Monday, September 19, 2016

DIY: Build an amazing (custom size) vintage frame in 4 steps

I've spent months looking for the perfect vintage frame for an incredible lithograph that was gifted to me by a very loving girl I met in a trip, it's interesting because that travel triggered a whole bunch of changes in my life which make it even more special so I couldn't just settle with any old frame I could find, in addition to the fact that the size of he lithograph was not particularly common.

I was resigned to the fact that I'd need to order a customized frame that hopefully would come close to the idea that I had in my head but luckily some days ago I joined my boyfriend in one of his "excursions" to buy wood supplies and found a very interesting molding that kept me thinking for some days until I realized that I should definitely build my own frame and that's how this tutorial was born (and in case you are wondering it was named after my friend)

DIY Boutaina's Vintage Frame

Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Time required: A couple of afternoons -if you follow all the steps (including the optional ones)
Supplies needed:

  1. A strip of wood molding (I got mine for less than $10 USD)
  2. Anything you have to cut wood (a hand sew)
  3. Measuring tape
  4. A protractor or anything you have to measure angles
  5. Pencil
  6. Glue
  7. Clamps (not pictured)
  8. Painter tape (not pictured)
  9. (Optional) Sand paper
  10. (Optional) Picture frame hanger
  11. (Optional) Paint and a brush

Let's do this:

Step #1: Take measures & mark the wood

Before we start I just wanted to share an image of the detail in the molding I found, there were several designs to choose but this one was my favorite of all: 

So let's start by measuring the image we want to frame, remember that we'll measure the area that will be visible in our fame and not the extremes, for my frame I needed two 25 Cm's and two 35 Cm's wood strips.

Once that we have those values we'll start marking the wood just make sure to leave some space before the initial and final mark. (I strongly recommend to mark the back of the molding)

I marked my 25 Cm's and placed the protractor on the end mark doing a 45° angle from the base

I traced a line from the end mark following the ruler direction.

You'll do the same for the initial mark, and you'll get something like shown in the image below, this step must be repeated for the 3 other sides of the frame.

Step #2: Cut it

Now that you have all your wood marked let's use the hand sew to cut it, you just need to follow the lines traced in the previous step:

Once  you cut all, put them together as if you were building the frame and make sure that all the corners form 90° angles, if needed adjust the edges until it's good to go.

Step #3: Glue glue glue

Let's put this together by pouring some glue on the edges of the 4 wood strips:

Let it dry for a minute:

And now put them together, you might have some glue coming out of the junctures, clean it before it dries.

When all the corners are ready let it dry for a couple of minutes and then place the clamps and let them there for at least 12 hours.

Step #4: Add the vintage vibe (optional)

By this time your frame will be ready, but if you want to add the vintage mood that I put in mine just keep reading:

Start by painting your frame, I applied two coats of white paint.

As you recall, my wood strip had a design engraved, and when I painted the wood strips the engraved was partially covered, so I used a pin to remove the paint from that area, a needle can do the trick too.

To give it an old mood I used the sand paper, just some touches here and there:

Once done I placed the lithograph on the back and secured it with the painter tape.
(if you want it for a wall just add a picture hanger on the back)

And voilรก, your custom sized-vintage frame is ready!

I probably took waay to many pictures but just wanted it to be easy to follow, the process is not difficult at all and it's great that now you'll be able to frame anything by a fraction of the market price and with a unique design.

Hope you liked today's project and hopefully you'll feel motivated to create your own, or at least, order your customized frames for all that wall art that has been waiting to be exposed. have a good week and we'll catch up next week!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

DIY: The easiest way to copy your favorite masterpiece (even if it's the mona lisa)

Have you ever seen a piece of art thinking "I'd love to have that hanging on my living room"?  Even something like La Gioconda or a paint from Van Gogh, the idea behind this post is that if you can draw a simple line you are perfectly capable to replicate ANY art piece that you love, but let me tell you first a story about the inspiration for this post.

Some weeks ago I was talking with one of my dearest friends, she's about to open a coffee shop/bakery and told me that she has a wall that she wants to use as a small art gallery, she even showed me some images in her cellphone of the kind of art she wanted, and out of nowhere (I still can't figure out why with my current -tight- schedule) I told her that I would paint one of those for her.
You probably are familiar with those situations where you and your big mouth promise things that you don't even know if you are capable of doing, but somehow you got that impulse to say: I can and I will.

I didn't know if I could but I had already gave my word so now I needed to find a way to get that art piece done, I had not even looked on detail the image, I later realized that it was very reachable, except for some sort of lace tablecloth with so much detail that promised to be a nightmare, that is how I started thinking in a way to simplify the task, 

Just one last though: being a designer myself I must say that this "copy" topic is something that needs special attention, I'm a truly believer that we must be very careful when replicating someonelse's work, ALWAYS refering to the source of our "inspiration", I'm probably exagerating a bit here but now that I'm working in a creative business copyright has become a very serious thing.

