By General Crafts Contributor Michelle
With the aid of your inkjet printer and some Mod Podge, create beautifully distressed wooden frames to display all of your summer vacation and back-to-school photos.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Unfinished wooden picture frame.
- Inkjet printed images on plain paper. The black and white images I used came from The Graphics Fairy. **IMPORTANT: Remember that your graphics will transfer the opposite direction that you print them. Any text you use needs to be printed backward, as a mirror image, in order to transfer so you can read it forward.**
- Mod Podge.
- Acrylic craft paints of various colors (I used blue, white, brown and gold).
- Decorative plastic stencils. (Mine are a Baroque style scrollwork pattern.)
- Paint brushes.
Your first step will be to decide what color you want your frame to be and to paint it.
While your base color is still a bit wet, take some darker paint (I used brown) that you have thinned out with some water, and paint around the inner and outer edges of the frame to give it a shaded and aged look. You can add more paint, or use a paper towel to wipe off in areas, in order to achieve a weathered looking finish. Don’t worry about being too neat, or trying to make it look too even, we want our final product to have some character.
While your paint dries, cut your inkjet printed images out, leaving between 1/8-1/16″ border around them. I chose black and white engraving images for my frame, but colored images will transfer as well. Lay your images out on your dry frame and decide where you want to place them. Remember, you’ll be laying them facedown to transfer them, so position them accordingly.
Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over your first image, trying to cover it with as few brushstrokes as possible. The ink may run a little, but it won’t show in the end. Quickly lay the image, Modge Podge side down onto your frame, and smooth it down with your fingers. Really rub the paper onto the frame, pressing down firmly and making sure it is solidly stuck all over with no wrinkles. Repeat the process until all of your images are stuck onto the frame. Let them dry for an hour or more.
When the images are dry, use a clean paintbrush to brush the paper with just enough water so your image shows through from the back. Carefully begin to rub the paper until you feel it start to pull away, add a little more water as needed. Work slowly and rub the paper away, rolling it off as it releases, exposing your image. Keep rubbing, and re-wetting the image, until you have removed all of the paper and are left with your transferred image. The more you rub, the more paper you’ll remove. Be careful not to rub so much, or so hard, that you tear your transfer. I chose to leave some paper showing through my images on this project because I like the white contrast. If you are new to inkjet transferring, I suggest playing around with it on a scrap of wood until you get a feel for it and are comfortable, instead of just jumping right into this project. It will save a lot of frustration, and scraping stuff off of picture frames. It’s not hard, it’s just one of those things that’s easier to learn by doing.
After transferring all of your images, go back with your original background color (thinned down with a little water helps), and paint around your images to remove some of the white areas around the edges, and in the interiors.
When that’s dry, take a very small brush with black acrylic and paint over some of the inked lines to give the images a more hand-painted look.
Next, using your stencils and an accent color (I suggest either a metallic or white, I used gold), stencil a design(s) onto a blank area on your frame. It doesn’t have to fit perfectly, you don’t have to use the whole stencil. I placed my large stencil on a narrow area and only used the very middle of it. Try using just the end of a vine design or the edge of a scroll work, and run the image off of the edge for visual interest.
Next, using your accent color of choice and a small brush, add lines, dots, swirls, arrows, and whatever other fancy flourishes you can think of, to go around the edges of the frame, to fill in between images, and add some interest in plain areas.
I used gold paint to outline the inner and outer edges, and then highlighted different areas of some of my transferred images as well, to add some more sparkle. Keep adding little details here and there until you are happy with your frame. After that, all that’s left to do is to print out that favorite vacation photo, pop it inside, and show off your beautiful new frame!
Make one frame, or get super crafty and make a whole display. Either way, happy crafting!