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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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Once the frame stained, it was time to secure everything in the back.  I went to the local art supply store and picked up some glazier points and some picture hanging supplies, then when I got them home I discovered a problem.  Because of how narrow the lighter strip of molding was, when the glazier points were pushed in place  they were still visible from the front of the frame. I tried chiseling way some of the wood in back and replacing the points, but this was difficult and not very effective for me.  However, placing the mat in front of the glazier point was much simpler and worked really well to solve the dilemma. The next time I do this I will look for wider molding, or just plan on putting the glazier points behind the mat from the beginning.
The remainder or the framing got put off for a long time after that because my staple gun was broken. Once I replaced that, it was a simple task  to secure the frame backing in place using staples  several inches apart that were left sticking up slightly (it just requires flipping the low/high switch on the staple gun).
Next the framing wire needed attached. The instructions on the one I bought suggested screwing some eyes (from a set of hook and eyes) into each side of the back of the frame and then tying the wire to them; however, because of how thin the molding was there was no room to do that. There was just barely enough room to attach the foam backing IF I pushed in and squished it with the staple gun as it was, so I just tied the wire to two of the staples instead. I think this will work because of how lightweight the frame and the plexiglass are. If It does not work I will have to think of something else. In the meantime I still need to decide where I want to hang it.

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
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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.
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how to draw oval #1I noticed several people found my series of posts about how to build your own custom frame by searching for how to cut an oval mat.  So, I thought I would write a more detailed article about how to draw or cut an oval. The easiest way would be if you already have an oval that you can trace. There are also several products available at art and craft stores that will cut a perfect oval;  however, these are a bit expensive (around $80 last time I checked) unless you need to cut a lot of ovals and need them exactly perfect.

how to draw an oval #2With some practice and a few simple tools you can get a pretty decent oval without breaking the bank. Most people probably already have all the necessary tools at home. You’ll need a pencil, ruler, scissors, eraser (optional), and some paper to practice with.

First fold your paper in half. Then fold it in half the other way–much like you would if you were going to make a paper snow flake. Measure half the width you would like your oval to be from the folded corner and mark that distance on the longer fold with your pencil. Next measure half the height you would like your oval to be, and mark it on the shorter fold. Now this is the part that will take practice: draw a curved line that connects the two marks and then unfold your paper. Be careful not to curve too sharply near the folds or you will end up with either a football or diamond shape. If you draw in a straight perpendicular line for about the first 1/4 inch or so it may help you avoid the temptation to curve too sharply.

how to cut an oval #4If after unfolding it, the oval does not look right there are several ways to fix it. You can either trim a little to round it more where the paper was folded, or place another paper under it ( or put tracing paper over it), then make corrections with your pencil on the uncut paper and try again. If you choose to trim the paper make sure it is folded or it will come out uneven and you will be unhappy with the results. Usually if I have an oval that did not turn out well it is because I tried to taper the oval too much near the fold. Try to stay as close to perpendicular near the fold to avoid having it look pointy when it is unfolded. Be patient and try this on scratch paper several times if necessary. It took time as a kid to learn how to cut hearts, circles, and snowflakes with ease, and with a little practice this will become easy to do.

Although this process does not always produce a perfect oval, with some practice you can make one that looks very good–all for the cost of several sheets of paper. Once you have a satisfactory oval, simply trace it onto the surface where you wanted it (such as your mat board or scrap book page), and VOILA–you just saved $80 on not having to buy a contraption to make one for you 😉

 

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

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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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