Tag Archives: frame

50 cents and 50 seconds later …

In my last post, you might have noticed the “artwork” housed in the niches of the living room. I put “artwork” in quotations because it’s hardly anything fancy and cost me a total of 50 cents.

If you’ve been in any of my old apartments, you know that those frames originally looked like this:

FrameThis was originally a project that involved cutting up paint swatches and organizing them in an ombre effect. Over three frames, the swatches would fade from gray to green to yellow, to match the color scheme in my old space. Needless to say, that was a much more involved project than what I’m about to show to you.

When looking to update the frames, I wanted to find something consistent for the two niches that wouldn’t compete with the oversized art that will eventually go in between them.

My first inclination was to find some black and white photographs that could still be meaningful but complement any other pieces in the room. After scouring the internet (mainly art.com), I ran out of patience and decided to get a little more creative with something that I could pick up locally.

Since HGTV always says to design a room around one piece – most of the time fabric, I figured this was the opportunity for me to buy some cool graphic fabric and insert it into the room. What I quickly found out, is that I have some pretty specific tastes, which considerably limits the fabric options available to me. That’s how I found myself at Michael’s going up and down the scrapbooking aisle where I finally found these:

Frame 3At 25 cents a piece, I knew this was the solution, especially since they already matched the colors in the room, were modern, and basically cost nothing. A little trimming around the edges and you end up with this:

Frame 2Voila! A 50 cent, 50 second project that can modernize any room. The best part is that you really could use fabric or even wall paper if you don’t find any scrapbooking pages to your liking.

What did you do this weekend? Any similar projects you’ve been working on? I went to an STL favorite so be on the lookout for a review later this week!

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Instagram on My Wall

Even though my sister was asking for a food-related post, I thought I would switch things up with a DIY project that has been on my radar for quite some time. In fact, it was one of my first pins on Pinterest over a year ago.

I’m a big fan of Instagram and when I saw this elegant solution for displaying the small, filtered-applied photos, I knew that this was going in my house. The problem is that I never found the right frame. Specifically, a chunky, ornate one that won’t break the bank.

After I moved to St. Louis, I became acquainted with the Goodwill Outlet Store – yes, outlet. Instead of everything already being ridiculously cheap, at this location, you pay by the pound. The POUND! Five minutes after stepping foot in the store, I was walking out with this $1 beauty – it’s big and ornate but streamlined enough to be modern:

photoNow for color! The only place for this project to go right now is in the kitchen, which has a burgundy tile border that circles the room and will be the perfect color inspiration.

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

  • Paint – a sample size of Valspar Cut Ruby did the trick
  • Sand paper
  • A hook – unless your frame is already equipped with one
  • Wood screws – #4×1/2″ were small enough that they wouldn’t keep the frame from lying flat but long enough that they weren’t going to fall out
  • Wire to hang the photos – I liked the mirror wire cord since it’s a little more industrial but jewelry or fishing wire would be just fine
  • Mini wooden clothespins

The first step is sanding. You need to sand to not only get the finish off but also to rough up the frame a little bit so that the paint will stick. I used 80 grit to strip the finish but that was probably a little aggressive – anything between 40 and 60 would work. After about five minutes, you end up with this:

photo 3Step 2 is painting. Lay some newspaper on the floor and brush on some paint. After the first coat, I noticed that the wood grain was still showing through and while I didn’t love it at first, two more coats later and I decided to keep it that way – it adds character and breaks up the bright red color. If you’re looking for solid color, a coat of white primer would help you achieve that effect more successfully than painting color directly on the wood.

photo 2Now, it’s time to prep the back. This involves adding a hook, screws and wiring. To determine spacing, I laid my printed Intagram photos directly on the ground in a grid to see how many I had to work with – in this case, 30 (six across, five down). From there, I figured out the right measurements were 3″ between each wire with an inch from the top and the bottom. Put in the screws, add taut wiring between the two and voila! A clothes line for your mini clothespins and prints:

picstitchThere are plenty of different patterns that you could hang your Instagram photos in. Personally, I went with a layout that was a little more organic, less organized and ultimately easier to make look deliberate – the perfect grid would have been much harder to keep up.

photo 5So there you have it: an easy, afternoon project that gets your digital Instagram pictures onto your wall. From a cost perspective, this is how the budget breaks down:

  • Frame – $1
  • Hook – $1.58
  • Paint sample – $2.98
  • Sand paper – $4.47
  • Mini clothespins – $2.99
  • Wood screws – $2.36
  • Mirror wire – $5.88
  • Total – $21.26

The key to keeping this cheap is the frame. Steer clear of Michael’s and Hobby Lobby where they go from $30-$50 and you’ll be doing just fine.

What projects have you been working on lately? Any Pinterest pins you’ve had your eye on?

PS: If you’re looking for the perfect site to get your Instagram prints from, I recommend Prinstagram – 50 photos for $12.

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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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