Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Forest Art for the Den

In the last issue of Lowes Creative Ideas magazine, there was a living room that caught my attention.  It was called Be a Little Bold:
The teal walls and fresh green accents were calling my name!  But it was the art over the mantel that I really wanted.  After a little research on their site, I discovered the art is called “Forest Study I Crop”.  And it just so happened that the day of my discovery, the 24” x 36” print was on sale for 50% off!  Score!  So I bought it with plans to build my own frame and hang it over the mantel in the den.
When it arrived, I realized that 24” x 36” is pretty large!  Unfortunately that wasn’t going to fit nicely over the mantel.  Then I realized I could hang it on the opposite wall where my secondhand prints turned fabric art were hanging, over the turquoise cabinet.
I decided to frame it with a simple thin wood frame and a 1 1/2” mat, similar to the inspiration photo.  After pricing some custom mats for a print this large, I thought perhaps I could make something myself and save some money.  That’s when I landed on an idea:  a wooden mat!  I went to Lowe’s and checked out the decorative trim aisle and found 1 1/2” lattice strips.  When mitered at the corners, they could substitute for a mat and layer like a frame within a frame over the art!  I bought a couple pieces of oak 1” x 2” for the actual frame. I also picked up a piece of clear acrylic to cover the art.  Glass is cheaper, but it’s also heavier and harder to work with since it can easily chip or break.  I will spend the extra to get plastic that way I don’t have to worry.  And you can easily cut it with a table saw (or you can get your Papa to do it for you!) :)
Once we had all our components, Papa helped me with the building process.  We cut our mat pieces first to fit the art.  Then we measured the thickness of the mat and the glass and cut a 3/8” wide channel in the back of the frame pieces for the mat/glass to fit into.  That way the mat and glass would sit flush with the back of the frame, just like a commercially-made frame.  Then we carefully marked our measurements in the outer edge of the channel and cut mitered corners to fit our mat/glass.  Next, I sanded all the frame pieces and rounded over the edges so they would be smooth.  We carefully glued our corners together and shot a few brads in each end to keep it all together.  Since the mitered corners of the mat were only 1/4” thick and I didn’t think glue would hold it all together, I decided to paint the mat before assembling it.  I stained the frame Bombay Mahogany (what else?) and painted the frame a soft muted turquoise color to match the art.  I used watered down acrylic paint for the mat so you could still see the wood grain through it.  After everything was dry, I laid out the mat and taped the corners together on the back.  Masking tape held the whole thing together nicely!  The weight of the art and acrylic sheet will keep it from falling apart later. 
Then came the frame assembly!  I decided to put the mat on the outside of the glass (rebel, I know!) to highlight the wood grain and also because my art was so big, I didn’t want to leave any air space between the art and acrylic.  The weight of the acrylic sheet keeps the paper from wrinkling and sagging.  If you are using fine art I wouldn’t recommend putting the glass right on top of the artwork, but mine is just a poster print. 
Assemble it upside down:  frame, mat, then acrylic, followed by the artwork which I taped to the frame with painter’s tape.  Hopefully that will keep it from wrinkling and sagging in our humidity, we’ll see.  Then I taped a piece of brown kraft paper on the back with masking tape to seal it all up.  Add a hanger and some wire to the back and you are done!
I think it looks great in here with all the blues and greens!  And I spent around $75 for the whole thing, which is pretty good for such a big piece of art.  Now we can finally get rid of those hand-me-down frames! :)
Yay! :)