Exhibition Frames-Summer 2015-Part 2

Here is the second part to my previous post.

As mentioned earlier I decided to enter some of more recent works to the local art exhibition (which starts next week, so check it out!). I had ordered mat’s from the Mat Shop a few weeks before I started to design and make the frames. I ordered they called a double mat, and selected from the sizes they had available. In my case I had 19×13″ prints, so I had to go with 24×18″ sized mat’s. This is the outside dimensions, which also indicate the inside dimensions needed to make the frames. How you ‘fit’ the mat to your art is relatively simple, the Mat Shop explains most of it rather well. Since I had a piece I did with watercolor, I had to order a mat with the correct inner dimensions for it. This one I had reversed the colors, black outside, white on the inside. You can see the odd one out in the picture bellow, with the mat’s sitting on top of the corresponding pieces. I would also suggest ordering backing for your frames at the same time as the mats… would be a bit difficult to properly frame them otherwise.


Once the mat’s were in hand, we set out to make the big spruce pine boards into smaller wood what we can make some frame’s out of. Note that spruce is a soft wood, so if you plan on handling it rough you will end up with dings and dents in the wood. This does make it easier to cut and sand. After cutting the boards into the approx width we needed (I believe we started with about 2 inches), it would be a good idea to run it through a planer to make the wood flat and a consistent thickness. The picture bellow (to the left) shows the final result, and the mess after the pieces were put through the planer.



20150801_164312The next step was taking the long boards and use the table router to make groves and create the inner lip of the frame. The inner lip is essentially what holds your inner working of your frame together. It is also very helpful to make sure the total thickness of your glass,mat,art,and backing do not go past the back of the frame, since it makes it difficult to put it all together in the end. I got quite lucky since mine JUST fit, dad did not realize I had ordered double mat’s, which are thicker than what he was use to using. After the inner lip is cut, we proceeded to cut the lines and groves into the frame boards, as per the design I had in mind. I went with a very plain looking one, then the other two were slightly more elaborate. The designs I chose are in the pictures bellow.

After the design was done, it was time to cut the frame boards to the correct size. This is when you can get very frustrated and waste a lot of material…. of course my dad had done this a few times before. This does not guarantee mistakes will not happen, they still can and do. We ended up with not enough frame board made, since I had changed my mind on the frame thickness. It was easily remedied. The trick to cutting the frame boards to the correct length is to measure on the inside lip. That measurement should be in my case either 24″ or 18″, we gave it an eighth of an inch more just to be safe, you want the area were your mat takes up to be included in the inside lip of the frame. Then, you can easily visualize the correct angle the end of the board needs to be as you work, just think it though the first cut before you make it. It helps if you have another head to confirm and check with to make sure what you are doing makes sense. After you have cut all the necessary pieces you can glue then clip them together!! We used a special rig my dad had to alter to make larger frames, it looks really simple and it works well to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. I would suggest gluing it before trying to hammer in the clips.


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After all three frames were together it was time to fill any imperfections and sand the wood down. Since for two of the frames I had groves and such, there was quite a bit of work that went into those. Once they were all sanded and cleaned, it was time for paint. I originally wanted to do all of the frames in a glossy black, however once I got to the store, I quickly changed my mind. I ended up going with a burgundy/red (we argued what color this really was), a bronze metal, and a flat black. The flat black was used on the plain-looking frame, and the others on the more intricate frames. Usually we would sand the paint down after the first coat and apply another to get rid of some “fuzzes” that appear the first time you paint the wood. After the first coat it looked rustic, not fuzzy and was deemed not to be sanded and re-coated. This is likely due to the type of paints used, which was spray paints with primer included. So we let each of the frames dry. We slowly discovered the paints that were glossy took much longer to dry such that it could be handled. The worst one was the bronzed metal frame, we had to leave it out in the sun for a while, and then to dry overnight in the garage. In the mean time we put the black and red frames together.

20150808_153430 20150808_154552 I realize this post is getting long, so I will try to wrap this up.

To put the frames together, simply lay the frame face down. Preferably on a blanket to prevent damage. Then lay the glass in the frame, after cleaning it very well first. Especially what will be the inside, since you won’t have a chance later to clean it. Next the mat can be laid down in the frame on top of the glass, and knowing the dimensions of the mat and the art, measure out where the corner the edges of the art should go. In my case for the 19×13 prints, I had a 1/4 inch overlap, so we measured a 1/4″ from the edge of the mat and taped the art down. For some reason I do not have a picture of this, however it is common sense to secure the art such that it is perfectly placed within the frame. Finally, the backboard can go on, and the innards can be secured using special clips. This is where it 20150808_184653is important to make sure the thickness of the innards do not exceed the inner lip of the frame, otherwise you will have to find a different method of securing the frame. (the securing process is shown in the pics below) After the clips are in, tape was applied over top of the clips, to further seal the frame, and then the hanging wire was installed.

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The final product is in the pictures bellow! Enjoy!

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Sorry that there is only two single pics of the frames, the fish one had glare and was blurry. You will have to wait till later for a better picture. Regardless, they all turned out amazingly. My favorite is between the black and red frame’s, for now. But I love them all!! Very happy with how it all turned out.

Stay tuned for more about how they did in the exhibition, hopefully I can get some pictures of them on display!

Kittlin out!

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