Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An outside-the-box picture frame

Remember when I talked about my longing to make our home unique and personal to us? I know sometimes I talk a big game, but this time I wasn't.freakin.kidding.

We're on a mission. I've taken the oath: I will not buy things that thousands of other people already own. Unless I'm in a thrift store or antique shop, where there is obviously a free pass.

But I'm a little late in taking this oath, seeing as I've already furnished an apartment and then a first home prior to having this epiphany. So what about all the stuff I've already bought... do I now have to trash it because it was mass-produced in China - probably with all sorts of lead paint? What's a girl to do?!

Get creative. Think outside the box.  Get a little Maverick-y, as a certain former presidential candidate would say (uh-oh... Did I just make a Sarah Palin reference?!  DON'T SEND ME MAIL, I take it back.  Yeesh.)


We think it's a pretty good place to start.

Here's how it happened:

You will need:
:: A picture frame
:: Fabric (I used this)
:: A sponge brush - 1 inch works best, but any will do
:: Mod Podge
:: Scissors or Exact-o knife

**For the record, my frame was black, but the fabric was thick enough that it didn't matter.  If my fabric had been thinner, I would have primed the frame and let it dry as a first step.

1. Take everything out of the frame so that all you have is the actual frame itself.  No glass, no cardboard or backing.  Place your frame on the fabric you want to use.  Cut the fabric leaving enough space around the edges to give you plenty of room, since you'll fold the fabric over.  An inch should do the trick, you might use 2 to be safe (you can always trim it later).

2.  Place the frame wrong side down on the fabric, also wrong side down.  Working carefully, adhere the Mod Podge to the frame.  Then, working in about 6 inch sections at a time, fold the fabric tightly onto the back side of the frame, being careful to smooth any wrinkles, until your fabric is taunt from edge to edge and top to bottom.  Work the corners like you would gift wrap until you have the smoothest edge possible and adhere with Mod Podge.  Give this about 10 minutes to dry before proceeding.

3.  Using sharp scissors or the Exact-o, trim the interior of the frame as well.

4. The interior corners are the toughest part.  You'll want to make a small diagonal incision that lines up with each corner, but without cutting too close to the frame itself (I learned this one the hard way.  Get too close to the frame, and you'll have a slight gap the fabric won't cover.  Too far away and you'll have wrinkles.  I suggest starting with the smallest possible cut and increasing it only when you're sure it's necessary).  Then, ease the corners down so that they meet in the crease of the frame.  If you've done it well, the edges should not overlap, but should neatly join in the corner to create a smooth and seamless look.  Adhere with Mod Podge.

The neat thing about the Mod Podge is that it allows you to shape the fabric precisely to the frame, even if it's not perfectly flat (as in the one pictured.  Also, can you spot my ooopsy in that bottom corner?  Yep.  That's what happens when you cut the fabric too close to the frame.).  Once finished, you can also coat it with Mod Podge to give it a bit of a hard, polished exterior.

The result?  You have a custom piece of art in which to display your own custom pieces of art (those cute little ones you made!).

Adorable child wearing mittens despite the fact that it's 96 degrees outside - not included.

If you try this project, let me know how it goes!

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