Saturday, February 13, 2016

Snow Day Project

A couple weekends ago, we knew we had the major snowstorm coming.  Most Pennsylvanians prepare for snow storms by buying all of the milk and bread in the store (I don't know why either...), but instead I make sure that I am loaded up with snacks and project supplies.  I mean, if I'm going to be trapped in my house, I may as well build something, right?  And snacks because, well, I live on them.  Ask the guy who was stuck next to me at the PE exam... We had to be in the room for 8 hours, so I had more snacks than reference books... not ashamed.  So anyway, the night before the storm hit, while I made chex mix by the ton, my dear husband stood in line at the home improvement store with lumber while everyone else was wheeling out snow blowers.

Most of you that know me personally know that my sister is an artist.  She's super talented (and I'll tell you every chance I get!), and is generous enough to have given me one of her originals!  This is the print:

And this is the sad frame that I had it in:

I bought this frame for two reasons; it was easy to get the right size (it's a large print and not a typical picture frame size), and I was thinking that a large frame would cost a fortune and distract from the photo itself.  I lived with this frame for a few years, and eventually came to the decision that it was not doing the artwork justice.  

So, during the blizzard, I made this:  

I think it is much closer to what this deserves!  And the wood was only $17!  I already had the stain, but it's about $8 for a small can.

Ready to make your own?? Here's how I put it together:

I started with 1x3" wood from the hobby aisle in Lowe's (where the table legs and furniture grade wood is).  I planned to cover about an inch on each side of my white mat, so I cut four pieces on a 45 degree angle at the length I needed with my miter saw.  You could also use a miter box and a hand saw if you don't have a miter saw.  One thing that helped to keep everything square was to stack the two similar sides together after a first cut and make one last trim cut to make sure they were exactly the same length.  I glued and clamped each corner together like this:

(Corner clamp + standard clamp)

...and then put a trim screw through the end, pre-drilling the hole to make sure that the wood didn't split.  Just in case someone out there doesn't know what I mean by pre-drill, I found a drill bit that was the same diameter as the 'minor diameter' of my screw (meaning the screw ignoring the threads), and drilled a hole before putting the screw in.  If you are putting a screw near an edge of a piece of wood, it can't hurt to pre-drill.

A pocket hole joint would work here too, but since the edges of this part of the frame will be covered, i went the easy way. :)  So that gets us to here:

Next, I added some trim around the edges, to give my frame some extra depth.  To do that, I took some 1x2" wood, measured each end, and cut that at a 45 degree angle as well (angle is on the 1" side of the wood).  This may be obvious, but I suggest using a tape measure as little as possible with something like this.  So, to figure out how long the trim needs to be, just hold the trim piece up to the frame and mark the length with a pencil.  Once you have cut the first piece, 'measure' the second by fitting it against the frame and the first piece, and mark the free end.  

So, once you have your trim pieces cut, you need to attach them to the frame.  I wanted my picture to fit into the back, meaning that the trim needed to overhang both sides of the frame.  To get a consistent depth, I pulled out our old flooring spacers from when we installed some wood flooring (but anything similar will work fine).  In the picture, the frame is sitting on the spacers, but the trim is flat on the floor.  

I tried to nail the trim pieces into the frame, but it was harder than i expected to keep everything lined up and nail at the same time... If you are lucky enough to own a trim nailer, here's the time to use it!  I chose to use the trim screws again, and just filled the holes with wood filler later.  

Next came the staining, and I used a few coats of Minwax Polyshades in American Chestnut.  It did not go on really consistently, but that's really what I wanted for this frame.  When the subject of your artwork is pirate lizards, a perfect, polished frame just doesn't fit!

Finally, here's how i put the photo in the frame:

I used little ring hangers to hold the art to the frame, and put some cardboard behind the art to help hold it tight (not shown).  The sawtooth hangers are on the inset, so that the picture can sit totally flat to the wall.

Side note: If you need a tip on how to hang photos, I put a few in this post!

Here it is, hung on the wall and looking great!

Slightly high on the wall, because, light switches.  Ugh.

So, for not a whole lot of cash, you can make a simple frame in any size you need, even a fairly large one.  

Also, if anyone is interested in getting your own copy of this print, or seeing what else my talented sister is up to, you can check her out here or on her Etsy shop!  She has tons of prints that would look great in a kid's room, a few that would look great anywhere, and her prices are really reasonable!  I would love to hear the story that a child would make up to go with this picture.

In other news, I haven't been finishing a whole lot of exciting projects, but I have been planning A LOT.  I have a few big things to tackle this year, and if I can organize my thoughts maybe I'll share the process a little bit along the way.  I'm really excited! :)

In the meantime, stay warm!