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Now that the bathrooms are painted, it's time to complete the bathroom prettah. To that end, I have been looking for decorative and/or functional items for the counter tops, and, well, wall art.

I seem especially challenged when it comes to framing art. I suppose that's because I'm not willing to pay someone else to frame it for me (too much $$), and most half-way decent frames are really expensive (!!), and the selection of frames I'd consider actually buying don't necessarily do anything for the art print I want to frame.

And then, to top it all off, I have a unique ability to find art I want to frame that does not fit any of the "standard" size frames or mattes. Possibly because most of the stuff I find worthy to put on my wall I bought while traveling abroad, and my blessed country has yet to wake up and smell the coffee in centimeters rather than inches.

Short story long, I spent a couple of lunch hours this week at the Michael's near work *with my art in hand* trying to find a decent framing scheme. I managed to find something for the two pieces I was concentrating on getting framed, and when I got it all home, one was not great, but passable, the other didn't work in the space at all. So since I had the frame and the matte already unwrapped, and added them to the pile of other frames and mattes that didn't work out and I have never bothered to return to the store because I already unwrapped them.

Honestly, I have an entire collection of frames and mattes from other failed experiments in wall decor, and next time something is to get framed, I am going to line all those up and see if I can't just cobble together something passable but not great.

There are two other pieces I have to get framed, both of which require an actually existing but not common size of frame, a size that is "poster sized" and so either the selection is cheap college dorm snap-on crap or Gorgeous and over $100.00 (honestly, why do frames cost more than the art they are surrounding? I ask you).

One I am still debating but have a good idea about, the other I just couldn't figure out for the life of me. It's a cloth wall hanging/table covering thinga-ma-bob I got in England with this boldly colorful Celtic design. And of course it is a size that is almost impossible to frame. Plus, with something ancient like the design on it, you don't slap a black art print frame around it, even if it has black in the design. That's too modern. And you don't use a wooden frame that would befit many a classic painting, it would just look weird and forced. And forget the "shabby chic" look, although it seems tempting at first to put something a bit primitive with something else a bit primitive. Distressed wood and a bold geometric print from an ancient culture are two different kinds of primitive.

So, while doing web searches on picture frames and nashing my teeth in despair, I came across this awesome frame on ebay. It is distressed metal. Distressed bronze metal, to be more precise, and I thought, that's a lot closer to capturing the spirit of the age that Celtic design comes from. But a 20x30 distressed bronze frame aint cheap. And since the fabric in question isn't really 20x30 itself, it would still sit awkardly inside the frame and would not be easy to matte in any sense.

But then I had an idea. It could be mounted *on top* of a sheet of distressed metal that was larger than it, and which could, it that sense "frame" it. So I can run out and get a large sheet of metal or pvc that was either pre-distressed, or that I could distress myself (a great way to work out frustrations, hammering on something at random). But I could also do it with wood, if I painted the wood the metallic color I wanted and then banged the wood up a bit.

Genius, I'm telling you.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 18th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
You'd be much easier off and archival in the mounting by using acid-free foam or mat board as a backing to any artwork - especially on top of metal. By that method, the mounting board can be easily cut to size with a box knife, the fabric can be easily attached (fabric paper tape or glue), and most importantly, it will not be ruined by the development of off-colored acidic spotting that would appear most quickly (from metal on the back) in a humid bathroom.

Should you decide that a metal background for the frame really is too difficult too (I think it would be, sorry to tell you this), an acid-free mat board on top will nicely finish it off and keep any regular type frame from staining it around the edges too.

It depends upon how long you want your fabric to last - without random stains appearing in the center.

I'd suggest using clear glass for any fabric piece. (Actually for most ANY artwork, I prefer archival clear.)

Take it from one (me) who NEVER frames anything herself. I don't use Michaels anymore either because I've found that even with a coupon discount, they are no less expensive than Hobby Lobby or a small (non-franchised) frame shop.

Take the artwork itself, know the size of the area in which it will be hung and bring swatches of the paint colors with you when you choose the frames. Always let the frame shop do the framing, it costs only about $10 more for their professional job to do ALL of the work. Good luck with this!
Sep. 18th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
I just got back from Michael's where I bought some posterboard. I am going to try a faux paint/distressing treatment on it. The best part is it's fairly light, and any experiments that fail won't be too expensive....
Sep. 18th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
As a side note, check out the artworks of this HUGO guy, I think they are fascinating!

Here is one with metal and glass which needs no framing:


His work seems most unique.
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Yes! And a little rich for my budget!
Sep. 18th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Try Ikea? All their frames are in centimeters, not inches... which means if you want a new matt for an Ikea picture, Michael's throws a huge fit. Ikea says it's 8x11, frex, and it is, uhm, kind of. It's pretty close. But not. Because it's centimeters... so maybe for some of your stuff, you might want to hit up Ikea.

I always thought frames were supposed to match the artwork, reflect it in some way, but after getting into museum-framing styles (simple black frame, white mat, sometimes with black stripe at the mat's inner edge), now I've got nearly every piece framed that way. It becomes rhythmic, to the point that I don't even notice the frames at all -- I only see the artwork, because my eye can take the repetitive frame-style for granted, I suppose.

Oh, if you've painted the walls and you want to show off that color, and you've got something flat but odd-sized, maybe try one of the double-glassed frames? I got one at Michaels for framing old sheet music (and I wanted to be able to take it off the wall, flip it over, and show anyone the other side if inclined) -- it's not entirely a clip-frame, but it could show off some odd-shaped/sized pieces really nicely. Helps to have a wall painted in a shade you really like, as well -- white walls and the double-layer of glass just looks, well, unexciting.

why do frames cost more than the art they are surrounding?

I think it's like some kind of law -- the more you pay for the art, the more they figure they can charge you for the frame. Let's not even talk about the time I wanted to get a frame for an antique 75 RPM record, and had to spend about fifteen minutes just explaining to the twerp behind the counter what, exactly, 75 RPM meant, and why I was not 'wrong' when I said it was not going to work with the "buy to display your vinyl" ready-made kit, and would he just get out of my face and get someone to help me who hadn't graduated from high school in a year with starting with a two followed by two zeros, please?

it took the kid several seconds to realize I meant "no one graduating 2000 through 200-now." sigh.

But I could also do it with wood, if I painted the wood the metallic color I wanted and then banged the wood up a bit.

Bang up first, then do metallic b/c that way the paint will sink into all those lovely crevices and show off the distressing-texture. And then post pictures!
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
I was going to paint it black first, then distress it, then dab in the bronze paint. That way it would look old *and* distressed *and* pretty cool.

Once I get this figured out, yes, piccies!!
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Most of the European art I want to frame is very classic and looks just plain bizarre in Ikea's ultra-modern frames. ::shudder::
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
you're not alone in this woe
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
It sucks, doesn't it?
Sep. 18th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
pretty much. Ihave a professionally framed one that needs reframing because my last apartment place's maintance people broke it and they welched on their agreement to fix it

wonders if i can pay for the materials and get our art majors to do it...
Sep. 18th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
I could get my artist friend to do it, but I'd rather figure this out myself, just because it's one of those things I refuse to let defeat me.

Even if it's a (*&^%$&^*(*^&^%&$^%$^%$
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
good luck.
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
My brother has this idea of taking art and affixing it to a piece of plywood with a special varnish or something. He's done that with some of his own stuff and I'm going to try it on mine. I'll let you know how it works out.
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
I'm excited about your carving project! Should be really cool.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )