Posts Tagged ‘framemaking’

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Replacing a Picture Frame Backing

June 19, 2017

It’s a easy thing, I suppose, to not give much consideration to the back of a picture frame. After all, it will be against the wall where no one will notice. However, your customer is buying the whole object, so it’s important to give proper attention to the all of it.

This painting, “Party at the Lake,” is casein on illustration board, floating on a sheet of mat board. Behind that is a sheet of cardboard. Originally, it had paper taped to the back by a professional framer I had hired for the job. It was acceptable at the time, but unfortunately the deep sides (2″) made it too easy for the paper to get poked and torn, so it needed to be replaced. I tore off all the old paper, and considered using mat board, but there wasn’t enough wood along the edge to hold it down with just tape, and glue would make it harder to replace later, should someone need to do that. Therefore, I decided to fill the whole back with a more stable support of foamcore.

I built a crossing grid out of strips of foamcore that were about 1/8″ shorter than the frame, so a sheet of foamcore would sit flush with the wood. I cut slots in the strips halfway through so they would assemble even with each other. I then glued a sheet of foamcore to this grid. The back is now nice and solid, but lightweight. The last step will be to paint the exposed wood black, and restring the wire.

By the way, I’m dusting off a few older pieces of art along with some new ones for a large show I’ll be having next month, paintings and drawings. Details to come.

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Framing My Painting of Allan

February 10, 2017

Following the previous post, I decided to go ahead with the staining of the frame molding. Even though I didn’t like the splotchy look, I found I could even it out by painting over it with burnt umber acrylic that was a good match to the stain color. I kept the paint relatively thin to allow for some of the wood grain to still show through. You can see the effect of the stain that I applied first in the center detail. I then gave two coats of acrylic to the other areas, front and sides.

allan_dock-framed2

Here is the painting laying under the frame with a sheet of acrylic glazing cut to fit. I’ll give the frame a glossy spray coating tomorrow, and I still need to add backing and string a wire to the back. This will be delivered to the exhibit next week, so look for an announce here in a few days about the opening.

allan_dock-framed1

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Staining Wood Molding for a Frame

February 9, 2017

I got a response to the art I had entered for an upcoming show, and both pieces were accepted, including the painting I posted recently with a mat I had made. So, now I can go ahead and finish a frame for that painting.

stained-molding

I decided to make one myself out of raw wood instead of buying it in order to test out the 45 degree corner jig I made recently, which works fine. I also tested out some dark red mahogany stain on a sample piece of the molding.

I’m afraid I don’t like the way this wood takes the stain, however. It looks splotchy and appears like the wood was burnt in a fire. Not what I want. I can still use the molding, but will have to spray paint it a solid color. I also tested out a little bit of accent color of blue and gold on that interior pattern that I think might work, and a spray gloss finish. Anyway, I’ll finish putting the frame together and show the results after I get it painted.

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Table Saw Jig for 45 Degree Mitre

February 5, 2017

I used a few pieces of scrap wood today to make a simple table saw jig to cut 45 degree angles for mitred corners. My push guide was not all that accurate, so this will help me cut better fitting corners for frames.

45degree_tablesaw-jig2

It’s made of two pieces of 1 x 2″ strips screwed together at 90 degree angles with the their ends cut at 45 degrees. I added to smaller strips of wood to the edges: one long one in the front to support tall wood pieces that might be cut, and a small strip to attach the jig to the push guide. The guide has two grooves in it for blots to attach the jig, but I didn’t have the right size bolts handy. In the meantime I can just use a clamp.

Still to do: If I add a piece of wood extension to the back of the jig where the push guide is, I can attach a wood strip on the bottom that fits into the table groove so I won’t have to use the push guide at all.

