Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cute photo frames

I found another fun use for paint and mod podge.  Since I have so much of the stuff lying around my "workshop" lately, I keep messing with it on new projects.  I have been busy getting ready for a craft fair as of late, and I haven't had time to blog about stuff.  So, here is a small, simple project to kick things off again. :-)  These would make great holiday gifts, btw...

Wood Photo Frame - preferably unfinished; check out local dollar stores
Paint(s) - can even be leftover wall paint for an economical craft
Paint brush
Stickers, scrapbooking paper, printed cliparts, rub on designs, or anything else you can think of
Mod Podge
Acrylic Sealer (optional)

1. Remove the backing and glass from the frame.  Set aside in a location it can stay for a while without getting lost or broken.  This project requires lots of dry time which can span a few days.

2. On some cardboard or newspaper, paint the front of the frame, the inside edge (near where the glass goes), and the outside edge, being careful not to smudge it with your fingers or paint it to your surface.  Let it dry for at least an hour, depending on the recommended dry time for your chosen paint.  Add a second and third coat as needed to get a good base coverage.  Don't skimp - you want vibrant colors!

3.  When the front is dry enough to flip the frame over without it sticking to the paper, paint a heavy coat on the back.  You don't really need to do this if you are crunched for time, but it will make your final product look more finished.  You shouldn't need to do additional coats on the back unless you really want it to look fancy from the back.

4.  Flip the frame over and add your decorations to the front.  Get creative and find images from old magazines, greeting cards, stickers (this is a great way to use up old stickers that are no longer sticky), bits of scrapbook paper, and print out cliparts from your printer.  I discovered when making baby blocks that inkjet printed paper does pretty well with mod podge - it doesn't run as much as people say.  I think the results are darn near perfect.  If decorations have their own adhesive, stick them right to the frame, otherwise use a thin layer of mod podge to glue them down.

The one on the left is a recycled greeting card!  Yay for eco friendly and FREE!  And cute, of course.
5.  Apply a generous coat (frame should look somewhat milky) of mod podge over the front and outside and inside edges of the frame.  Don't add too much to the edges or it will stick to the paper, but you want to wrap the layer of mod podge around more than the front panel alone so it seals completely and doesn't leave a visible line where you stopped applying it.  Set the frame somewhere to dry.

6. After about an hour or when the mod podge is no longer tacky, apply a second coat.  I recommend a third, but it is not imperative if you are on a time crunch.  Be careful not to leave deep brush strokes - the mod podge will dry clear, but you can still see some brush strokes in the final product, and careful application will help minimize this.

7.  You can also add an optional layer or 2 of acrylic sealer, but even I admittedly was in too much of a hurry to do it this time.  I will for next time, though!

Once the last layer of sealer or mod podge dries, you are done!  Pop a photo in, replace the glass and backing, and bask in your homemade beauty!

Bottom Line:
Frames: as little as $1 at the dollar tree, but Walmart has affordable ones for a bit more ($3-$5)
Paint: I used leftovers from other projects, but a small bottle averages $2
Mod podge: again, leftovers for me, but cost of a bottle is about $6
Decorations: Use what you have!  paint a design if nothing else!
Total cost = between $1-$13

Time = approx half an hour total work time, not including dry time; give yourself a full day to complete this if you plan to work straight through

Retail = starting at $8 for smaller ones, easily up to as much as $30!

Savings = $7-$17  Hooray!