Picture Framing: An Introduction

A while ago, I happened across Nubby Twiglet’s blog post on a framing adventure that turned deadly…well…to her pocketbook mainly. Anyway, she was able to leave the store with a better price on her framed artwork than the custom order she had made, but still, it got me to start thinking about my time as a custom framer.  How many times have I helped a customer totally clueless on the framing process; how many times have I convinced a customer that their print was something that could only be custom framed; how many times have I been told that framing is too complicated that the customer only wants professionals to do their work.

Well, nothing against the professionals, they are my compadres, but picture framing is not that complicated of a science, in fact it’s just repetition with measuring and numbers. IN fact, the most important thing you need to know about framing is how to do basic math!!   I decided that since I am no longer a custom framer, I should share some tips and tricks with the world regarding framing and how you can frame yourself, it just takes practice and patience.  I’m starting a series of projects that can show the regular Joe how to frame without the scary numbers.  IN FACT, I’ll post my math so that everyone can follow along.

Everyone, meet…The Frame!

I’m going to start this blog post off with an introduction with a regular frame.  I purchased this frame from Hobby Lobby in their 66% Clearance Custom Frame section of the spring sales area.  If you get to Hobby Lobby on time, you can find some really good deals with clearance custom frames, this little guy was about $10.  The following will be a basic introduction to a frame to better familiarise yourself with the different terminology used when we start some framing projects later in the course.  Also, if you go off to Hobby Lobby to buy this specific frame, sorry, this frame has been discontinued for several years.

Front and Back

Now, when I start describing how to put a frame together, I will be referring to different sides of the frame, those sides will refer to which end of the frame you are looking at, so I’ll start with the easiest to remember: FRONT and BACK.

The FRONT side of the frame is usually the side with the frame design or panelling on it.  It is the side that you will see when it is hanging on the wall and for most of the framing process, you will NEVER see this side. In the example above, the FRONT is the shiny black veneer.  The side you will see during the framing process is the BACK side of the frame, this is either the plain side or, in this example, the unfinished side of the frame.  Most of the time, you can tell whether or not a frame is custom-made is by looking at the back to see if it is unfinished.  An unfinished back is a good indicator that the frame is custom made.  Also (we’ll get to this later) when you measure out your new frame, and it comes back with 1/2″ and 3/8″ lengths and widths, that is another indicator that the frame is custom.  Also, what you can see from the back side of the frame is the small 1/4″ lip that will prevent your artwork from falling out the front of the frame.  I will explain the purpose of the lip in more detail later in this post.

Portrait and Landscape

Portrait and Landscape are two terms that seem to bring up a lot of questions when talking about a framing.  I used to have customers stare at me stupid when I asked if their artwork is either Portrait or Landscape.  In actuality, these are two terms that not only refer to painting styles, but also to frame orientation.  PORTRAIT refers to the position where the two longest sides of the frame are vertically parallel (see picture); the frame looks as if it is standing up.  You will see this orientation in lots of Portrait photography (Senior Photos, Family Photos, etc.).  LANDSCAPE refers to the position where the two longest sides are horizontally parallel (see picture); the frame looks as if it is lying down.  This will be used in large family portraits where the extended family is lined up together in one long line. It is important to know which way your frame is oriented, since this will make your hanging process much easier, and in more advanced framing, will help you attach and orient different items to the mat board.

Height and Width

Now that we have established the orientation for Portrait and Landscape, I need to make sure that everyone knows that width and height are different for portrait and landscape and while it may seem difficult now, it will get easier later when you start to cut your own mats. Now for a Portrait frame (marked P) the HEIGHT is the long part of the frame, while the WIDTH of the frame is the shortest part of the frame (see Picture).  Now for a Landscape frame (marked L) the HEIGHT is the shortest part of the frame, while the WIDTH is the longest part of the frame.

The Sides

Now most of the information to follow will only be important when it comes to applying the hangers and such.  So, just use it as reference for when I discuss anything about the TOP, BOTTOM and SIDES.  Remember, the top is always at the top of the frame that will be facing the ceiling, the bottom will be facing the floor, and the sides will be facing the walls.

How to Measure

Measuring a frame can be fairly intimidating, especially when you don’t know what to look for when measuring.  Now if you’re purchasing a clearance frame, some Hobby Lobbies tend to have the sizes written (in inches) on the frame itself, BUT if you’re unlucky enough to encounter a frame that has no posted sizes, these tips will help you determine what size the frame is.  Now, most custom frames are not even numbers, you will encounter numbers such as 20 3/8″ or 15 1/4″.  Be prepared for these crazy numbers, the frame I’ve been using is measured 10 5/8″ by 13 3/8″.

