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As an artist I constantly have more art than frames handy to hang them in,  so I am constantly on the lookout for inexpensive framing options.

Last year during our neighborhood’s annual yard sale, I managed to pick up this frame –along with a bag of clothes, shoes, and assorted other goodies for a very small donation at one of the churches in town. During the last couple hours of the sale they were selling as much as could be stuffed in a bag for a requested donation for their youth program. The frame  needed some cleaning up, a new back, and a different color of stain to go well with one of my paintings, but it was a great deal.

Frame from a yard sale

close up after some cleaning and sanding

close up after some cleaning and sanding

It looked much better after sanding it down and  cleaning it up with some mineral spirits to prepare it for re-staining.

The frame fit this painting nicely with the addition of a large sheet of mat board leftover from a previous framing project.

another painting I considered putting into this frame

Midsummer Daydream would have looked good in this frame as well, but I decided to frame Michael at the Water Pump instead since it had been waiting to be framed for longer and has more sentimental value.

I also had a large sheet of  foam board on hand  (and by large I mean it just barely fits behind the piano, but it was cheaper in the long run to buy it in that size). In this photo I am laying out the frame on the board to check which direction will give me the best use of the remaining board.

After re-staining it with several layers of Bombay Mahogany (also from another framing project) to get the right shade, and following the directions on the can, I went on with cutting out the mat board and foam board. The frame did not need a top coat, lacquer or shellac, because this was a one step stain.

using the frame to mark a straight line

using the frame to mark a straight line

After measuring the opening carefully (making sure to account for the lip of the frame) and marking my measurements, I used the edge of the frame as a straight edge (lining up the bottom of the frame with the bottom of the board, and the side with my marks.

After repeating this process for the other sides it is time to cut it out with a mat knife. Use a slow steady pressure to avoid problems. It will probably be necessary to make several passes in order to cut all the way through. Once the mat is cut, trace it’s outline onto the foam board, and cut that out using the same slow, steady movement, repeat passes and a little patience.  Next align the painting with one corner, and mark half the distance between the other side and the edge of the mat. Repeat with the opposite corner.Mark 1/8 inch inwards from there, so the mat will overlap your painting slightly, and then cut on those lines.

If the mat board does not fit all the way  in the frame ( and it probably wont if  since it is difficult to keep the blade perfectly perpendicular while cutting), then just shave some very thin strips off any problem areas until it fits snugly. Here are some of mine that just happened to fall in such a way that they look like a sad boy in a funky feathered hat.

Copy  your measurement from the mat to the foam board, place your painting on the foamboard with the painting  lining it up with the lines you previously measured. Use a little acid free tape on the back to hold it in place on the foam board (use the tape to make a T hinge and only attach to the top backside of the painting.–I have been told this is to let the painting expand and contract with the weather without damaging it….) and then set it in the frame to make sure it fits (if you already have some glass or,  preferably in my opinion , UV resistant plexiglass –since it is less likely to break if you have young persons who insist on playing ball in the house etc.–then go ahead and put that in 1st.)

For now I just have mine hanging without the glass, until I get a chance to get some at the local hardware store.

When it came time to hang the picture I did encounter a problem…

the frame leans out far from the wall

The top of the frame leaned a good 3 inches or more from the wall.

The problem was the screws it was hung by stuck too far out  as well as being placed in the in the exact middle of the frame vertically.

The solution was to take out the offending screws and attach the cord much closer to the top, shortening the string considerably.

I did this by stapling it down firmly, pulling the short end up and stapling it again–followed by tying it with a secure knot. Doing this on the first side was relatively easy, but the second side took some trial and error in making sure I did not leave the cord too loose.

For my purposes I wanted the cord slightly above the edge of the frame, to accommodate the hook I was using. This only works because the framed work is relatively lightweight having used plexiglass, and in the long run I will probably need to use an anchor screw instead and adjust the cord shorter. Still, it is a far sight better than hanging the unframed painting up with thumbtacks. ( As a side note here, the tacks go next to rather than into the art. usually two above an two below. My DD once thought she was “helping” by rehanging this painting when it fell off the wall, only she poked a hole in it 😦 luckily it is a water soluble oil rather than watercolor, and I was able to fix it by applying a little glob of matching colored paint on the front and back to fill in the pinhole.)

Now my framed painting hangs flat on the wall, and I only have to get some plexiglass and secure the foam board in with staples to finish the project.

This is what it will look like when it is done.

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Masking the Frame

Masking the Frame

Last week I decided it was time to pick out the stain for my framing project. So, I took my frame and artwork with me to Home Depot. Choosing the stain took  a long time. There were three different stains I thought might look good with it, but it was hard to tell which would be best based on the little swatches up on the shelf at the store. I finally went up to the paint desk and asked the sales clerk if she had some that I could hold up to the frame. She did have some, but not all 3 of the ones I wanted to see. Finally I chose Bombay Mahogany because it leaned a bit to the purple end of brown which I felt would complement the mat. The other 2 colors I had considered were Red Mahogany and Accents Antique Red. I really liked the antique red, but since it had to be mixed custom, it would not be returnable if I tested it and did not like it. Bombay Mahogany was only available in a 1 step formula (which would have been great except I was planning on leaving part of the frame unstained, and so I needed to put a coat of gloss on anyway).

