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Creating Some Fall Fun for My Walls (Part 1)

(well, except for the part where I don't yet *have* walls. Details, pfft!)

I've really fallen (ha!) hard for making some lovely Autumn wall decor. Seeing all the other wonderful fall designs online got those creative juices flowing and though it was hard at first - what I REALLY want to create and what I'm capable of creating are still very different things - I've come up with some simple fall designs that I really love & also led me down the path of realizing something else I need to be doing...which I'll get into in another post.

I've spent a lot of the past week (when not working on my workshop, which gets a little more completed most days) cutting wooden coffee stirrers to make picture frames for my new fall art. I wanted to make frames in a variety of sizes & also use different edging techniques, so some have the traditional 45 degree angle cuts at the ends and some I left squared off to do a kind of wrap-around effect.

Annoyingly, my multi angle miter cutter that I use to cut the wood has a fairly wide gap around the blades which is making cutting the smallest bits properly really hard. There's not enough "ledge" to steady the wood on so that it stays put when I make a cut. So I'm probably going to go looking for a new cutter at some point in the near future, something that has a ledge that goes much closer to the blade.

But in the meantime, I got my frames constructed & they look even enough that I feel pretty satisfied with the all over look of them. These are pretty good for 1:12 scale pictures, which is what I'm mostly working on now. Eventually I would love to make 1:24 scale pieces too, but that would take smaller wood than I have & definitely a cutter with a ledge that ends closer to the blade. Or a better system for cutting - something to think about another time!

I painted the frames in mostly bright autumn colors to compliment my simple artwork. I'm not sure if there's a right way of doing it; I put thin coats of acrylic paint on the bare wood with no prep work (the stirrers were smooth). All of them took at least four coats. The yellow & white took four to look really solid & smooth. I've found dampening & then blotting the brush first before dipping it into the paint makes for a smoother finish.

Then it was time to place the artwork! I've found that the best way to make the artwork look good is to cut the outermost layer (which may be the image itself, or the framing) to be about between 3/16" & 1/8" narrower than the outer perimeter of the frame. If I'm going to mat the image, then that's the size I cut out the outer of the mat. Once I cut out the inner hole, whatever the most common color of the print is, I pull out a sharpie and lightly & carefully line the cute edges of the inner hole so that there's not a white edge visible.

The inner artwork is cut to be about 1/8"-3/16" wider than the hole on each side. That gives me enough space to work with around the glue, but keeping the shape smaller makes it overall easier to handle & line up for me. Once those are cut out I piece them together using small dots of glue, much like I will do when I place the mat/artwork into the frame, so I'll get into that below. The artwork sits on the work surface & I carefully angle the mat until it looks level & evenly placed around the art.

That done, it's time to attached the artwork to the frame. Check back in to Part 2 to see the art & frames brought together!


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