Now, when you measure a frame, there are several things you need to know: You can only measure the frame from the back (see diagram); You can only measure the frame from the outside lip (enlarge diagram in black), not the inside lip (enlarge diagram in white); The lip is about a 1/4″ in length and it is used to hold in your frame’s insides, this prevents your glass from falling out of the front.


For a better look, click the picture to enlarge it.  DEPTH is basically how deep the frame will go back from the lip to the very back of the frame.  In the example, the frame is 5/8″ deep.  Now DEPTH is important depending on what you want to frame.  If you want to frame a 3-D object (like a Jersey, a hat, insects, a bronze bootie, a taxidermy bird, etc.) you will need a larger depth than what I have shown here.  I have a Cottonwood Borer inside a 3″ frame that I top matted and shadow-boxed in to fit is giant horns.  Lost ya? It’ll make sense later, I’ll be posting other options on what you can do with a framing later on.

That’s it for now people, the next post will be a small interactive lesson introduction to framing.  Also, you’ll get a great jewelry holder out of it as well.

DIY Oracle – Valentine’s Mailbox

Valentine’s Mailbox

My mother made these for her students for their Valentine’s Day cards and candy, and I thought they were so cute, that I thought it’d be a great thing to make to hold those special cards or cute photos you received throughout the year!  I’m not a Valentine’s Day supporter, after experiencing the same holiday in October dubbed “Sweetest Day,” I have sort of become a Scrooge at Valentine’s.  I feel that everyday should be a Valentine’s Day, why should ONE day (or two depending where you are) determine how much you love someone or how much someone loves you.  My boyfriend and I do sweet things to each other everyday and, if you’re like us, accumulate a ton of sweet things from your sweetie, so this cute little mail box is for you!  She got this off the internet, but my subsequent searches showed little in the way of finding the person who thought this up.  If you know who did this, please let me know so I can properly credit.

Also, check out Gala Darling’s post on Valentine’s Love, see why I find her so Inspirational!!!

Supplies: 2 Paper Plates, Ruler/Tape Measure, Yarn in “Love Colors,” Glue, Scissors, Paper or Foam Hearts, Markers, and Crayons. Not pictured but needed: hole puncher! Glitter optional.

  1. Take one paper plate (I used the Styrofoam kind) and using your tape measure, measure out the exact half of the plate (this was 4.5 inches).  Once you have your measurements, make a line and cut the paper plate in half (I used a box cutter to make a straighter edge).
  2. Carefully punch holes into the scalloped edge of the paper plate.  Make sure that they are somewhat in line with each other, because the 80’s styled puncher I used couldn’t fit the paper plate edge.
  3. Take your yarn and I measured two arm’s lengths wide, and fold the length of yarn in half and wrap the yarn through the punched holes.  I even tied the end in a bow for a cuter effect.  Continue until you get to the end, create a bow and cut the excess.  You can use the excess for the hanger.
  4. Decorate as you wish, I made a heart template from one of my paper hearts, and used glue (E6000 though it’s not very tacky for glitter).  I also took the paper hearts, outlined with markers and colored them with crayon and wrote messages in the hearts.  I then glued the hearts near my glitter heart.  Also, to define my somewhat crappy glitter heart, I took a pink paint pen and outlined the heart with my pen.

Once you’re done with all this, hang as you please in your area, I put it next to my jewelry counter near my bedroom.




PS. Wait till you see what these shiny pretty pieces are for!

Sorry for the delay…

I’m sorry I’ve been M.I.A. on the blog for a couple of weeks, it’s been hectic here in Oracle-land dealing with my sister’s wedding, school applications, and program and invitation designs.  Not only that, I’ve been teaching myself graphic design from some PSDtuts.com.  I’m also trying to wait for my Sub-check to come in for me to buy a new book for my Paranormal Library series.  I have one I’ve been reading, but it’s just way too much information in a small package that I already know, so its been agonizing, but a great read nonetheless.  Also, I may post a complementary review on one of the books I have already written about.

Anyway, to pass the time before I post the last of my images from my 30 Photography Challenge and A Paranormal Library, I am going to post some of the most inspiring things I have found over the internet with LINKS!!!