Checking the Stain On Scrap Wood

Checking the Stain On Scrap Wood

I read all the instructions, and following them I shook the can before I opened it. Using a staining cloth which I already had on hand, I tested it on a small scrap leftover from the frame ( making sure to mask the lighter colored decorative molding first because I wanted to leave that part unstained). After applying 2 coats of stain I held it up next to the mat, deciding I liked it. Then I masked the frame and started working on it outside on the back porch with plenty of newspaper underneath (make sure you do this in a well ventilated area and wear gloves, goggles and cover any surfaces you don’t want stained). Following the instructions I let it dry over night and then got some 000fine grade steal wool to buff the surface before adding the second coat. The next day after the second coat had dried I removed the masking tape from the decorative molding. I was dismayed to find that a few drops had leaked through under the edge of the masking tape. The instructions

Some Stain Leaked Through

Some Stain Leaked Through

said to use mineral spirits for cleanup. Since I was out of money for now, and had some gasoline (for my lawnmower) I used some of that instead dipping q-tips in it and scrubbing. I don’t know whether the mineral spirits would have worked better or if it had something to do with the polyurethane in the one step stain–but it left the wood slightly discolored. I think it was probably the gas, so I would not recommend it. Using an X-acto knife around the edges (where I had not tried to clean with gas) I was able to scrape or shave paper thin strips of the unwanted stained areas off with no problems as far as discoloration underneath. On the face of the molding I scraped the discolored areas that had been cleaned with gas. It helped a little, but not as much as I would like. I have had at least one person say they did not notice it, but I am contemplating painting

Leak through on the edge

Leak through on the edge

the discolored areas to match the natural color of the decorative molding. I don’t know if it will work or be worth it. I went ahead and sprayed it with multiple coats of clear glaze for now. I will definitely use a  different method for cleanup next time.

This has definitely been a learning experience. I originally started this as a review of how well Bob Villa’s frame plans (see part 1) would work for someone with very little woodworking experience, and on a tight budget. So far I have had to change some things and experiment on my own because he did not explain all the steps and go through all the way to the end of the completed project.

custom framing part 1, custom framing part 2, custom framing part 3, custom framing part 4, custom framing part 5

stay tuned for part 7 coming soon…
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Stained and Glossed

Stained and Glossed

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
Dawna’s Buy               my art Gallery of Greeting Cards, Matted Prints, and T-shirts at RedBubble Buy               art

Dawna’s Fine Art Prints at imagekind.com

Dawna’s Zazzle Gallery of items featuring her Art and Photography

Dawna’s art on FineArtAmerica

Dawna’s art on Amazon

Visit Dawna’s fan page and become a fan on facebook!

see Dawna’s art & photography with the poetry of Glennis Roper
http://PoemsProseAndArtistry.imagekind.com/
http://www.zazzle.com/poemsproseartistry*
http://www.redbubble.com/people/poemsproseart

Buy my t-shirts

 

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Yesterday I finally went to buy the foam board I needed for my framing project. I had priced an approximately 30X 40 sheet of acid free foamboard at Michael’s for about $10. They do also occasionally have 50% off coupons in the paper, but these exclude framing supplies. It turns out they did have an even larger size of foamboard for $15.99. Since it was about twice as big (about 40×60), I decided I would buy that one and have lots left over to frame some of my other art.

As with the matt board, I traced the outline of the glass onto the foamboard and cut it with the matt knife. Even with the knife blade fully extended, it did not go all the way through. I flipped it over and traced and cut it on the other side to get all the way through. If the foamboard does not quite fit in your frame, then try flipping it over from side to side or top to bottom or both. I still had to shave a little off one side after doing this to get mine to fit.

Bob Villa’s frame plans (see part 1) did not go into how to add the matboard and foamboard backing and secure them. I was planning on just using staples along the inner edge of the frame to wedge them into place, but my molding was too thin. The foamboard was flush with the back of the frame instead of leaving a little extra depth where I could stick some staples.

I need to come up with a different plan. I thought about just leaving it as is, because the foam was cut in such a way that it was so snug it would not fall out even when turned upside down and shaken. I went back to Michael’s thinking they probably have something designed to twist and lock the foamboard in place; however, I could not find anything. One of the ladies at the custom framing desk said since the foam board squishes that it would probably work to just squish it a bit and hold it in place with staples anyway.

I think before I secure everything in place I will select a stain and finish the frame. I’m thinking a nice cherry would look good. I am hoping to get some samples and stain some of the scraps first to make sure before  staining the whole thing.

In the meantime, here is an interesting article I found on framing watercolors.


low budget framing part 1,
stay tuned for part 6…

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