DIY Project – Framed Artwork

I recently started to repaint my living room/dining room area.  A few years of woodsmoke had done a number on the walls, and a couple of cracks from the house settling needed to be fixed, so we decided to repaint.  Or rather, we decided that I would repaint.  I started on Sunday and it’s looking great, but as with any other time I take everything off the walls to repaint, I want to buy all new things to hang back on the freshly painted walls.  Rather than buy new artwork, I decided to create some out of cheap stuff I found at the Salvation Army and a little junk mail.

Here’s a piece of art I found at the Salvation Army for $4.99.  It’s square, which I like, and it has a mat.  Two good things.  Also it was only $4.99, three good things.  The picture inside was a bit lame, (although love really IS all we need), and it looked like someone’s dog had been chewing on the frame.  Minor issues.  This frame and mat had a bigger destiny to fulfill.

Here’s a postcard I got in the mail at work.  Isn’t it lovely?  It’s announcing the opening of a show at the Danese Gallery of works by  Julian Stanczak.  We get mail every day from galleries announcing shows and they’re usually put right in the garbage, but this one I liked.  I thought I might be able to make something of it.  Amazingly, I measured the postcard and I measured the opening of the mat I bought at the Salvation Army and they matched perfectly!  The DIY gods were smiling down on me.

So let’s begin turning a trite piece of beat-up art from the thrift store, and a destined-for-the-trash piece of junk mail into a work of art, shall we?

First I had to cut the paper off the back of the frame (and think Happy Thoughts).  Depending on the frame you find, you may or may not have to do this.

Then pry up the staples all around so you can remove the mat and the glass inside.

Sand down the scratches and tooth marks (geeze, my hand looks enormous from this angle).

And then give it a few good coats of spray paint.  I used a white gloss enamel.  I like white frames with white mats.  It looks very clean, I think.

Now at this point, while the paint dries, I should be showing you a photo of me putting the postcard into the mat.  Unfortunately, I’m not very good at this step-by-step thing, and I completely forgot to take pictures.  It turned out that the heart picture was fused with the mat and I couldn’t remove it without ruining the mat.  Disappointing, but not the end of the world.  Instead of attaching the postcard to the back of the mat like I wanted to, I cut he postcard to size and attached it to the front of the heart picture just inside the opening of the mat.  No one will ever know the difference.  Except for you. but you won’t give away my secrets, right?

Next I gave the glass a good scrub, buffed the frame with some steel wool to remove a little of the gloss, (it was a bit too shiny for me), put the matted postcard in and sealed it back up.  And ta-da!  Fancy artwork for $4.99.

And yes, if you noticed, the postcard I framed isn’t the view you saw at the top of this post.  The card was two-sided and I ended up liking this side better.  Maybe I’ll go back to the Salvation Army and get another one of these frames and frame the other side.  Now everyone, go forth and make recycled art!

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