Two Frames, One Watercolor

Holy Week is here!  Lent is almost over and Easter is on it’s way!  I’m popping in quick with the what’s and how’s of the watercolor in the kids’ bathroom and then I’m out for the rest of the week to focus on JESUS!  Whoop!  I’ve been reading “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist” for Lent and it’s been such a great read (especially for this mainly fiction reader) and I can’t wait to finish this week.  I love history and when you mix history and the faith like this and read the words of someone who knows what they’re talking about, well, it gets me.  Highly recommend it…

So, the watercolor painting I hung in the kids’ bathroom…I really, really like it.
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I picked it up at a yard sale last summer and I’ll never let it go…I mean, I can’t even figure out who wanted to in the first place, right?  It’s not a print but an actual watercolor painting!  Maybe the giver wasn’t aware?  Originally, it looked like this:
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I didn’t think the frame was that bad but Anthony said it reminded him of something you’d see hanging in a doc’s office.  I could see it too, I guess.  Regardless, it was a little too big for where I wanted it so I went a-hunting for a smaller frame at Goodwill last week and found this one:
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I thought the frame itself was some sort of plastic since it was nice and shiny but once I started sanding it down and prepping it for paint, I realized it was wood.  Ha!  $5 for a 22” x 17” wood frame…not bad!

Anyway, it was papered over on the back, which used to scare me to the point that I’d avoid all paper-backed frames in thrift stores.  But, since then, I’ve cast aside that fear and now I don’t care what a frame looks like on the back.  All I know is that no matter what’s on the back, pretty much any frame can be hacked into and used to display whatever I want it to.  Maybe you’ve been intimidated after seeing that paper too?  Well, don’t be.  Here’s how to take a frame like this apart:
frame1 – See the paper.  Own the paper.  Forget the paper.
2 – Rip the paper off.  It doesn’t own you.
3 – Under the paper, something will be holding everything in place.  Sometimes it’s staples all around the inside edge and sometimes, like this time for me, it’s small nails.  Sometimes you might even get lucky and just find tape.  If that’s your luck, just rip it out or grab the nearest knife or razor blade and slice along the edges.  If it’s staples or nails, take them out, one by one.  I’ve found a needle-nose pliers works best for this type of thing.  Yes, it’s a little tedious but that’s ok.  Just remember that there’s glass under there so don’t go too crazy banging and pulling.
4 – Once you get all the things (nails, tape, staples, etc…) that are holding the contents of the frame in place out, take out everything down to the glass so that all you’re left with is the frame itself.

Then, wash that glass quick because chances are it’ll need a good cleaning on both sides and put everything back in the way you had it, replacing whatever it is you want with whatever was in the frame when you bought it.  So, glass, mat (if there is one), art (I usually tape it in so it doesn’t slide around when in), cardboard (or other backing, and then nails (staples or tape).  You can even tape or glue some more paper to the back to make it look more professional if you want but I never do because who looks at the backside of a frame once it’s on the wall?  Not me and hopefully not you either because that might be really weird…

But, let’s backtrack a tad to the point where you have everything out of the frame.  If you want to change up the look of the frame with paint or anything else without having to worry about it’s contents getting in the way, now would be the time.  I wanted to go white with this one so I did a quick sanding to get rid of that glossy sheen.  I liked the gold on the frame though so I taped over that so I’d end up with a white frame with gold trim on the inside.
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I primed the frame with white spray paint and then brush-painted it with leftover paint I have on hand from painting this wood couch.  I would’ve gone the spray paint route but I’m currently out of white spray paint and haven’t had a chance to grab anymore recently so latex it was.

Before I could stick the watercolor into it’s new frame, I had to trim it down a little.  So, I measured and penciled two lines on the top and left sides; where I’d need to trim to get it to the size I wanted it.
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I could’ve taken an equal amount off each of the four sides but I wanted to keep as much of the watercolor itself in view so I cut off the two sides with the least amount of color.

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It was now a perfect fit.  What didn’t come out so perfect was my paint job.  Either I didn’t press down my painters’ tape enough or the painters’ tape I used just stinks, but the white paint leaked underneath and onto the gold edge I wanted to keep.  I tried sanding it off but then ended up sanding off some of the gold and now it just looks a little messy.  Maybe I can call it distressed?
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I think I’ll just grab some gold paint and touch it up but until that happens, at least the watercolor draws the eye towards itself and not the frame’s paint job…or maybe that’s just me playing the justification/excuse card but either way, since the frame isn’t the star of this show, I really don’t care all that much to rush to fix it.

And that is that.

I hope you all have a wonderful and powerful Holy Week and an even better Easter!

3 comments

  1. Hi Sheena! Question... how are you putting the nails or staples back in? Needle nose pliers again? I've used a hammer and shattered the glass before, even with gentle tapping :(

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    1. Hey Michelle! I did use a hammer and I tried to bang as gently as I could. I was a little worried about the glass but I felt like the nails were in far enough from the glass that it'd probably be ok. I made sure to stick the nails right back in the nail holes and I wasn't too concerned with them being in all the way as long as they were sturdy and didn't wobble much. A pliers would probably work too but I'd be more nervous of slipping with them than with a hammer, I think. Another, totally safe option, might be to just tape the whole cardboard back on by running strips of thick tape inside edge. You could always removed and retape when you wanted a change. As a matter of fact, I might try that next time...

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