Thursday, August 20, 2009

How To Go From CHEAP To TRES CHIC!!! (tutorial, of sorts!)

(the following work is a copyright of Anne M. Huskey-Lockard, 2009)

I don't think there are any of us out there that have not had, at one time or another, a gift to give or a donation to make that was at a *bad pocket book time*---i.e. you're fairly broke, but you have to do something. Or it is a political thing where if you don't donate you're on the perpetual ca-ca list, and that irks you more that you have to spend money. Or you have to give a present to some extended kin you really DO NOT LIKE (or even know).
Well, I'm here to help you out. (in other words, you owe me. not firstborns...just blog publicity!)
At this point, any professional framers reading this should click out of the page. I know some of you live near me and I want to continue a happy and healthy existence!!!! ;-)
The above frame is a cheapie from a local dollar store; I think I paid between $6 and $10 for it, and it's barely worth that. It is made of heaven only knows what. So you have to be careful in the disassembling.

First, yank off the paper covering the back and see what you have to work with. This is a common cardboard and staple combo, the type that usually has me saying bad words after I've cut myself a few times! The secret to pulling the staples is to pull them straight out at the angle they went in. Sometimes they will split, so be careful! They can rip skin easily!

You usually can tell by looking close; then shove the tips of the pliers into the cardboard, grab that staple and PULL!!! Repeat as necessary until everything is loose. Dispose properly of the staples immediately---I've had them fall on the floor and find them with my feet, or have a piece found with a finger somewhere under a pile of papers. Not fun, and not sanitary. Seriously.

If you're lucky and nothing breaks, you should end up with an assortment of *parts*: frame front and glass, inside decorative piece---which in this case is thin molded plastic (!!!) and what is the *art*. Needless to say, that's going......but you have to use it once first.

After you have GENTLY removed the art from the inner molding, save it in one piece. It will be your template for cutting a canvas panel to fit in the opening left in the molding.
Place the print on the front of a canvas panel and use either a very sharp craft knife or a rotary cutter and ruler and cut the panel about 1/16" smaller on the two edges. (you'll only be cutting two, since the other two will be the panels existing sides) This will allow for space when you use paper to collage the panel, and that WILL add a bit of size to the edge.

Check the fit. I lucked out---no digits cut off, panel fits good with a little wiggle room. Also make sure the canvas panel sits a bit below the molding, so you have room for coats of paper, gel, etc. You don't want that to touch the glass, because I guarantee it will stick.
Now, the next step will be collaging the paper onto the panel, and that is tomorrow's installment!
Tune in again; Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!!!
And have fun with this-----just be creative and make some art! Cheap.



Ces said...

Oh my gosh Anne. Yesterday, I was at the dollar store near our corporate office looking for a certificate frame and left with nothing because even though everything cost $1.000 + 0.7 cent-tax, everything looked so trashy!, cheap and just absolutely horrid. Well, now, you are giving me an idea. Still I want something simple, very simple. flat lines. I am boring that way.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Look for the potential of what it can be when it is taken apart, and often I will repaint the frame. I guess I look PAST the finish and the junk inside and just consider the line.....
If you have a Big Lots store near, I go and take a small tape measure with me. On their *framed art* (gasp! Wheeze!) I turn it over, feel along the paper for the edges and measure. I've gotten some good deals that way too.
And ALWAYS carry the tiny tape. I've found 12"x12" touted frame are the EXTERIOR size....not where the art goes.
Just an anal FYI! LOL!!!!!
I usually have a squat budget, so I'm learning on unimportant things to do this. For good work, I have a wonderful framer!

yoborobo said...

