Saturday, September 5, 2009

paper mosaic frame tutorial

How about a craft tutorial? I've posted recipes (see sidebar for links to them if you wish), but never a craft tutorial. Here goes!

I saw something like this paper mosaic frame somewhere on the internet. It looked easy enough so I decided to try it for myself. I had all the craft supplies for this one on hand. See there are benefits to being a pack rat! Lucky you, I took pictures.

This project will take a while to finish ~ not because it's hard, but because it is important that each step dry well before moving on to the next.



You will need a wood frame. Craft stores like Michael's and Joann's sell these in the wood section. They are very reasonably priced. They come in a few different sizes and shapes.

Check the wood for smoothness. Normally, I sand every wood item I paint, but this one was suprisingly smooth from the start.

Paint your wood a base color - something simple like a chocolatey brown, black, or some kind of cream. Don't forget to paint the back. I am a big believer in completely finishing your projects, so that means you finish the back too with a nice coat of paint. You may need two coats.


While the paint is drying, select your scrapbook papers. You might want to do this before you decide on your paint color. I just knew I wanted to stick with something that went well on brown. I picked 6 different papers. You can pick as many or as few as you like. This is a nice way to use up some scraps. You can also use wrapping paper for this project. Maybe even old greeting cards? Thicker paper will require more effort later on.


When you paint on wood it raises the grain. (But you already knew that!) To smooth down the surface, I use this pink sander thing. I got it years ago when I was taking painting classes. I have never been able to find another one since. It is one of my favorite tools. I will hurt the person who ruins it. Don't have one of these perfect pink sander thingys? That's ok because a brown paper lunch sack does the same thing. Rub lightly. You will see kind of a white film and think you've just messed up your project. Don't worry, you haven't. Feel it. Smooth, right?


I cut my paper into pieces that were 1 inch square, 2 inches square, and 1 inch by 2 inch pieces.


Lay out the pieces on the frame in a manner that is pleasing to you. All the pieces need to come to the edge or overlap the edge because we are not having a border on this one. Fiddle around with it until you find what you like.



Grab our buddy, Mod. Mod Podge that is. You will also need a sponge brush. I always pour some out on a plate to use.


In small sections, remove the pieces, slather the wood with mod podge & replace the pieces. Make sure all of the edges are pressed down and any bubbles are smoothed out. If you are using a thicker scrapbook paper or recycled greeting cards, you will need to make sure the application of mod podge is generous. You may also need to hold the paper in place for a moment before moving on.

Here's where the time factor starts coming in. This needs to dry well before moving on. Overnight is best.


Time to take care of those overlapping edges.


Use a craft knife to cut along the edge of the frame. If you knick the frame a little when doing this, don't worry because we are going to rough it up a little later anyway.


No more overlaps.


Now we will rough up this baby like we are the playground bully. I like to use this sanding sponge. You can find it at a craft store ~ I think. You can also just use a regular piece of sandpaper ~ maybe 180 or 220 grit.

Sand at a 45 degree angle on the edges of the frame. Don't forget the edges of the picture hole. This gives it an aged and a little shabby appearance. Plus, it helps smooth out any imperfections that may have occurred while cutting the with craft knife.

I also sanded flat across the whole front of the frame to give the rest of the pieces of paper some age too. Go lightly at first, you can always do more if you want more.


If a corner comes up a little while sanding, don't fret. We will fix that later with more mod podge.


You can see here how I sanded the inside pieces as well.


With a brown (or black if that's what matches) ink pad, go along the edges to antique the frame. Hold the pad at a 45 degree angle again. This is the same as the inking technique used in scrapbooking. Go as minimal or heavy as you want. If you are brave, you can lightly swipe it across the middle a little as well. I was not so brave on this project.

I used StazOn because it is a permanent pad that is not supposed to smear. But of course, smearing on an *aged* project like this won't be the end of the world. You will need to let this dry for a little bit, but overnight is not necessary. About an hour.

When your ink is dry, give the frame a top coat of mod podge. If part of your paper started lifting during sanding like mine did, be sure to get plenty of mod podge in that area and press it down again. Let that dry overnight before applying a second coat. Let that dry overnight and apply a sealer of some kind to the front and the back. I have used brush on sealers and spray sealers. You choose what is best for you.


So go ahead and make yourself a cute little frame. If you don't have a picture yet, just use another piece of scrapbook paper glued to the cardboard insert.

If you don't want to make your own frame, you can buy this one of course.


This particular frame style sits on a table with this handy dandy dowel for support. If you want to hang it on the wall, just pull the dowel out, turn upside down, and use the hole to hang on your nail.

If you make your own, I'd love to see it!

4 comments:

carpoolqueen said...

Wow - look how crafty you are! And I love the design. I'm going to just enjoy yours instead of making my own because I'm a failed scrapbooker and I gave away all my papers.

Amber said...

I love that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So crafty.

May have to try that. Those look like good Christmas presents to me!!!

Nicole @ BugaBoos said...

So cute! I love it! These frames are so much to make and they are a dollar in my craft stores, you can't beat that! Yours looks Awesome! I love how it looks tiled! Beautiful Job!

heidi said...

That's super cute! I may have to take a stab at it sometime! Thanks for sharing!