Sunday, November 13, 2011

Denim Picture Frame

This project was a little more involved than what I usually do, but why not? It was a gift to a special lady, expecting a very special little boy. While it's not what I consider easy, but it was a heck of a lot of fun, and I love how it came out. I like it so much, I'm toying with the idea of making one for each member of my family. The materials list is a bit extensive, but a lot of the supplies are substitutable.

  •  8"x10" piece of cardboard with a 4"x6" hole cut in the middle of it.
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • glue (either wood glue or tacky glue, plus hot glue gun and sticks)
  • quilt batting
  • spray adhesive
  • exacto knife, box cutter or mat cutter, plus straight edge or cutting board
  • mat board (about 20" x 12")
  • 5"x7" plexiglass
  • old paint brush
  • fabric remnants, including jeans and varying textures of knits, "leathers", etc.
  • needle and embroidery floss
First things first, I cut a piece of cardboard to 8"x10", and measured two inches inward on all four sides. I used my cutting board and a box cutter to cut out the hole, which is now 4"x6". That is the size of picture that I am making this frame for.
After cutting my board that is going to be the frame and put the hole in the middle of it, I hit it with a light coat of spray adhesive and placed my quilt batting on it. I trimmed the quilt batting from the hole in the middle. You can just glue it on if you don't have spray adhesive.
 I was using a piece of 8"x10" glass as a guide, but it's not necessary. I took a leg from a pair of jeans and opened it up. I laid my glass down on it and positioned it to where I wanted it, and trimmed to about an inch and a half all the way around. I saw that there was a pocket in the way, so I used my seam ripper to remove it.
 Unfortunately, when I removed the pocket, I put a small hole in the denim. It's right on the corner, so it needed to be fixed.
 It's a very easy fix, just a bit of glue on the fabric and a small patch on the inside. Since this isn't going to be washed, this will hold it permanently.
 I laid my frame down onto the fabric, and drew three outlines. I traced around the inside and outside of the frame, and a small hole in the middle, approximately an inch from the edge. It's not important to be exact.

   I made some cuts along the edges of the fabric, being careful not to cut past my frame outline.
 Placing my frame over the fabric again, I wrapped the fabric around the frame and glued it in place. I don't recommend school glue for this. 
On the corners, I used straight pins to hold the edges down while the glue set up.
 I used my piece of glass as a guide again, and cut a piece of mat board to 8"x10".
I made my mat cutter many years ago. It's just a board from the hardware store, I routed out a groove and bolted down this metal strip, also from the hardware store. I stained it and drew a ruler up the side of it. The mat cutter can be bought at any art supply store. I realise not everyone has one of these laying around, but you can just use a straight edge and not have the bevel cuts. Or get one cut for you at a frame shop, or buy a pre-cut mat and glue it to a piece of card stock.
I ran a bead of glue along the edges of the back of my frame and glued the mat onto it.
I secured it with clips and left it to dry for a bit.

But not before running an extra bead of glue along the edges of the frame for added strength.

 I grabbed my fabric remnants and started cutting out shapes. I picked circles, and just because I made it four a boy doesn't mean I couldn't put a couple of hearts on it. =) 
I painted the backs of the cut outs with glue and stuck them on.

 I used my "leather" fabric and glued it around the edge of the frame with hot glue.
 I wanted an added border of some rope, and I wanted the edges to look a little loose but I don't want them to unravel. I hit them a couple times with the spray adhesive and lightly pinched them to smooth them down.
I used the hot glue gun to attach the rope and made a nice bow in the corner. The front was nearly done, but I sat down with it and embroidered some designs and the little guys name onto it. Next it was ready for the actual picture frame assemby.  

I really do not recommend using glass for this project. Not just because this is likely to go into a kids room, but because the "glass" is a permanent, functional part of the frame. It's glued in and holds it together. If the glass breaks, you can't just pull it out and stick in a new piece. Plexiglass can be bought at any hobby or art supply store. As an artist, I typically always have scraps of it on hand, like mat board, left over from other framing projects. 
I cut another piece of mat board, about an inch bigger than my plexiglass on both sides and the bottom. I jotted a note in the middle of it (I just scribbled down what came to mind, but you can look up quotes or take more time to come up with something nicer. :p  Now, here is where I messed up. I just laid the plexiglass over the mat board and used my hot glue gun to glue it in place. But I forgot to use a spacer and that is VERY necessary, or you have a frame that no one can put a picture in. I had to take it apart, and I just put a bead of hot glue on the outside corners of the glass, and let it dry before laying the glass back down and cementing it on.
I laid the frame on top of the glass to center it from the front, and then I flipped it over and used my hot glue gun again to glue it onto the back. I did also glue some of the rope over the hot glue mess, seeing as it's going to be a gift, even the back of it needs to look nice.
I made a loop out of ribbon and stuck it in a glob of hot glue on the back, and then I put a piece of mat board over it. I tested it out with a piece of card stock and it works just perfectly. I can't wait to see it with the little guys picture hanging in it!

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