  • I’ve been frequenting A Beautiful Messfor quite some time now, and here are some very inspiring D.I.Y. projects and crafts I have discovered since I’ve been reading about the work from Elsie and her crew!
    • I love this wall art made from paint swatches!  Believe it or not, I have a bunch of these guys in a drawer in my room!!
    • I keep going back to this Record Cabinet.  I have some ideas to use this as an impromptu jewelry supply and mini sewing machine storage!
    • Elsie had a sewing class on her blog, great for me since I have a new sewing machine to try out!  If you’re a newbie like me, try this Simple Cotton Top!
    • If my hair would cooperate, I would so do this hair style!
  • Pugly Pixel is a great resource for Photoshop items, and I find her blog highly inspiring for my artwork and blog!
    • These Handmade Envelopes inspired me to create and write a blog post on my sister’s Save the Date cards!
    • You can learn how to make your own Blog Post Layout!
    • There are also some downloadable’s for free or for those who are part of her membership (with a fee).
  • Of course there’s NubbyTwiglet who posts design advice in links loved and such for those who love graphic design or shoes.

Check out this Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas commercial, every time it comes on, I start dancing!!!

Isn’t that song is amazing!?!  Then check out Parov Stelar’s website and watch this awesome video..

That is it for me, till next time!!!

The Lazy Person’s Guide Into Redoing Your Closet

If you’re anything like me, then you have a problem with procrastinating.  When it came to my closet, I had sat on the disastrous mess for years before I decided to do something about it, and if you’re like me, I had to break down my closet cleaning process into several easy steps.

Step 1: Recycle your clothes!!!

You always hear about how when you want to start a new project you need to organize your thoughts, your objects and the space you need to work with.  Well, the closet is no simple task.  When I tackled my closet, I knew that I had to reorganize everything in there or I’d be swamped with more problems later on.  My first and foremost object was to go through every piece of clothing in my closet and either:

A) Keep the clothes for future use
B) Store away those you like, but seasonally did not work (this step didn’t quite work for me since I live in Houston, but it did work for my concert T-Shirts)
C) Get rid of those that did fit by donating them or reselling them for cash
D) If it is no way salvageable and you don’t want anyone else looking at the ratty t-shirt from some long off concert then TRASH-IT!!!

Now if you’re like me and have emotional attachments to every single piece of clothing you’ve collected in the past, then this step is probably the hardest step of all.  See, I’m a concert junkie, and I’ve found that purchasing concert T-Shirts are a great way to keep memories alive in your mind, and

while I purchased them at different times of my life,

I’ve realized that wearing a far-off concert tee from the 1980’s that really doesn’t fit anymore, is more of a disgrace for the band and yourself.  While I love my concert T-Shirts, there are a few that I just can’t wear anymore, but I really don’t want to get rid of, well, I ended up storing the ones that were not as pretty as some, and for the rarest in my collection, I ended up framing it (Check the Dresden Dolls post from last week!!). What bothered me

more was the fact that I was getting rid of great staples that were so ratty, they were not to be used for human wear, and yet it hurt so horribly to get rid of these items because of the memories. But that is life and sometimes you just have to suck it up and get rid of it.

Now that you have these clothes you don’t want, and the best option is to donate the gently used clothing to places like The Salvation Army, The Goodwill, etc., and it will definitely bode well when tax time comes around, but in these times, it might be monetarily beneficial for you to resell your clothing at a resale shop.  Now here’s the thing, there are great stores like Buffalo Exchange, Plato’s Closet, and The Fashion Recycler, but these places are very very picky about what they buy into their stock, so be prepared for your clothing to be denied or rejected for use at these locations.  Still, whatever you can get is great!  There are always options out there for you, me specifically, I donated my clothing.

Step 2: Start Measuring! Make a Diagram! PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!

via http://www.flikr.com from Crashmaster007

Whether you’re just redoing your same old closet into something new, or you got a new closet set from Ikea, the best idea and favor to yourself would be to measure out the space you’re gonna need.  Because, sometimes you’re not going to have the amount of space needed and need to work something different.

It is best if you work with several sheets of paper, be it plain/lined/or graphing, but make sure you use pencil, and get as accurate as possible.  My background in custom picture framing gave me a sixth sense into measuring so this process wasn’t as time-consuming as it might be for some people, but it is a very necessary step.  Knowing how much space you have can be a step towards success or frustration!

Here are some easy steps to guide you with measuring:

  • When in doubt, just round to the nearest 1/8 to 1/4.  Those are easy round numbers to work with, and if you’re still frustrated get a ruler chart, they’ll help you determine if you should round-up or stay where you are!
  • If you can’t read it, then get a friend who can!  My boyfriend helped me get the higher up places cause I’m so short, but he was able to read the tape measure anyway!

