craft verb \'kraft\ to create with care, skill and intention

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to Make Decoupage Frames

Several weeks ago I was cruising around Tip Junkie's site as I so often do. I was looking through her teacher appreciation gift ideas and stumbled upon a beautiful decoupage frame by Jessica of Craftily Ever After. It is really the bee's knees and I fell in love with it immediately. Since then, I have made MANY of these frames. Let's see...teacher appreciation gifts, a gift for a friend, gifts for Little CC and her  ballet classmates to celebrate their recital, a gift for My Girl to celebrate her first Karate tournament, a baby shower gift, and the list goes on and on. I just can't get enough of them! They are easy to do and just so stinking cute that you can hardly believe you made it yourself! Here are some pics so you can see for yourself:

Gifts for Baby K's teachers

By the way, that vase is a Crystal Light container wrapped with jute twine and tied
with a  pretty ribbon. Added some roses from my garden and - presto! - a
lovely gift for a couple of lovely ladies!

A gift for a friend who loves the color green.

One of the frames for Little CC's classmates. I added each girl's name
by doing a Mod Podge transfer. That is a subject for another post, but
if you don't already know how to do that you are in for serious fun!
 Okay, are you dying to know how to do this yet?! First, a caveat - if you have not worked with Mod Podge before I would HIGHLY recommend that you hop over to Mod Podge Rocks and watch Amy's video on how to start out with Mod Podge. Just to give you an idea about how helpful her video is, I bought a rather small jar of MP several years ago because I kept seeing cool decoupage projects in blog land. A few weeks ago when I started these projects (and some transfer projects that I will share with you soon), I still had that same jar - mostly full - because I never could get it to work right. So, I watched the video and ~surprise, surprise~ all of my troubles were due to user errors. I promptly polished off that jar, knocked out another jar, and I'm now half-way through yet another jar. Don't do what I did, friends. Watch the video and you will be quickly on your way to enjoying MP without all of the frustration I needlessly inflicted on myself!

Start with an unfinished wood frame from the craft store. They come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. I got these at Michael's for $1 a piece. Give the frame a quick rub down with some 200 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and prevent splinters. Wipe the frame down with a soft cloth to remove any sawdust.

Trace around the outside edge and the inside opening of the frame onto scrapbook paper. I like to do this on the right side of the paper so I can center the frame on the pattern of the paper. Save yourself some heartache down the road and pay attention to the pattern on the paper. Even a random-looking polka dot pattern like this one looks better if it is centered on your frame. Ask me how I know :) Cut out your paper and lay it out on your frame to check it out and make any needed adjustments.

Before you apply your paper, use acrylic craft paint to paint around the edges that will be exposed. You can use a color that matches the background color of your paper like I did here, or you can pick a coordinating color from the design on your paper like I did on the pink and white damask frame. Whatever floats your boat. Remember that this is your show! There are no rules! Have fun!

Once the paint has dried, apply a light-to-moderate coat of Mod Podge to the face of your frame. You'll want to work pretty quickly because MP dries quickly. Before this set of frames I used a foam brush to apply the MP and that worked fine too. I found that I preferred the brush (large flat nylon brush) because I felt I had better control and there seemed to be less waste of the MP because the foam brush absorbs and holds so much. Again, just do what works for you.

Apply your paper to the frame and smooth, smooth, smooth. Work from the inside toward the outside, wiping away any excess MP with a brush or cloth. If you have a brayer, now would be a great time to use it. I did not have one when I made these because I refused to pay the $12-20 for brayers at the craft store. But ya know what? The other day I picked up a very similar product at Lowe's for $6. It's designed for helping to smooth out wallpaper and I think it will work great for crafts too! Anyhoo, do whatever you need to do to get it nice and smooth and then walk away. Walk. Away. Seriously people, the urge to start slathering on MP at this point is strong but you must resist or you will ruin your project. So just walk away.

Let your frame dry for 20-30 minutes before adding a topcoat of MP. Don't freak out because the MP is milky - it dries crystal clear. Don't freak out if you see little wrinkles pop up in your paper - leave them alone and they will smooth right back out as it dries.

If you want, you can call it a finished project at this point. They're already so cute! MP is available in gloss, satin and matte, so keep in mind your preferred finish when you pick up your MP at the store. I prefer to do a "built-up" finish so I apply at least 4 more coats of MP, allowing 20 minutes of drying time between coats. Then I let it dry overnight. The next day I wet sand the frame with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out the brushstrokes. Wipe it with a dry cloth and apply a couple of coats of clear acrylic spray paint. (Tip: some people find that MP can leave a tacky finish even when dry. If you have trouble with that, a quick coat of acrylic spray paint will solve that problem.) Keep in mind that if you are going to finish it with acrylic spray then the finish of your MP is not important (gloss, satin, or matte), but the finish of your spray is, so choose accordingly.

I like to embellish the frames by hot gluing a flower onto a corner. The frames come with a peg to prop the frame up for use on a desk or a shelf or you can staple a ribbon to the back of the frame to hang it on the wall. I know it seems like there are a lot of steps here, but each step is quick and easy. Total cost for this project is around $2, which makes it affordable to make a very nice custom gift. Have fun!
Ta Ta For Now,

Linking up to Beth's party at A 2 Z. Lots of great ideas over there - check it out!

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