Simple Framing

I’m going to share something a little different this week. As an artist, you’d think my walls would be loaded with my artwork but in fact, I prefer to enjoy other artists’ work in my living space. I recently purchased two lovely seascape paintings from artist Cathy Frisiello at her Etsy shop TheEscapeArtist ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheEscapeArtist ). They were going in a room that has a beachy feel and I wanted very simple frames that felt like driftwood. I looked all over and couldn’t find what I wanted at a reasonable cost–so I decided to make them myself.

Now while I’m arty I’m not particularly craftsy so the project couldn’t be too demanding of my meager skills. Nor did I want to invest a lot of time or money in it. What I did was make simple strip frames, and as I’m happy with the results, I thought I’d share the process with you. There are lots of articles on the net about this technique so if anything is unclear, just google strip framing and you’ll find a clarification.


Step 1

Start by measuring all sides of the art. You will want 2 pieces that are the exact width of the top and bottom (or the right and left sides depending on where it will hang and the paintings orientation) Then you want two sides that are the height of the painting plus the thickness of the lattice strip. So for my paintings which were 12″ x 12″. I needed two 12″ wide pieces and two 12 1/4″ ones.

Step 2

Look for some wood strip lattice at a lumber or home improvement store. I used a 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ on a 1/2″ deep canvas. This is usually in pine or poplar although you can find nicer woods also. You will need enough to equal the total inches of all the sides of the painting (so for a 12″ x 12″ you need 4 x 12 plus you need additional for some overlaps and also mess ups. (and I did mess up a little by under calculating the overlap).

slats2Step 3

If you are going to be painting your wood–paint it BEFORE you cut anything. It’s a lot easier and minimizes how much touch up you need. I’ve done this technique painting it solid black as well as the driftwood effect I did here. You could also stain and polyurethane it.

paintTo do the driftwood/barnwood look here. I used my regular acrylic paints. Starting with titanium white and carbon black, I mixed a pile of dark warm gray. Using water to dilute it, I brushed it on to the front and sides of all my lath. I wanted it to feel uneven and to still see the wood grain through it so i varied how much water I used. I also used an old bristle brush. After the first coat dried I went back in and selectively layered some more gray on to get some areas more opaque. Then on a third pass I scrubbed white paint on, sometimes opaque, sometimes I used a rag and some water to dilute it. All the paint sunk into the wood creating a rustic aged effect that was what i wanted.

Note: if you don’t happen to have acrylic paint around, the sample sizes at a home improvement store from the paint department are great for this.

Step 4

OK this is where it can get tricky. We used a mitre box and handsaw to cut the wood to the lengths we needed. Actually my husband did. I just stood back and gave “constructive” advice. Because we don’t really have a place to correctly anchor the miter box, it was sliding all over, so our cuts were pretty ragged. And if I didn’t have a mitre box around, (and my husband) I suspect I would have gotten the wood cut to size at Home Depot and painted it afterwards since painting is easier for me than cutting. Because of the ragged cuts I then sanded the cut edges.

Step 5

Using brads that are about an inch or so long, nail the strips onto the outside edge of the frame starting with your two shorter pieces. You want the front of the lattice to be flush with the front of your painting. Then nail the two longer pieces to the sides so they overlap the other lattice strip. You can then touch up the nail heads with paint if you want.

Step 6

Attach your hanging hardware to the back of the canvas NOT the frame. I used little screw in eye hooks and picture wire.

and here’s the result–I spent about $11 and ended up with two paintings that were just what I wanted to complete my beach look.


painting2 painting1

Thank you Cathy Frisiello at TheEscapeArtist for your beautiful artwork.