While getting your measurements, its easy to just go ahead and draw down what you’ve got, in the long run, knowing the layout so you can sip wine, and eat cookies at what you’ve got staring at you is probably the best way to get around this hassle of a project!  Not only that, but measure the furniture you’re going to put in your closet too!  Because with me, my original dresser did NOT work with the layout I wanted, so I had to get a new one that fit inside the closet for this whole thing to work!  When in doubt, do not buy anything until ALL your measurements are in place!!

Step 3: Start Organizing Your Current Clothing!

via Organized Closets

Now that the two hardest parts are finished, the easy fun stuff can begin!

Once you’ve got your diagram, start looking for places that would want to put your clothing in.  For my closet, I had only three spaces to put my clothes, so to make my life easier, I put my tops above my pants, and long skirts, dresses long costumes, regular skirts and jackets that I rarely use away in the longest part of my closet, while my pants and tops were in the smallest parts of the closet.  The way you organize is really up to you, and depends on your level of what you consider organized.  I have friends who MUST have their closets color coded, others who prefer to have their clothing put in from shortest to tallest, others organized more in-depth by length, style and type (shorts, capris, pants).  I have one friend who has her closet organized by color, lightest to darkest shades, and by length and style.  It’s so organized it makes me sick.  Me? I’m happy with separating my closet by types, tops goes with tops, and pants with pants, and the dresses costumes, etc that cannot fit elsewhere are jumbled in and rarely used until needed.  It works for me, and its less stressful.  Always pick an organization that you know you’ll be able to keep, and your committment to work it, I’m lazy so I just hang and go.  If I have time or just for fun, I’ll organize by color, but then time to go out day arrives and I end up making my closet into a giant mess, and piling the stuff back onto the racks.

Again, organizing shouldn’t be daunting, just pick your level of organization and stick to it!

Step 4: Shoes, Shoes, SHOES!

Come on Ladies! Shoes shouldn’t be a big deal, I mean, sure, we do tend to gravitate towards those shoe sales, and pick out those that are the best deals, but still, we need a place for our shoes!  Now, I’m not your normal shoe person, I’d rather have purses, clutches and other bag like options than a shoe, but I do tend to have staple shoes that last me a season to a year, depending on their style, their make, and my ruthless attempt to out wear them all the time.  I go through flip-flops like they’re running out of style! But we all need some space to put our shoes!  Completely honest, I worked my way around my closet like this so I could go through my shoes and get rid of the ones that I didn’t need anymore and kept because I just really really liked them!  The less space, the more necessity it is for you to go through which shoes you need and which of those you don’t, some like the image to the left, tend to make room for their shoes, and I know some great bloggers have purchased bookshelves just to put their shoes on.  Get creative with your shoes, show them off out of your closet, or put them in a glass case! Shoes are meant to be looked at! Mine are not for public viewing, they are meant for school and outside Houston adventuring, so they’re ugly! but I do love them!

Step 5: Miscellaneous!

via Making It Lovely

Whether it be jewelry, hats, makeup, or your vinyl record collection, always leave space for the Miscellaneous!  You can spend all this time working on a diagram, measuring, and putting away and realize you didn’t leave space for something you really did want!  For me, having a makeup counter I could call home, was the most important aspect for me.  So I built my closet around THAT.  What I didn’t plan for was the two plus boxes of bags that I currently own.  With my giant dry-mounted poster of Back Issues Pink Floyd in the way, I was out of luck for my wall-o-bags, but still I neatly (somewhat) packed them in boxes and figured out a good place to place them.  My hats on the other hand, were the problem.  Feathers couldn’t fit in specific places, so I put them underneath my tops and HOPE the feathers won’t die…but they are.  SO always plan for these guys, because you’ll thank yourself later!

Step 6: In the end make it Y-O-U!

I could sit here and spin yarns about what you need to do for that great and glorifying OMG WOW factor closet, but in the end its about you and how you want your closet to be made.  If you want your closet to be about your shoes, go ahead make it about your shoes!  If you want it to be about your collection of Concert T-Shirts from David Bowie’s last concert tour, then be it!  But just do it for yourself.  For me, I spent most of my time, planning my closet to be about makeup and putting my morning routine in the place I would be getting ready: My closet.  I have clothes that rarely match each other, and when I do go out I spend a great amount of time getting ready because I have very little in the way of going out clothes.  But my closet re-do helped me regain most of my confidence by setting up a system to help me get ready at the end of every day.

My closet is mostly about me, and yours should be about you, so whatever your level of organization, and whatever your obsession may be, your closet is supposed to be your haven make it yours!

Angelic closet, not sure from whom, please let me know so I can credit properly!

Dreamers, do you have any other suggestions about a giant closet redo?  Got any favorite closet pictures, please link!


The Oracle of Dreams