The DIY Choice

Everyone knows what day it is. The TODAY Show, which I watch every morning while getting ready for work, mentioned that presidential candidates have been campaigning for the past 17 months in anticipation for today. That’s close to a year an a half, people! No wonder we want this election to be over …

Anyway, instead of telling you to go vote or who to vote for, as many people have done already, I thought I would regale you with … drum roll please … a quick DIY project! If you can even call it that since it’s basically a travel tip and quick framing advice. I essentially realized that a handful of blogs that I follow are design focused and since it’s at topic that I enjoy reading about, I figured why not write about it myself?

As I mentioned here, I was lucky enough to visit San Francisco and Napa Valley back in June. When traveling, I’m always on the lookout for a cool souvenir and what I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that while it’s easy to go for the touristy chochtkies, they usually don’t make the best or the most stylish mementos. Instead, I now gravitate toward artwork or something easily framable like the pamphlet that I picked up during our tour of Alcatraz.

Side note: The Alcatraz tour is awesome and a must for any first-time San Francisco visitor. Not only does it provide a glimpse into one of the most secure prisons in our history, it also offers some of the best views of the city a.k.a. some serious photo opps. 

So here’s my travel tip: unless it’s something truly unique, go for the souvenir that you can hang on the wall. It keeps you from storing random items on shelves that eventually just gather dust and adds to your collection of artwork to choose from when decorating. If you’re like me, there is always too much empty wall space that is just begging for a nail and something to hang.

For this particular project, all you’re going to need is:

  • Something to frame
  • One frame – For me, an 8″x10″. I opted to go with something that was matted in order to make the whole piece more substantial so that it wouldn’t get swallowed up by the other frames it would hang next to.
  • Scotch tape – Easiest to peel off if you mess up.
  • A piece of paper – In my case, an old Megabus ticket.
  • One ruler or tape measure
  • One nail – If I were more of a handyman, I would tell you exactly what nail but in this case, it’s something that’s long enough to hold the frame and secure it so that it won’t fall.

The first step is to figure out how you want to position your artwork in the mat. The trick I learned from my mom is to use tape on the back with the sticky side up so that you can then place the mat over it and press down, getting them to stick together. You can be much more precise that way and it’s secure so that it doesn’t slip or fall later.

The next step, and the one I’m most impatient about, is cleaning the glass. Basically, Windex the crap out of it since a hair or piece of dust could have snuck up on there and you don’t want to have to start over once you realize you missed something. This has happened to me more times than I care to remember …

Finally, secure everything together and you have an original, framed piece!

Hanging the artwork can be the most difficult step, particularly when you’re like me and you want to add it to an already existing collage of frames.

Second side note: the secret to doing a collage is to pick frames that are the same color. They don’t need to be the same style but the color allows for more cohesion and the mix and match look that seems to be popular these days. 

This is where the paper, ruler and nail come in and my quick framing advice that I stole from one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love. The paper represents the frame, which means you need to measure where the hook would be. You then tape it to the wall in the exact place where you want it to hang like so:

Once that’s done, drive your nail where the X you drew is, and consequently where the hook will be. Remove the paper and hang your frame – voila! Simple as that.

X marks the spot!

You should then end up with something that looks like this:

For those that are curious: (clockwise) an organization photo and Mizzou campus rendering that’s given to all Alumni Association Student Board seniors, my new San Francisco memento, a picture of my favorite place in Paris – Place du Tertre, and my college diploma complete with Honors medal.

Not bad right?

From a budget perspective, you’re looking at:

  • $1 for the pamphlet
  • $9.72 for the frame that was marked down at Blick from $17.99
  • TOTAL: $10.72

Now that’s a smart choice to me.

What souvenirs do you usually like to get while on vacation? Any other framing/hanging tips that you’ve found helpful?

PS: I usually think my posts are going to be short but then they usually end up as a long diatribe. Maybe one day I’ll master concise, to-the-point writing.

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4 thoughts on “The DIY Choice

  1. akcomputer says:

    Nice! Particularly like the Paris photo; looks so rad. Can’t wait to visit and see in person in 2 weeks.

  2. you have a plant next to your bed 🙂

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