27 September 2007

A Frame Up

Here's something I just did that's sort of house related. It will go IN my house on my wall so I guess it counts.

Here is the picture frame that my family has had since the 1960's. Someone had painted it with gold paint and it surrounded a paint by number that my Dad did. It fell to me, and not being exactly my taste (the picture) they were separated.

I recently acquired a wonderful photograph and decided this was the perfect frame for it. I started stripping the frame.

It was a very sunny day and you can't really see it, but there is an inner band of plaster interlocking circles, a band of white oak, another band of plaster with leaves, and a band of red oak. It's a beautiful frame.

It's also missing some large chunks of the plaster leaves. The worst spot is in the first picture. After I got the paint off the oak I started restoring the plaster. First I tried modeling the missing pieces with clay, but that didn't work, so back to the internet. I found this mold-making stuff and sent for it.

This stuff is wonderful! You get equal pieces from each jar and squeeze them quickly together and press them on whatever you want to make a mold of. It doesn't stick to it and turns into a rubbery mold that can be peeled off. I put it over a good section of the leaves and pressed it well into the carving and let it dry.

That's the mold on the right. Then I pressed some Paper Clay into the void of the missing plaster and lined up the mold and pressed it into the clay. It worked great! You can see a little of the pattern in the picture above. Sorry for the bad pictures. I can take close ups with this camera but the view finder doesn't show what I'm actually snapping.

Here's the mold and the impression.

This is the clay I used. It air drys and is easy to use and not sticky.
I went around the frame and repaired some other small missing chunks and let it dry. Then I painted it with Old Gold acrylic paint and put semi-gloss on the oak.
The next part was the hardest. I needed a specially cut mat so didn't want to attempt it myself. I had to go to three places before I found a decent price and a store that was open on Friday night at 8:00. I wanted a deep red or green because of the yellow tones of the photograph and the frame, but they didn't have the color I wanted in their custom cut inventory, so I chose the same color in a really wild plush that looks like the old Victorian photo albums, which is very cool, though not what I thought would have been used to mat a photo in the 1870's. I am really pleased with the way it turned out though it cost almost $45!

Can you tell which side of the frame had the repair?

Right here!

I wish I knew who these people were. That standing woman looks so familiar. The woman I bought it from (for $2!) is from around Lansing, Michigan and collects Victorian photographs. I will try to get a better picture later.
Isn't that a great picture? I have never seen such a large one of a group before from that era.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, Marilyn, you really 'done' good with that frame. I knew I was keeping it for a good cause when I dug it out of the attic at the farm those many years ago. By the way, that was in the '50s, not the '60s. I was painting an upstairs bedroom for your Grandma and Grandpa when I discovered it.
It's too bad you didn't have a picture of family to put in it. But it does look lovely.