Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joybird's Studio: the Wedding Gift

I don't know if I would call myself an artist or not, but I know that I flourish most when I am allowing my creative juices to flow.  In most creative areas I am seasonal.  I get deeply into a medium for a year or so and then take a break for little while.  This last year I have been unable to practice many of my favorite art forms due to injury.  Thus this blog was born. 

So this wedding was coming up and I had no money for a wedding gift.  Then inspiration struck.  All I needed was a chunky wooden frame. 

I found this black frame for the grand price of $3.50.  Sorry I forgot to take the before picture of the front of the frame before I painted the first coat. 

As you can see I painted the frame with a light grayish beige color.  It took two coats to cover the black.

After each coat of paint I gently sand the frame smooth with a fine grade of sand paper.  After the last "greige" coat I rubbed the edges and corners, pretty much the areas where the paint would wear over time, with a white wax candle.

Then I painted the frame a few coats of my very favorite shade of white, again sanding in between coats.  After the final coat I gently sanded the edges and corners, the same places I had waxed.   The wax stops the white paint from adhering to the brown paint.  So it sands off much more easily.  This is a gentle distressing technique, more a rubbed finish than extremely weathered.  I love this effect.  And I actually think that the bits of black peeking through under the greige give the frame more dimension. 

Now for the coup de grace.  Using my trusty HP color printer, I printed out one of the couple's engagement pictures.  I tore the outside edges rather that using an exacto knife.  Then I cut the square out of the middle.  Using a rough grade of sandpaper I distress the edges. 

Rather than purchasing decoupage medium (which I don't love), I mix up my own decoupage medium with 3 parts of Elmer's Glue to 1 part water.  I find this both less expensive and easier to work with than the stuff you can buy at Michaels.  I paint the back of the picture with the glue mixture and paste it onto the frame.

Finally, I paint the frame with a clear varathane, sand and repeat, many times.  This protects the decoupage and leaves a smooth, satiny final coat. 

So this has nothing to do with how I made the gift but didn't the wrapping turn out cool?  I braided the pearl strands.

Overall it was a great gift.  My friends loved it and since I had all of the paint on hand it only cost the price of the frame and some sponge brushes.  And it gave me a creative release in a physically manageable dose.  Yippee!
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