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Watercolor Paper Stretcher – Version 3

November 1, 2016

My previous version of a paper stretcher worked well enough, but it was a bit awkward and bulky in the design, so I came up with another modification.

paper-stretcherb1

I replaced those 4 strips of wood clamped to the outside edge with several small strips of wood glued to the back of the frame and flush with the outside edge. Now I don’t have separate strips of wood to carry around or lose.

paper-stretcherb2

In place of the screw clamps, I’m now using 2 inch binder clips attached to these strips of wood. I can fold the wet paper around the edge, and use the clips to hold it place. Now I don’t have to tape the paper to the back when it dries in order to remove the clamps. I can leave the clips on while I’m painting.

paper-stretcherb3

The metal handles on the clips are also removable, which makes the frame sit better on an easel or flat on a table.

paper-stretcherb4

This frame is 16 x 20.” I may build a larger one, and have the four 1/8 strips go along the whole length of the outer edge so I can place the clips wherever I want. I didn’t have enough scrap wood for that this time, but this will work just as well.

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New Design for Watercolor Paper Stretcher

September 6, 2016

I thought up a new project to update my method for stretching paper on a wooden frame instead of taping it to the face of a board. I had made a post on this subject several years ago showing a cheap and easy way that I have been doing this. That works fine, but the pins or staples on the sides can eventually damage the frame to such a degree that I have to make another one. So I thought I’d try out a new design using wood clamps. This is my first rough of that idea.

paper-stretcher1

What I’ve done is build a small strainer type frame similar to that used for stretching canvas. The size is 16 x 20 inches. I’m using 3/4″ square strips of poplar, and thinner strips for the inner bracing. I have longer strips to fit the outer edges, and I’ve built small “C” clamps made of wood and 4″ bolts to grip the paper.

paper-stretcher2

Here’s a shot of the the whole assembly from the back with the clamps in place. I’m using 300# Arches watercolor paper. It had been soaking in a tub of water for 10 minutes. The paper wasn’t quite long enough to wrap all the way around the shortest distance; only up the sides. In this case, I’ll have to keep the clamps on those two sides until I’m finished painting. With paper at the correct length, once it dries I can tape it to the back, and then remove the clamps with the tape holding it tight.

paper-stretcher3

Here’s the front. I noticed that I had the clamps pressing against the paper on the top, and you can see marks they left in the paper. I pulled the clamps back a bit, and re-wet the paper to smooth it, and that got rid of the indentations. I think I’ll modify the clamps so that they have a beveled edge that can’t touch the paper. I might bevel the inner frame also, just in case.

This has only been drying now for about an hour, and I can already feel the paper getting very tight. I’ll check it in the morning to see how well it holds up. I can paint on this with any water based media without worrying about buckles or warping in the paper.

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Cutting Down a Large Art Frame

February 14, 2011

I have this painting to deliver to a show this weekend. Instead of building a new frame from scratch, I decided to just take a larger frame I had on hand and cut it down to a smaller size to save time.

Artwork face-down in large frame


Two L-Shaped pieces


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This required cutting the frame into two “L” shapes and cutting the sides to fit the artwork. The concern here is that this was a finished frame, so the angled cuts had to be as smooth as possible; otherwise, I’d have to sand it down and refinish it, which would waste time. I used a table-saw to cut the angles. The art is 16×17”, and this original frame opening is 20×24.”

Smaller assembled frame

Chip-out: this is what happens when a saw blade leaves the wood and causes small pieces of wood to break off. The problem can be reduced by placing a piece of scrap wood against the opposite side of the wood as it’s being cut. In this case, however, the wood is irregularly shaped and beveled, so the best thing to do is cut the angles face-up so that the blade exits the back of the frame piece. Also, when using a table-saw, slow down as the blade exits and push the wood as straight as possible. Mitre-saws tend to cut smoother angles, but still have chip-out problems, and are a pain to use on hard woods like this.

To be sure the frame you’re cutting down is large enough, the outer edges of the smaller size should fit inside the opening of the large frame. In other words, the final frame size here is 19×19.5″ which is smaller than the original 20×24″ opening.