Sunday, November 16, 2014

Floating Frames

I've been looking for a way to cheaply frame some of my paintings.  What I've discovered; there is no such thing.  So, I decided to build some frames of my own.  The problem;  I've never built anything, and I'm not too mechanically inclined.  Yet somehow, despite a lack of the proper equipment (a table saw), space (a patio table), and Home Depot's compete ineptitude and lack of pride in their work, my frames turned out ok.

The frames are called floating frames.  I found a You Tube plan for making them online.  They are basically just pine strip molding nailed to a 3/4" composite panel and then varnished.  The dimensions of the panels are supposed to be 1/4" larger than the painting canvas on all sides so that there is an 1/8" gap between the painting and the frame.  The panel is painted black so that it looks like the painting is "floating" in the frame.

I bought a 2' x 4' sheet of panel at Home Depot and asked them to cut it into as many 6 and 1/4" x 8 and 1/4" panels as they could; board cutting is a service that Home Depot offers.  However, what they did not tell me up front is that they cannot make precision cuts.  Being the savvy customer that I am, I did not inspect the dimensions of the smaller panels before leaving Home Depot to make sure they were correct, nor did I notice the sign that said, "we cannot make precision cuts."

When I got home, I realized that most of the dimensions were way off, visibly so, which is not good if you want to make frames that are rectangular, a common shape for frames.  My angry return to Home Depot was to no avail; turns out there was a sign, which they were happy to point out.  And even when I pointed out the lack of pride that they take in their work, it was not enough to cajole them into making precise cuts for me. As a result, I was only able to salvage a total of four 6" x 8" frames and one 8" x 10" frame.

They are not perfect.  Using a miter saw and sandpaper, I did my best to get the correct dimensions, but there are still some gaps and unevenness.  However, my paintings aren't perfect either, and I don't think they have to be.  Somehow they work, and I think the varnish color and the gap between the paintings and the frame really makes them pop.  One day, when I have my own studio/workshop, I'll have a table saw, and I'll crank these out in perfect dimensions.

The paintings in the frames aren't actually attached.  I set them in the frame just to demonstrate the floater effect.  To attach the paintings to the panel, you would just add a little glue to the back of the painting and center it in the frame.  Then you would apply a little weight, maybe with a piece of foam underneath a plate weight and let it dry.

I'm thinking these will sell out quickly at the Marriott craft show coming up in December, so if you want one, let me know.  I'm thinking $30?  Still cheaper than any frame you'll find at Michael's, but enough to recoup my time and money.

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