Saturday, December 22, 2012

Did It Myself No. 1: Fancied-Up Picture Frame

Z is for "Zis frame is awesome!"
Continuing on the same thread as my last post, Christmas isn't the only time of year we forget to keep our environmental footprint in mind. Any time there's celebratingthere's also wastefulness. So, just a few weeks ago, while organizing my sister's baby shower, my mom and I decided something I was ecstatic aboutno decorations. Any sort of festive adornment you buy in a store for this sort of event is rife with gender-specific congratulations and cartoon renderings of ducks anyway. Plus, where do these paper and plastic based items end up when all the cooing and gift opening is through? Why, in the trash of course! Still, this shower being a welcoming to the world of my mom's first grandson, I couldn't blame her when she ended our "no decorations" discussion with "well, maybe one thing." In a flash, I knew what to do. And, with a few supplies and a little time, it's something anyone could do to add a personal touch to an event. Whether for a baby shower, a birthday, or Christmas, a customized picture frame is both a decoration and a gift. You may even have all the "ingredients" just lying around your house...

What you'll need:

Plain black picture frame with
two mats.
- A picture frame: Any size, any colour. Instead of buying something new, try reusing one you already have (if you're anything like me, you have a few extra frames stashed away). Or, check out a second-hand or antique store. Who knows, maybe you'll find a beautiful vintage frame that you'll love just the way it is.

- Fabric: Something I also tend to have just hanging out in my craft bin. Perhaps you have some leftover scraps from another project. Other options are bed sheet, a curtain, or even a piece of clothing you don't wear anymore. Beautiful fabric is everywhere, not just at Fabricland!

- Paper: This is for the background and your imagination is your only limit. You can use newspaper, wrapping paper, another piece of fabric. You can take a scrap of paper and doodle on it. And, since this is a picture frame, you could even use a photo. The paper I used for this project was the only thing I bought--from an inexpensive craft/gift store in Stony Plain called Kountry Korner Gifts. (Yay for shopping local!)

Buttons and such.
- Various decorative elements: I used sisal twine and some wooden buttons I bought years ago for a Christmas present I made for my mom, but, again, use whatever you have/whatever tickles your fancy.

- The usual crafty suspects: Scissors, glue (I used a hot glue gun and glue dots), a few hours on a Saturday night (unless, unlike me, you have better things to do on a weekend evening).

What you'll do:

1) Use your frame as a guide and cut out a piece of fabric, making sure there's enough room around the edges to wrap it. My frame was about and inch deep, so I needed more fabric than you would for a skinnier frame.

2) Take the back off and the glass and mats (if there are any) out of the frame. Run some hot glue (or any other kind of glue you think will hold/won't seep through the fabric) around the front of the frame and press it down onto your fabric.
X marks the spot... although, which
spot? I do not know.

3) Fold the fabric around the sides of the frame, like you're wrapping a present (you may want to think about where your folds will end up--I chose to have them on the top and bottom of the frame, but that's just me). Run some glue around the back of the frame and, pulling the fabric tight, stick it down. You can then cut away the excess fabric (remember, this is just the back, so it's okay if it looks a little messy). You'll want to make sure there won't be any fabric in the way when you go to put the frame's backing in.

3) Cut an X in the middle of your fabric. Cut it almost all the way back to the corners of the frame, but be careful not to cut too far oronce you wrap the fabricyou'll be able to see the frame peeking out. Then, pull the fabric around the inside of the frame and glue it down. Because of my thicker frame, I glued it on the inside, but with a thinner frame, you may just end up wrapping it around to the back. Again, cut off any excess fabric.

Zs look like 2s... maybe I can regift 
this for my nephew's second birthday?
4) Put the glass and any mats back in. You can also add your "picture" now, if it's ready. Mine was a piece of card stock with my nephew's initial made from the sisal twine. Making the letter is where I used the glue dots, as they aren't as gooey and, I find, easier to control than hot glue.

5) Put the frames backing in and finish off the front anyway you wish (note the star-shaped buttons).

6) You're done! You may now claim your prize as the cheapestbut most creativeperson ever.

Give yourself a pat on the back...
or the ass. I won't judge.
I'm happy to report the frame looked lovely at the shower, sitting next to my pasta salad, and my sister was very happy to take it home, saying she was going to put it up in her room (since that's where the baby is currently sleeping). This project took me about two hours (mind you, I was stopping to take photos) and cost me almost nothing (granted, I'm a bit of a pack rat to have all this stuff). Plus, it made me feel good to be crafty and environmentally responsible, in a way that going to Walmart and buying a plastic "It's A Boy!" banner just wouldn't.

Have any crafty ideasbaby shower related or not? Share and share alike down below in the comments!

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