More than a year ago I wrote a post about some DIY ideas I had for framing art. Some things haven’t changed much, the first sentence in that post reads, “I woke up this morning to the sound of a torrential downpour. The rain lasted all morning and the light was flat and gray.” But while the weather hasn’t improved, my method for DIY framing on the cheap has.
The impetus for revisiting that tutorial came from some art I recently bought on Etsy, including this original acrylic landscape and a $2 portrait card, both from Isabella Di Sclafani (who did the Jane Eyre print in the Chamber of Secrets), and this print by Israeli artist Tali, whose Etsy store is called TushTush.
I like all of these pieces so much, and was determined not to add them to the towering stacks of unframed art already inhabiting many corners of our house. So I read through my old post, made some tweaks to the process, then assembled my materials.
- Poster board
- Spray Adhesive
- Glue, Mod Podge, or double sided tape
- Utility Knife
- Ruler (I highly recommend a clear acrylic one)
- Cutting Mat
- Frames (I used ones from the thrift store)
Lay the glass pane from your frame on a piece of poster board and trace around it. Cut it out using either scissors or a utility knife. Center your art on your cut poster board, and trace around it. You want your opening to be smaller than your art, so measure in about 1/8″ from all sides of your traced line, and use the utility knife and ruler to cut it out.
Here is a photo of two cut mats; I made the one around the piece on the left quite a bit larger than the portrait itself because I wanted to do a double mat:
Cut a piece of fabric just slightly larger than the outer edges of your mat. If necessary, iron it to get the wrinkles out, then lay it out on a flat surface.
Take your cut poster board outside (I did one at a time) and apply spray adhesive following the directions on the can. It is really sticky, so I suggest using a hard, flat surface to spray on (last time I used a sheet and it was a mess).
Carry your mat board back inside and lay it sticky side down on the fabric you cut and laid out. Gently press the mat onto the fabric then flip it over and smooth out any creases. When I did this project a year ago, I tried to do this step outside and the combination of wind and grit and stickiness was a nightmare. I strongly recommend having the spray station outside and doing everything else inside.
When the glue has set, use scissors or a utility knife to trim the excess fabric from the edges of the board. The outer edge will most likely be covered by your frame, so you don’t need to worry about making a perfect cut. Use your utility knife to make an ‘x’ in the opening of your mat board (image on the right).
Trim off the points of your triangles, then use Mod Podge, glue, or double-sided tape to adhere them to the back of your mat board.
Reassemble your frames! You’re done!
By following the same steps listed above, but doing it twice, I made a double mat for the little lady portrait, and I really love the way it turned out. She’s a sweet and quirky addition to our hallway.
The landscape hangs in our living room above Norma Jean, who is still awaiting new clothes. Looking at this photo I wonder if I may have hung it a little high relative to the chair, but the height is consistent with the rest of the art in the room so I’m not sure.
I decided to use a floral fabric for the other portrait, and I think the pattern and colors work well with her winsome expression.
Thanks for reading along – if any of you try this project I’d love to see! Mera and I are taking next week off from posting to enjoy Thanksgiving with our families; have a wonderful week and we’ll see you back here on Monday, November 28th!