The masterpiece that I promised to re-create is this:

Please notice the lace detail mentioned before :O

I looked for the source of the illustration but the best result I got was this link, where they mention a shop that sells cards with prints of this and other images, sadly, the store link is broken.

DIY: the easiest way to copy your favorite masterpiece

Difficulty: I would love to say "easy" but that will depend on the source image that you select.
Time required: Again, that depends on your selected project, it took me a couple of sessions to get mine done.
Supplies needed:

  1. The biggest window you can find near you!
  2. A grey-scale print of the image you want to replicate in the size you prefer (I printed mine in A4 size)
  3. A pencil
  4. Watercolor paints
  5. Watercolor paper
  6. Brushes
  7. A glass with water

Let's do this:

Step #1: Copy the image in your paper

Put the print below your watercolor paper then place them over the window so it creates a "light-box" effect. This will help you visualize the print so you can start drawing over your paper.

Once you are done you'll have something as shown below:

Left: original printed image/ Right: copied draft

Step #2: Color your image

It's time to turn this grey draft to a real masterpiece by adding color!

As this is the part where you put your magic take some time to select the type of paint you want to use, in my case based on the image that my friend selected there was no other option but to use watercolors, however, if you are not familiar with it or you are not a fan you can use color pencils, pastel colors or acrylic paint.

Keep the original image close to guide you during the coloring phase, I kept a copy of the image in my cellphone so I could easily confirm the colors used.

Once you finish coloring you'll be done! WOW, only 2 steps (ok, it's a little more complex than that, but you got the idea)

You can see below mine finished next to the original illustration, now I can stop hidding from my friend who has asked me about her promised piece of art a couple of times. (Oh and in case you are wondering I drew the lace detail with a fine sharpie to keep the detailed design, once the sharpie was dried I erased the pencil lines, not bad right?)

The only doubt that I have now is if I should/can sign this paint, I usually always sign all my designs, but being this a "copy" I'm not really sure if I can put my name there, what do you think? Should I?

Anyway, I hope you liked this week's project and would love to hear that you are trying something, it doesn't have to be super complicated! Specially if you think that we are not that far from Christmas and nothing screams "true love" as gifting something made with those creative hands of you.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Travel: Losing a boat & other tragedies in the funniest day at Zirahuen

When I was younger I remember that I loved visiting Patzcuaro's lake, it wasn't far from my hometown and it never failed to make me feel as if I was living a great adventure just by jumping on a boat to visit its islands, I though that it couldn't get any better, until I went to Zirahuen.

There is a legend that says that when Spaniards arrived in this region one of the conquistadors fell in love with Erendira, who was King Tanganxoan's daughter, the Spaniard kidnapped her and kept her captive in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, she was so sad that kept crying for so long that a river was formed with all of her tears, that is how this lake was formed.

The lake was considered such a magnificent beauty that was called "Zirahuen" which means "God's mirror" in the local language.

The interesting thing is that from the first time I was there I started feeling a strong conecction with this place, I remember that just a couple of years ago I was there celebrating the wedding of one of my closest friends, it was a very important moment for him and I was glad to be part of that, but being there also helped me getting the clarity I needed to solve some things that would eventually made my life better, somehow I feel as if only magical things can happen when I'm at Zirahuen.

Moving further away from this region some years ago has made me treasure even more the time that I'm able to spent there, that is why a couple of weeks ago that I was visiting my hometown I didn't hesitate in convincing a couple of friends to join me in a journey that would supposedly end with us kayaking under the sun.

We had the perfect plan, but there were so many things going badly that we ended up god knows where, waiting for a boat to come rescue us, already late, hungry, sweaty and just messy with no sun near us.

I know that this sounds like a horror movie but I must say that even with all the challenges that we encountered I can only remember this day as the one where the three of us had an amazing adventure, I think that this is one of those moments when you need to  apply the "if life gives you lemons.." attitude.

We could have focused on the things that went wrong but instead we decided that there were far more positive things to be greatful for: we saw the most beautiful landscapes, enjoyed the journey on the boats, felt the rain caressing  our faces, we laughed until tears of happiness came out of our eyes and simply shared the joy to be there, together, in that magical place that never fails to bring me back to my childhood days when I though that this was the most beautiful lake in the world, and you know what, so many years had passed and I probably still feel the same way about it.

Hope you liked the pictures, it was not easy to select just a few from all the amazing images that we got there but I don't think that we had enough time to see 200 takes of the lake hahaha

Thanks for virtually visiting it with us!