have selected the following products:

  • Raspberry Pi 4  single board computer
  • DFRobot 10.1″ mini-HDMI IPS display
The Raspberry Pi 4 Single Board Computer
DFRobots 10.1 inch display


Beyond the basic functionality of this picture frame I would like to add meaningful aesthetic elements to give it some character. I am not entirely sure what kind of aesthetic the frame will take on, but I will likely attempt to make it modern, while adding touches that are personally significant to my dad. I also plan to build or use a simple web app to control it so that my father can wirelessly load pictures to it from his phone or computer. All told I anticipate spending about 150 dollars on this project. While that may seem a bit excessive for a picture frame, I am truly excited to try my hand at working with electronics, and to see what kind of final product I can create.


Image sources in order of appearance:

Image 1: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1042064-REG/aluratek_admpf310f_10_1_digital_photo_frame_4gb.html

Image 2: https://www.amazon.com/eMotion-Digital-Picture-memory-frames/dp/B003B8KI8W

Image 3: https://aluratek.com/seven-inch-digital-photo-frame-automatic-slideshow

Image 4: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

Image 5: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/17189

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Jake,

    My grandma has one of these and she loves it. I wish you luck since I know when electronic systems go bad it can get expensive quick. You wouldn’t happen to have a tutorial somewhere that helps walk through the process would you? I know youtube and instructables come in clutch when in a bind.

  • Callum Schulz
    March 8, 2021 11:38 am

    Hey Jake,
    This looks like a really cool project idea and I’m excited to see how it turns out. My mother has also expressed an interest in getting a digital picture frame so I’m curious to see how difficult making your own would be. Building a web app to control in addition to building the frame and doing the electronics for that seems ambitious, but I wish you the best of luck in completing all of it!

  • Branden Tangney
    March 4, 2021 11:31 am

    Hi Jake!

    This is an awesome project and one that provides a bit of a challenge. For Christmas, I just got my parents a Digital picture frame and they absolutely love it! Every time I go home there is a new set of pictures on the screen and some I haven’t even seen before! Do you have any experience with electronics and programming? I think this is where the challenge might come into play on your project! However, I can’t wait to see the final product and how you turn it into your own!


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