Framing Secret…

Hello folks! Hubby and I were doing some framing this morning, and I caught him in the act of “tightening backs.” I thought I’d write a quick post in case any crafters out there would be interested in making the backs of their framed artwork look nice and finished!

About a hundred years ago, my first stay-at-home-Mom-money-making-effort was being a consultant for Creative Circle… a company that sold craft kits through home parties. My first “party” ended up also being my baby shower (That was a surprise… here I was teaching a bunch of giggling ladies how to do counted cross-stitch, and they were getting ready to yell “SURPRISE!”) and I didn’t last long with that job, because:

1. Jordan was born, and I realized that being a Mommy was a bigger job than I expected.

2. I also realized that standing up in front of a crowd of ladies made me very nervous. (Still does, but I don’t feel like I’m going to faint anymore.)

3. I also also realized that it takes LOTS of networking and pressure to get people to have parties in their home, and I wasn’t cut out for that at all.

Anway… to shorten a story that’s getting so long that you probably forgot what the point was… one of our Creative Circle training sessions was about picture framing. It was actually just an afternoon where one crafty lady showed a bunch of us how to frame needlework. This next tip was the best, the most useful, and the most fun. Try it. You’ll like it.

The backs of pictures are not usually seen, but it just feels good to finish them off nicely. We use heavy weight brown kraft paper as a backing, and glue it down with a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue. After years of framing pictures, we recommend you get the thickest stuff you can find. The thin stuff is nearly impossible to work with and just when you get it done, you’ll pick the picture up and stick your thumb through the back and you won’t be happy.

Cut your paperbacking just a little shy of the picture frame size. It tends to stretch a bit when damp with glue. We run a bead or two of Elmer’s (depending on the frame width), and smear it with our fingers to cover the entire frame back. We usually are framing more than one picture, so go ahead and glue up two or three pictures… letting the glue get a bit tacky helps. And you don’t need globs of glue… too much will squeeze out around the edges.

Now for the fun part… your paper back will most likely be wrinkly. Take a squirt bottle filled with water and wet the back. Not soaking wet, but definitely wet all over…

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Then, take a hair dryer, hold it at a low angle or very close to the picture, and dry it…

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(I have no idea why that picture insists on being sideways.) The paper back will shrink right before your eyes, and very quickly your picture back will be tight as a drum!

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The wetting/blow drying process is actually pretty fun, and sort of relaxing. And if you have a lot to do, and a bit of Tom Sawyer in you, it’s pretty easy to convince family and friends to help.

Safety tip: Don’t hold the hair dryer directly on the paper or stick it into a puddle of water. Whenever water and electricity are both involved use caution!

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