Framing artwork

So Mary and I had our typical reunion weekend: We got our DIY on.

We spent some time talking about her bathroom and even went tile shopping.

And we spent a long, long time learning that navy blue looks very Americana on large pieces of furniture, rather than blue-black.

And we had some fun at the World’s Largest Block Party:

The lesson from this photo is: Don’t take a photo with your back to the sun.

And I had some great success frame shopping!

Over the last few months I’ve purchased two reprints of historical photos (from 20×200.com) A colorized photo of Paris during the 1890 World’s Fair and an early motion-photography series of an elephant walking. They both presented some framing challenges in that neither fit standard frame/matte size.

Let’s start with the Paris print. I found a frame that I loved at West Elm this weekend. I thought the neutral tones would look great with the old-timey sepia tones of the photo. But when I placed it under the matte, I saw this:

Big strips of white on the top and bottom.

At first I was really bummed. I love this frame and picture together, but I couldn’t see how it could work without a new matte. Then I realized I could just take a craft knife to a sheet of nice paper and make a little window. So I searched through my paper collection and found a sheet of creamy watercolor paper. I used a light pencil to trace the inner edge of the matte onto the paper, then I measure just far enough in on each side to cover the white (I had to come in on the non-white sides too, so it would look even). Then I used the craft knife and a straight edge to cut out the inner rectangle. I’ll admit—it took me a few tries to get the corners perfect and all the lines straight, but look at the final result:

I had a similar issue with the elephant print—we found the perfect frame last time Mary visited me. It was just the right proportion to fit the image, but we couldn’t find a matte to match. So I had a custom matte cut at Michaels. We did have a little mishap with the first matte—it was even around the paper, not the image—but Michaels redid it for free, which was great! Here it is with the standard frame and custom matte:

Perfect fit!

Now my only dilemma is where to put them. Right now I just have them propped against the walls in different rooms, which works fine for the time being.

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One thought on “Framing artwork

  1. Pingback: A Better Bathroom: Let’s Make some Decisions! | homemade•handmade

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