When V and I moved into our new place two months ago, among the things we lugged up and down several different flights of stairs was a carton filled with framed photos and paintings. I have a large collection of pictures that I want to put up. In fact, a lot of them had come with me to Zurich and back home again, and I faithfully brought them all the way here to San Diego. But in Zurich, the pictures were all in plastic protectors – they are all odd sizes, and I had no time to find frames that fit. But one of the first things I did in the land of Michael’s and Walmart was to go buy frames! We were in our old place so briefly that I didn’t bother to hang them up, but my heart got so much satisfaction out of looking at that neat row of framed photos resting against the living room wall.
Since we moved and re-settled in, one of the things on our weekend to-do lists is always ‘Hang up pictures!’. I’ve even added to their number by going to painting classes (which I’ll talk about, one of these days!) and bringing back large canvases, but they all still sit against the floor. But today, I finally made progress!
K’s talked about our last family vacation to Singapore. While we were there, I spent almost all my money in Monoyono – one of the most fun stores I’ve ever been in. I fell in love with this table place-mat with a ’50’s house-wife on it, and decided then and there that I would frame it and hang it up in my dining room. When we visited Michael’s, we didn’t find any frames its size, so I just used removable double-sided tape and hung it up above our dining table.
It looked a little lost, and I’d used the tape only at the top, so it flapped most unbecomingly every time the front door (just off the left side of this photo) opened and closed. I’d decided to frame this too, but it’s a very odd size to find ready-made frames for. Finally, I just decided to buy a much larger 16×20 inch frame that I saw at Walmart, and fill in the gaps somehow. And that’s what I’m showing you today!
What you will need:
Your picture, a frame, paper, scissors, glue, a ruler, double-sided tape, and I used a clamp to keep my paper in place while I was cutting. If you’re the Scissors-Expert, you can cut at your discretion, and I bow down to your superior skill!
The basic idea is really very simple. You fill up the entire frame with pretty paper, and place your picture over it. Ta-da! Why then, you ask, is there a whole tutorial about this, and why did I take ages to do it? I’ll answer in one word – patterns. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.
First, disassemble your frame.
Most frames have a clear sheet over the glass, so please make sure you remove that. Don’t leave it on, and wait for a puzzled friend to politely ask you if you’ve left it on for a reason. If you do leave it on, please defend your decision with some smart answer. Whatever you do, don’t say, “Left what on?” like I did. J still laughs about that.
Then choose your background paper. This part is a little tricky. You can go for a plain solid colour, or you can choose paper that accents your picture.
I was trying to find a paper that would blend in with my background, but I couldn’t find anything that was a perfect fit, so I went with contrast. I chose to keep the same polka-dot theme, but in red instead, like the writing and the strawberries.
Here’s where it gets fun. You can choose to cover the entire back of the frame with paper and then place your picture in the middle, and your job is done. If you don’t have that much paper, the you’ll need to create a border around your picture.
Creating this border is a place where you’ll need to make some measurements and calculations. And these blessed polka dots were a nightmare. I wanted to ensure that the circles matched up, so you couldn’t see any joins. That took a very long time, and a fair amount of finessing. Luckily, I like fiddly little things like this, and I have oodles of time. 🙂
If you would rather avoid this entire step, choose a background paper very carefully! I made my border larger than it needed to be, just to give me a little wiggle-room with placing the picture, and to avoid any brown showing around the edges.
This is when you do a final check to make sure everything is covered, and you like the look of the whole thing. I did, so I went on to use double-sided tape to stick the place mat onto the border.
This is another time to use a ruler if you have any doubts. Place the image carefully in the centre, and then breathe a sigh of relief.After that, you can carefully put your frame back together.
Since it was finally done, I wanted to hang it up immediately! No point in relegating it to the pile with the others. Unfortunately, this is one step where it’s really nice to have someone else around to give you directions! My first two attempts were way off, but I got there in the end!
There’s a before-and-after picture. I took the first picture this morning. You can see how much time has gone by based on the fact that I had to draw the blinds before I took the second photo, and even then you can’t see the picture!
It is still a little crooked, isn’t it? Well, V has some work to do once he gets home!
I hope you enjoyed this simple way to make your pictures more fun. I used printed paper, but you could use felt, or even cloth. Choose something that makes the picture more special. Maybe a special outfit that can no longer be worn could be used as backing for a child’s photo. One of the things I want to try next is to have a picture of V and me bordered by a sheet of paper on which our family has written things they remember from our wedding. Would be nice to have that for our bedroom!
Let your imagination run wild, and let me know how you’re transforming your pictures!