Monday, April 29, 2013

Jacquie's Up-Cycle Nation: New Life For An Old Frame

The right frame adds instant glam to any artwork but a quality wooden frame can cost a small fortune at a hobby store, often costing more than the work to be framed.  With a keen eye and 2 spare hours, you can create a masterpiece on a pauper's budget.
I scored this fab 1990's home decorating beauty for $3 at Goodwill.  It was the perfect size for an over-sized photo collage  I had made one rainy afternoon.
The back of the frame gave me all the info I needed:  The frame was real wood, the size was right, and this was not a true vintage piece.  This frame is sturdy, the glass is intact, and it is begging to up-cycled into a new life.

All You Need For This Project:
Out dated wooden frame
Sandpaper- 150 grit
Empty container for frame tacks
Spray paint
Damp rag
Antiquing medium
Paint brush
Matte or Gloss sealer

Using pliers, remove frame tacks.  Set these aside along with the glass in a safe place.  Sand the entire front of the frame to provide grit for the new paint.  With a damp rag, wipe away any sanding residue.
Find an open air space to do the spray painting.  I use the bottom side of a plastic pool and an old bag to catch and stray paint.  **Never spray paint inside, in poorly ventilated areas or near an open flame.**
Apply a light coat of paint.
Allow the paint to dry.
Lightly sand.
Wipe away sanding residue.
Repeat until the desired coverage is reached.
To achieve a high gloss, paint saturated look, apply 3-5 coats of paint and top with a high gloss sealer. 
To achieve a shabby chic look, sand the corners, hard edges and decorative embellishments.  Wipe away sanding residue.
To add age, use antiquing gel medium diluted with water.  I used 2 tablespoons medium in 1/4 cup water.  Apply generously to frame.
For a primitive look, allow the coating to dry and top with a matte sealer.
For a shabby chic appearance, wipe away the gel medium with a damp rag.  This will leave the aging primarily on the exposed wood.  Top with a matte sealer.
To add visual interest and definition, use washi tape to enhance the original fabric portion of the frame.
This particular tape helps carry the vintage theme of the collage to the frame.
Now the frame is ready for finishing.  Clean the glass and reinsert.  Using the original cardboard backing and frame tacks, secure the artwork and glass in place.  For a polished look cover the backing with brown paper.  Now the frame is ready to enjoy many more years of happiness.
Rest assured, the original reproduction floral print has not gone to waste.  It has been up-cycled into another project for a future post.  Be certain that if it could not be used it would have landed in the paper bin destined for recycling.


Jacquie Wheeler
Hand of Bela Peck