Have fun playing the frame game
IAM often frustrated when shopping for the perfect picture frame. There’s plenty to choose from but the ones I find are either all alike, too ordinary or too expensive. I’m no carpenter, but years ago I learned how to handle a few simple tools that allowed me to make my own frames. This new skill has opened a whole world of imaginative projects and designs. Once you can cut and assemble a frame, you have the ability to personalize the size, shape and finish. It’s very satisfying and great fun.
Designers Jamin and Ashley Mills had the same eureka moment when searching for ways to personalize their family home. Their new book, Handmade Walls: 22 inspiring ideas to bring your walls to life, showcases the whimsical beauty and simplicity with which they have layered their home. It is a step-by-step guide to making frames and one-of-a-kind pieces of art that grace the walls of any and every room. All that’s required is wood or fibreboard, a skilsaw (circular saw), a jigsaw, a drill, some stain and paint. Directions are clear and include tips on using the tools as well as how to hang small and large frames.
To begin with the simplest frame design in the book, choose a piece of wood or medium-density fibreboard. Decide on the size of your frame by adding the border measurement you would like showing around your picture. Mark the outer measurements with a ruler or chalk line. Use the skilsaw to cut out the square or rectangle. Decorate the block with stain or paint. Cut a piece of Plexiglas to cover the photo. Place the photo in the centre of the block, cover with the Plexiglas and attach the Plexiglas with screws at the four corners. The picture can be changed easily by unscrewing the corner screws.
Once you have completed one frame you will be hooked on the freedom and enchantment now open to you. The Mills show many different frame styles with tips on staining and painting techniques and favourite colours. Shown here are two featured projects that hang in their dining room. The Imogen mirror is a compilation of frames reviewed in the book and painted a heritage blue. Instead of a solid mirror, they used 4”x4” mirror tiles, which make an intriguing, glittery effect. On the right is a gargantuan frame designed to display 18 photographs. A 4’ x 8’ piece of MDF was used, but this project can be custom made to any size. Squares were cut out, edges sanded and the background painted. Cork tiles were cut to cover the picture holes and adhered to the back with hot glue and wood glue. Photos are affixed to the front with double-sided tape and can be easily interchanged.
Utilize the same frame-making skills to create display cases and other functional pieces of art. Individual letters and monograms are very popular today, and can be positioned on the wood using an overhead projector or copying and tracing. The Claire display seen here has been hung with two picture hanging kits, but if you decide to hang heavier items from the hooks, bolt the display board to the wall at a stud and use an anchor.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www. debbietravis.com.
Make unique and versatile frames that mirror your personality.