Category: Art

DIY Gilded Picture Frame

diy gilded picture frame

Thrift stores are a great place to pick up picture frames. Even if they’re a bit beat-up, they can often be restored or re-invented with just a bit of paint. I found this wooden frame last year and it has been sitting around for a while:

thrift store frame

I wasn’t a huge fan of the generic print, but the frame was wood and was a nice shape, and the matting was also in decent shape. So I decided to reinvent it with a bit of paint.

painting a picture frame

I picked up a jar of Martha Stewart Metallic Paint in Vintage Gold at Home Depot. It was only $6 and it’s a pretty big jar (10 oz) so I should be able to use it for lots of projects. The description says it is an “all-purpose finish for walls, furniture, and accent pieces”, so I thought it would hold up better than a simple craft paint.

I didn’t bother to sand, just wiped the frame down and painted the gold paint on with a sponge brush. I decided to leave part of the frame bare just for a fun twist. After I let the first coat dry (about an hour), I brushed on a second coat, which seemed to give it the coverage it needed.

diy gilded picture frame

(Sorry about the lack of process pics. I got caught up in it and forgot.)

I didn’t have any art that I felt would fit the style of the frame, so I just made my own art using some colored Sharpie markers on watercolor paper and added a few gold accents.

Modern gilded picture frame diy

Right now, my little DIY gilded picture frame is hanging out on a little chest of drawers that is tucked under the spiral staircase in the family room. It was kind of a dead space so I thought I’d fill it up with something useful.

Have you updated an old picture frame lately?

Sharing over at Thrifty Decor Chick!

How to Stretch An Oil Painting

oil painting

We’ve got a nice splash of color on one side of the couch with this gorgeous oil painting we brought home from our trip to Hong Kong.

Guess how much we paid for it? I won’t give it away (those vendors need to make a profit) but I will say that it was less than $100. Yes, you have to bargain. But if you’re ever in Hong Kong and stop by Ladies’ Market or the Stanley Market you’ll find hundreds of beautiful oil paintings. Often they are copies done by art students so the skill level will vary, but shop around and you might find something awesome.

We brought it home rolled up in a tube and when I got a quote to have the oil painting professionally stretched and framed, it came to a couple hundred buckeroonies. I wasn’t about to plunk down that much cash when the painting didn’t even cost that much to begin with, so I got good ol’ hubby to help me stretch and wrap it ourselves.

You can buy frames but we decided to make our own out of leftover 1x boards.

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The first step is to measure the dimensions of your painting to determine how big your frame will be. Remember to minus the thickness of the wood on each side to account for the edges of the painting that wrap around the frame. Because our painting is quite large, we added braces to the corners.

Professional frames are beveled in on the inner edge of the frame to prevent the shadow of the frame from showing through the painting. We didn’t worry about this.

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Once your frame is done, you’re ready to start stretching.

Lay your canvas painting-side-down on a piece of cardboard or drop cloth, and lay your frame over it.

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Using a staple gun, put a staple in one long side (making sure the painting is aligned) and stretching the canvas gently, put a staple on the opposing side of the frame. Repeat with short sides.

Remember, the canvas was already stretched once before, so don’t pull too hard! Be gentle.

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While stretching the canvas gently (just like upholstering a headboard), add staples to each side, moving outward toward the corners. It’s important that you move from the center of each side toward the outer corners to smooth out any ripples. Keep rotating sides to make sure the tension is even.

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The corners can be a little tricky. Create a little gusset, just like when you’re wrapping a gift.

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Fold over one side and staple down.

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Then fold the other side down as tight as you can and staple. Do that for all 4 corners.

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Check out that gorgeous edge.

oil painting

Voila! You’ve just gallery wrapped your own oil painting!

For now, this baby is sitting on an antique table (story of that later) next to the couch. We’re planning to hang it on the wall above the table with a couple of other pieces of art. When we get around to it. You know how it is =).

3D Dining Table Model using Sketchup

Have you heard of Google Sketchup?

I heard about it for the first time yesterday when Chris sent me an email with these crazy awesome conceptual pics of our future dining table that we’re planning to DIY.

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Chris has been doodling on memo pads and scrap paper all week but was getting frustrated at how we couldn’t really visualize the plan. So he made this 3D model in Google Sketchup.

Sketchup is FREE and is remarkably intuitive. After watching the intro video we were quickly able to get the hang of the basics and draw this simple model to scale.

It’s a 3D model, so you can take a snapshot and look at it from any angle. You can also insert a wonderfully hipster lady so can get an idea of your model’s proportion.

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The model has really helped us to make decisions about the design of the table, and I think it’ll be fun to print a copy of the 3D model to frame later.

So if you’re working on a DIY project and want to visualize it better, you might want to try Sketchup.

(I’m not compensated in any way by Sketchup, I just thought it was cool. And FREE!)

Frugal Chinese Papercut Art

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While we were in Shanghai we went to visit Tian Zi Fang, an art district located in the French Concession. The stone houses date from the 1930s and the area just feels like “Old Shanghai”, whatever that means…I wasn’t in Shanghai in the 30s, but it seems like it would be an exciting time to experience. It would be fun to “Midnight in Paris” it.

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There are lots of shops selling trinkets and tourist kitsch, but there are also some great shops specializing in photography, art, designer fashion, and traditional handicrafts. We picked up several Chinese papercuts, a traditional Chinese art, to the tune of 3 for 100RMB (about $16 USD). The intricate designs are hand cut onto tissue-thin paper. Of course, the cynic in me says that they could easily have been factory-cut and who would know the difference, but I choose to believe that they are really hand-cut (hee hee).

When we got home, I removed the papercuts from their packaging and used a tiny dab with a glue stick to glue them onto a watercolor paper backing, which is a higher-quality paper than what they were packaged in. Then I framed them using IKEA FJALLSTA frames. They look great! Much better than how they were displayed in the store (grayish cheap paper backing, plastic frames). They really look like art on their own right now.

The red one above with the goldfish is going to be a Christmas gift for Chris’ grandmother. It’s pretty, unique, and frugal. My favorite kind of gift =).

Latest Art Love

I’m always finding beautiful pieces of art online.  I rarely buy them because with all the work we’re doing on the house, I’m not sure where to put them.  But at least, I can file them away for future reference, right? =)

Lately I’m loving the art prints on wood veneer by Lorena Siminovich. I love how Scandinavian they look and how unique the print looks on wood.

Lorena Siminovich via Anthology

Lately, art and illustration that has a childlike, whimsical quality to it has really been appealing to me. It just makes me feel happy and makes me think to the simplicity of childhood.

Grace cut her first tooth yesterday. Or at least, we noticed it yesterday. We could feel the little tooth coming out of her gums. Makes me realize how short her babyhood is and how I need to treasure these moments.

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