Now I know that last minute shopping is inevitable, we cant avoid our popular shopping grounds for last minute gift deals and ideas. But I decided to make a very special project in the very spirit of Christmas to show my appreciation for this colorful holiday. I also thought it would be a creative way to make some frameable art that can not only go up during the holiday but can be given as a gift.
Giving it away as a gift, I think, is the best part, considering the time and effort that goes into it. Imagine being on the receiving end knowing that someone worked hard on something for you with a lot of thought put into it. I would be flattered and I love to get the gifts made for me, especially by my children.
For this project, I decided to transform an ordinary picture frame into something extraordinary. As many of you know you can purchase ready made frames from several different places. The main function of the frame is to hold and perhaps honor our artwork. By holding the artwork it not only protects it from damage, but it also enhances the look and adds elegance to it. If you can think of framing this way you may appreciate it more.
Now, having worked with framing for a time now, I have seen some really cool styles and types of frames. For this project, I decided to use a frame that functions more as a box frame. The box frame is designed to give space between the glass and the object so that you can frame items with more dimension. What separates the glass from the object is a spacer that is either placed or glued into the frame to create the necessary gap. Spacers are made in several different widths and sizes, and they are made out of different materials as well. A common type of spacer is made from wood that can be found at any arts and crafts stores. They are typically cut into the shape of a sqaure or rectangle and are several feet long so that they can be measured and cut to the right size.
For my project, I found a frame that had a built-in spacer, that was already precut and removeable. I found this frame at Aaron Brothers and it came with a precut mat inside. The frame was meant to make it easy on me by having the mat already in the frame. All I had to do was to add my photograph and I could be finished.
Although that’s a great feature, I don’t need the mat for the project that I planned out. I did save the mat and put it in a safe place to avoid damaging it.
For the project I decided to use just about everything that I had in my supply boxes. You could truly say that I threw in everything but the kitchen sink in terms of arts and crafts supplies. If you decide to try this please use whatever inspires you, and don’t limit yourself. Be free and have a lot of fun.
Supplies: Scissors, hot glue, mod podge, paintbrushes, regular white mats, jars for water, tissue paper, glitter beads, pearl stickers, felt, regular paper, decorative Christmas paper, pom poms, and foil glitter and flock remnants.
The very first step to getting started is to get some mats cut to the size that will fit properly into the frame. Its very simple to get an accurate measurement, simply flip the frame over and measure the length and width from the inside of the frame. I had to be sure to measure from end to end.
I can cut mats myself, since I have a razor blade, a metal ruler, and a self-healing board. But I decided to have them cut by a framing shop. I may have paid a little extra for this service but keep in mind it’s time and effort for the shop. Why worry about that cost when I have art making to do.
Once I got my mats home, I set up my workspace and started by flipping my frame over and removing the backing from the frame. I made sure that my new mats fit properly into the frame and I got started right away.
I decided to use my tissue paper to create a blue background. I cut out several larger pieces to avoid spending too much time gluing.
With my paintbrush, I spread a large amount of Mod Podge over the surface of my newly cut mat. Once I covered an area large enough, I laid the paper over it. I patted it down gently over the glue and continued this process until I completely covered the mat with blue tissue.
The next step was to take my sheets of light and dark green felt material, and cut them into simple triangle shapes resembling Christmas trees. I decided that the trees would form the foreground and the main focus of the artistic piece. I laid the trees out to be sure that I was happy with the arrangement of the trees and then I glued them down with Mod Podge.
The next step was to decorate my trees with ornaments. For this, I pulled out my pom poms. Not only did they add a vibrancy to the piece but they also had dimension. Since I decided to use the box frame, I was excited to add elements that had dimension to them.
When I decided to glue the pom poms down I realized that regular glue wasn’t going to cut it. As usual the glue soaked right into the felt material, which left nothing to hold the pom poms down. So I reached for my glue gun, the next best thing, and added a small amount to keep the pom poms instantly in place.
For the Christmas tree garland, I decided to use the pearl stickers. The pearl stickers already come conveniently attached by a string of adhesive so they were perfect. I simply cut them down to the right length and attached them to the tree. The results were getting more and more exciting to look at.
Next, I wanted to add another ornament that was different from the pom poms, so I decided to use my bead glitter. This glitter can be a little unpredictable since they are tiny shiny spheres that roll around everywhere. So I had to have a paper plate to gather the beads that didn’t adhere to the glue. I added a very small bead of glue and carefully poured a small amount of bead glitter to each drop.
After adding the bead glitter, I felt that I was at a good stopping point for the decorations. There were enough visual elements in the trees to move onto the background. To give it a boost, I decided to add good old fashioned paper snowflakes. They had to be a lot smaller than usual so I had to cut them very carefully.
If you’ve never cut out a paper snowflake, it’s quite easy. You take a piece of regular white paper and fold it in half. Fold it in half again, and after the third time folding it in half you should have a small triangle. The key is to cut the triangle on the edges with designs of your choice. Do not cut all the way through, unless you want to. Once you are done cutting out the small shapes you unfold your paper and you should have a beautiful snowflake.
My snowflakes were quite small considering I was working in a very small space. Once they were cut and arranged on the blue background the way that I wanted them, I began to glue them. Again, for this step, I used my paintbrush and brushed Mod Podge over the area that would cover the back ground. I laid the snowflakes down on the glue and patted them down.
From my decorative paper, I chose to cut out a small red box that said Merry Christmas on it. I wanted to be clear that I was wishing Christmas cheer so I added it with some Mod Podge brushed onto the background.
Once the glue was dry, my last and final step was to add an ornate gold design to the background, to not only create a festive look, but to use up my foil, glitter, and flock rub-ons. The first step was to choose and cut out the design of choice. I removed the white protective paper on the back of the adhesive side. Next, I laid it down on the background and rubbed it on with the small popsicle stick. Once the design was rubbed on very well, I lifted the plastic. Next, I cut out a piece of the gold foil from the sheet packet, placed the shiny side up and rubbed the gold foil onto the adhesive design. It was a two step process, so I had to be patient once again.
Believe it or not, this project didn’t take very long at all to make. It easily took me about an hour max. I enjoyed this process so much that I was inspired to make a few more. The beautiful thing about it is that if I choose to keep them at home I can change the art on a daily basis. Or I can buy a few more of the same frame and give them out as gifts. More than likely, they will find a new home to brighten someone’s day.
Honestly, this was one of my more fun projects, and I loved the results!!! Have fun with it!! I did…
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