I love this idea, Anne. I usually pick up frames from thrift stores, and have found some really lovely wooden frames with god-awful art in them (or abandoned photos of who-knows-what). I do the same thing, design a piece to fit the frame. We're sneaky, you know that? :) Can't wait to see tomorrow's installment, Bat-Girl!!! xox

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

There is something about the challenge of recycling.....
I started this when I had to donate a piece of art to a fundraiser. It was 10"x10" painting, mounted canvas, and I assumed that you could find a frame to fit. WRONG. A custom frame was out of the question (broke!).
That was how I ended up at the dollar stores, looking at everything. As it happened, there were mirrors in 10x10 frames, and rather nice looking if you didn't take into account some of the finishes. Once the art was in, I couldn't believe the difference!
I've been a believer since......
But like I said, the GOOD things, they go to my framer.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

good idea!

I rarely frame anything - but next time I do, I'm heading for the dollar store! LOL

audrey said...

Anne, great minds think alike. I have done this many times and you are right about the staples ~ Ouch! ~ they can be deadly. Framing is SOoooooo expensive and there are times when one of these "cheapies" will do the trick.
Like Pam said, we artists can be "sneaky" at times. TJMaxx is a great place to pick up these frames.
Eager to see your segment tomorrow.
Your migraine must be gone (: I don't think you would be "computering" if you still had it.
Have a wondrous, creative day!!

Leslie said...

Anne, as always, thanks for the laughter and thanks for the tute.

You so brighten my day, thanks for you being you!

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Anne! and don't forget the Goodwill type places too!
These dollar stores are getting good...i even found some jars of white sand and some seashells..
AFTER i had bought mine at
Pottery Barn!!
We will be looking forward to your next installment... wooohoo!
love it!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

To you all.....
If anyone knew how many *art* items---and I use the term loosely!---I picked up at dollar/discount stores, they would die laughing!
I look for anything that has potential--I finally learned that. I still use good basics; gels, canvas, paint, etc. But for altered art, there are so many different places to buy *things* we all use.
You have to rethink it all and learn to see again.
As to the's low grade. We still have bad weather here and it's only on the left side of the head, so that doesn't warrant meds yet. When it starts moving all over, then the migraine meds come out and I head to the couch in the dark.
And I have too much to do today for that!

A slightly wobbly Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said... the migraine is just *better*. I've learned to work to the point where things start moving visually, then I give in.
Once this blasted weather system gets through, it will be okay.
Well, as okay as I get....LOL!!!!

Vicki M. said...

Anne...I've been known to re-use frames, but I never would have thought to cut a canvas panel. (I don't know why, I don't hestitate cut anything from photographs to glasss and metal!)

Thanks for sharing...looking forward to next install.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

It's definitely something for you to think about.....especially if you have a nice panoramic shot, a frame like this would work.
Bought it at Family Dollar---I always check their frames!

Georgina said...

God, I hate the caca list, but I have my own too..hehehehehe!!! The chiles are roasting and Rosita is going to hang the red ones outside to dry (enchilada sauce, here I come!!)It was so interesting how she did it...she used strips of a clean rag and tied them on to make a string to hang up outside to dry. We call them "ristras" here in the southwest, she had never heard of the word, since it must be a NM regional name and she's from Mex. Anyhoo, thanks for the frame tip...I have lots of frames to get started on. I've found some cute ones at the $Store and $General.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh I think I could die for some REAL Mexican food and not the stuff available here......
Lucky you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Your terminology is priceless, wrip, yank, twist.. ehhehe I love it. I have a frame I put my serenity prayer in which was purchased for I think $5.00. I ripped it apart, yanked out the guts, and, well okay, I didn't twist anything yet... but suffice, I carefully cut my cardboard, fitted my crossstitch and so on. It is my most prized possession. Done on the cheap and helped me through 5 years of recovery!!

You can put your birds one on each of my shoulders.. two more to the vet would matter not. :)

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

LOL!!! I assure you, with those little wild budgies, you know NOT what you ask!!! Most wonderful guys in the world, but never had their wings clipped and they are just crazy. And such a joy too----so funny and so expressive.
I have had a couple of staples break when I take these things apart, and that's when the twisting and *bad words* start. Have had my fingers laid open by them.....people think you're joking but they can be a real hazard.
It seems we both know!
Take care!!!

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