How to: Add a Custom Touch to Framed Pictures

Remember how cheap I am about artwork?  Well, I have a few quick, easy and cheap ideas to spruce up your frames.

Idea number 1:  Spraypaint the frames.  

First, remove the glass, mat, photo, and back.  Wipe the frame free of dust.  Then lay down newspaper in a well ventilated area.  Spray the frames, keeping the can about 8 to 12 inches away to avoid excess paint drops.  Allow adequate dry time.  Pop the photo back in, hang and enjoy!

Idea number 2:  Double mat your photos.

First, buy or cut the outer mat to the frame dimensions.  Cut the opening 1 inch larger than your photo.  Then, buy or cut another mat with the inner dimensions slightly smaller than your photo.  The outer dimensions should extend at least 1 inch beyond your outer mat’s frame to make sure coverage of the edges. 

You can choose to use the same color for both mats OR add more focus on the photo by using a color that coordinates with your photo. 

To make this look, I cut my white outer mat to fit my 16 inch by 20 inch frame.  Then I cut a 5 inch by 7 inch opening which will accommodate my 4 inch by 6 inch photo.  Then I cut another white mat 7 inches tall by 9 inches wide with a 3.75 inch by 5.75 inch opening.  I painted the inner mat blue, leaving the depth white.  After the paint dried, I taped my photo in place and then centered my small mat on the large mat.  Place the large mat in your frame and hang!

Idea number 3:  Draw a border on your mat.

To get this look, use a gel pen or marker in any color (I used a silver metallic gel pen on a black mat).  Using a pencil, mark your edges at two or more points to make straight lines.  Once you’ve marked all sides (with as many borders you’d like), line a ruler to your edge and make your lines.  Do this several times to make a thicker band of color. 

Here is a detail shot:

Idea number 4:  Frame 3 dimensional objects in shadow boxes. 

Simply glue or tape your items in place.  I am a fan of foam adhesive tape to get your item off the page.

So, there you have it.  Four quick and easy ways to add interest to your art.


2 thoughts on “How to: Add a Custom Touch to Framed Pictures

  1. Wow Amanda – I’ve seen shadow boxes and double matting before (both fabulous ideas) but never seen the drawn on border – very effective I love it! 🙂

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