Fancy Frame

IMG_2407As a child, I enjoyed arts and crafts with my mom. And now my daughter and I spend a good deal of time doing the same. I received my bachelors in fine art (ceramic art emphasis) from Truman State University. I hope someday to have the space and time to work with clay, but for now I enjoy working in other mediums. Currently I am delving into graphic design and Eden is exploring painting. She has her own easel (Thanks Uncle Darrin and Aunt Liz!) and paints and knows she can use these whenever she wants – with only one rule: she cleans up after herself. It has been so much fun watching her develop her skills over the past few months. We have even transitioned from washable paint to “be careful paint” as she calls it.


Today I created a “Fancy Frame” for her to display her masterpieces in. The best part is the clip on the back that makes it easy for Eden to change out by herself when something new is created.

Using items easily found around the house I was able to create this frame in about an hour including drying time for the paint.

I started by drawing out my design on a cardboard box in our recycle pile. I used a sheet of construction paper to know what size the center section would be. I tried to not focus on the details as they were going to be painted over and they were only used to give a guide for cutting out. I then used an exacto knife to cut out around the outside edge of the detail and to remove the center of the frame.

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I used a mix of Tempera blue paint and acrylic Gesso to help give a nice coverage and look a little less like cardboard. Notice the recycled plastic cup used to mix the paint. I didn’t mix the paint thoroughly so there was a few streaks of white but in the end I like the effect this had. I am thinking I might make more of these one day when Eden is home.  I think she would enjoy painting and decorating the frame just as much as she does making the art work to go inside.

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After the paint dried I redrew my design in pencil and then went over it with black marker. I tried using a Sharpie first but found that it wanted to bleed a little and didn’t drawn smoothly over the paint. The black marker didn’t leave very dark lines and have noted that the base color for the frame needs to be light so that the black design lines will show up. As you can see I left the pencil lines, they could have been erased but I thought they added to the effect and from a distance you don’t even see them.


I taped an alligator clip on the back using packing tape. The exposed loop of the clip is what I used to hang over the nail in the wall. Between the clip and the fact that the frame is made of cardboard it all bows a good deal but after messing around trying to get it flat decided I accurately really liked it bowed.

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On our drive home from preschool today I told Eden I had made her a little surprise during the day. She seemed so excited in the van but once she saw it she honestly didn’t care. I even had her create art to put in it and asked her did she like the idea of being able to frame it – NO. Well, in the end I like the frame and think it looks really cute and maybe someday she will like it too.


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