Upcycling picture frames

My latest completed project! I got inspired by some pictures in a children’s decor catalogue, and thought, “I could do that.” So: Papercuts of local fauna, by yours truly, mounted in thrift-store frames. I’m pleased with them. They’ll go above the kid-books bookcase in the living room, once we get to a hardware store and buy more picture hangers. 

I love me some thrift store frames. New picture frames are crazy expensive – particularly if you want anything at all nice. At the thrift store, they top out at $10, maybe $15 for something really big and nice. The frame area is easily where I spend the most time during thrift store visits lately. I dig patiently through, looking for frames in decent shape and useful sizes that have been priced at the low end – $1, $2, $3. (There’s a certain degree of arbitrariness in the pricing. Two frames that seem of roughly similar size and quality may be priced at $2 and $5, respectively. I’ll buy the $2 one…)

It’s not hard to de-picturize most frames. Some take a screwdriver, some take pliers to pull out the staples holding the backing in. (We have a staple gun, so I just put in new staples to hold the backing in once I’ve put in my own picture.) I have my own mat cutter, having learned years ago from my friend Jil that they’re not that hard to use. (BTW, they really do work much better on scrap matboard than on a cutting mat… I only discovered that recently.) The mat cutter and an assortment of interesting mat scraps make it easy to match pictures to frames nicely. Both in Cambridge and here, there are art/framing shops that sell the cut-out middles of the mats they cut for cheap. You probably have one near you, too.

I’ve broken the glass on a couple of big, nice frames, the good-quality modular kind… I learned to be super-gentle with bigger sheets of glass! Just last night I successfully framed a picture we’ve had for ages, in a big, good-quality frame I’d been too scared to tackle… 

And while I’m reporting what I’ve been up to, here are two of the dolls I’ve been working on. Their names are Julia and Florence, after the two main female characters in the Anthony Trollope novel I just finished, The Claverings. I’ll get around to giving them arms and legs one of these days… 

2 Responses to “Upcycling picture frames”

  1. Juan Quixote Says:

    Cool! I love the papercuts!. Hmm…isn’t there something else to call them besides papercuts? Cutouts, maybe? Anyway, my only suggestion is that you add a flying squirrel, since they’re so darned cool and eyebally.

    K and I have also had occasion to celebrate the virtues of secondhand picture frames… we even hit the big time once and got one with a nice, usable mat inside. How cool is that?

  2. herzliebster Says:

    Nice artwork!!

    You have many talents.

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