I was at a friend’s home a few months ago and I asked her where she got her pretty thin wood frames. She laughed and told me to pick it up off the wall and look at the back. I was shocked to see that the “frame” was actually kraft paper tape. I’ve seen it a few other times here in France since but I think its ingenius. Framing gets expensive when you buy the frames then have the custom mat cut. With these tools you pay a tiny more up front but you’ll be able to frame a lot of artwork. There are two main limitations to this kind of framing. First, you can’t frame extra large pieces because the tape isn’t strong enough to hold a large piece of glass or plexiglass. Two, You can’t change out art easily. If you want to remove the artwork you have to remove the tape and take it apart. The bonuses are it is really cheap and you can make the thickness of each frame different. I even experimented and painted the tape black and it worked great, you can change the color very easily. This project is perfect when you just want a simple thin frame.
Materials Needed: Glass or plexiglass, mat board cut to the size of the plexiglass (from an art store), mat board cutter, a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the plexiglass, ruler, paper tape (from an art store), exacto knife, hardware to hang your artwork, superglue
First, I started with some leftover plexiglass we had from this project. Then I made all the dimensions based on the size of the plexiglass. Glass stores sell glass very inexpensively or if you have a lot to frame go to Home Depot and have them cut down a $20 sheet of plexiglass to the sizes you want.
Next, cut your own matboard. It is usually around $8 to have a piece of matboard cut to your specific size of art. If you are planning on framing more that a few pieces its definitely easier to invest in a matboard cutter for $15. It cuts the matboard with a beveled edge and is really easy to use. Measure where you want the opening and follow the instructions on the package of the mat board cutter. Tape the artwork on the back of the mat board so it is secure in place.
Now you are ready to put it all together. If you are using plexiglass remove the film on it. Then stack the plexiglass, mat and artwork, and cardboard on the back. Get the paper tape and wet the back of it. I used a sponge and it worked well. Once you get it wet you have about 30-45 seconds to get it placed right before it starts to dry. Place the tape gently starting in the middle and working toward the edges. Pull the tape tightly over the edge and around the back smoothing it nice and tight. Then repeat with the opposite edge and then finish with the last two edges. I usually eyeball the thickness of tape that I want and then try to match the last three sides to the first.
Once it is done let it dry for at least an hour before handling and wait several hours before hanging. Attach a piece of hanging hardware with superglue on the back and then mount an extra piece of tape onto it for support.
Here are some general costs of everything in this project: Glass or plexiglass $20, mat board $7, mat board cutter $15, paper tape $4, hardware to hang your artwork $5. It will cost about $50 to collect all these supplies but you’ll be able to frame around 10 different pieces.
Thank you for the wonderful response with the Commission Project! We’re almost sold out. There are about 50 spots left so if you are interested in getting your very own oil painting commissioned in time for Christmas then act quick. They make a great present or even as a group gift for something special. You just send in a photo and the paintings ship no later than December 1st. The shipping cost is included in the price and the paintings are shipped framed, ready to be hung. Go here to read more and to purchase.
I want to give a special thanks to some of my blogger friends for letting us use their photos for samples. Naomi of Rockstar Diaries, Rachel of Black Eiffel, Joy of Oh Joy, Melanie of You Are My Fave and Megan of Not Martha. Thank you thank you!
Photo Credit: Naomi of Rockstar Diaries
Photo Credit: Krode Heaver
Photo Credit: Megan of Not Martha
Paul was taking some friends to the flea market last month and he found a piece of art he thought we should get. (We have a tradition where every year we buy one piece of art.) It was large and had a really affordable price so when he got home he looked up the artist online. He found a picture here of a similar painting online to show me. He said “it looks a lot like the one from the flea market but its a little less creepy than this one.” I saw it in person and loved it so we ended up buying it but when we got it home and looked again we realized that it was the same painting from the internet just someone painted over the “scary” mask with a hat and rosy cheeks. Ha! It makes me sad that someone ruined such an old painting but I really love it and it makes a great story.
I love this Bella Foster print. Flowery but moody too. There are a limited number available here.
While we are in our semi temporary digs here we needed to get art on our walls. I brought home a cheap frame and mat from the art store and then made a little piece of art to fit the frame. I love the book The Little Prince. In fact I gave Paul a copy while we were dating that we still have. The phrase “Dessine-moi un mouton” comes from that book. It means “Draw me a sheep” and if you are familiar with the book its alluding to the idea of staying childlike and “seeing with the heart.” We had it on our wall in San Francisco so we decided to make one for our Paris apartment too. Obviously you could use whatever phrase you wanted or that had meaning to you. This DIY is so easy I’m almost embarrassed to call it a DIY. Really, it took 5 minutes from start to finish.
Materials Needed: Frame and Mat, small paintbrush, acrylic paint, 2-3 pieces of nice paper, scrap paper
Step One: Think about the design. Figure out how big you want you art to be (consider the size of the mat board opening.) When thinking about the design make sure it has enough “white space” so it doesn’t look to crowded.
Step Two: Get some paint and put a little on a palette (a plastic plate works great for this.) Then using your paint brush mix in water so it’s viscosity is closer to liquid than paste.
Step Three: On the scrap paper practice painting the phrase until you find something you like. I find my handwriting is too “cutesy” for this kind of stuff so I usually have Paul write it.
Step Four: Paint the phrase on the nice piece of paper. Let it dry (or use a hairdryer if you are impatient like me) and then pop it in your frame. Et Voila!
ps: My friends Aubrey and Charlotte gave me the pretty paper flower hanging on it. She found at the flea market. It’s so pretty, I love it.