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Elevate Your Art

Monday, November 1, 2010

John loves nothing more than explaining to folks how to do things themselves. Back when we were faux finishers, he would frequently talk himself out of a job by encouraging ambitious house wives to faux their own bathrooms, or re-finish their own furniture. So I had to laugh when he came in from the garage last week and asked, "Hey, do you think your Epbot readers would want to learn how to do this?"

I think this blog is growing on him.

So, today's quick project is courtesy of John. It's a back frame - or whatever you call this:


See how the print is elevated off the wall on that wood frame? That's what I mean. We made this one for our bedroom a few years ago. (Yes, my bedroom is orange. And has an India theme. Like you're surprised.) For just a few dollars' worth of materials and a little labor we made it go from "el cheap-o poster" to "wall art."

You'll probably want to do this with a poster or print, like we did, but don't use anything valuable; you'll be gluing it down to a piece of 1/8th inch hardboard (aka Masonite.) You can get Masonite at any hardware store, and most places will even cut it to size for you. Paint the edges of your board black, glue your poster down to the board, smooth out any wrinkles, and you're ready to go with step one below. (The painting John will be using is already on a piece of Masonite.)

Ok. First things first: measure your painting/poster.

I painted this Tigger a few years ago, but we never got around to framing it.

Your frame will need to be exactly the same size as your board, so be sure your measurements are precise.

Next you'll need a length of 1x2 wood. To begin, cut the end off the wood at a 45 degree angle:


CHEATER'S TIP: Don't have a miter saw? Or have one, but are afraid of losing a few fingers? (No judgment here; I'm scared of the vacuum cleaner.) In that case, you can use this instead:

It's called a miter box, and the slots will guide your handsaw into the correct angles. You can find these at any hardware store for cheap.

Now, from the tip of that first angle, measure out your first piece:


Cut the other side at the same 45 degree angle, only in the opposite direction:

Now use this piece to mark out the next:

Repeat these steps for the other two sides of your frame, using your painting measurements as a guide.

CHEATER'S TIP: Don't want to mess with the 45 degree angles? Then good news! You can also do the corners this way:

Just be sure to allow for the difference in your measurements. Since these frames will only be seen from the side, I wouldn't bother with the 45 degree angles at all, myself. John's just a perfectionist. And likes playing with his miter saw.

Ok, now you need to assemble your four pieces. To get the right angles perfect, John has this special doodad:

He thinks it's called a corner clamp. Maybe. (Thanks, dear...) It's unbelievably handy, so I'd highly recommend picking one up. (In fact, I found this exact clamp for less than $7 on Amazon, here.)

Put a dab of wood glue on your end pieces:

Clamp them together:


And then hammer in a few small nails:

You'll want about 2 nails on each side: 4 total per corner.
(Again, no fancy nail gun needed; just use a regular ol' hammer and finishing nails.)

That's the hard part done! Now fill the nail holes with a little spackle and hit it with a coat or two of spray paint:

Black is easy and goes with everything, but you could also use a complementary color from your poster or print.

Next glue your hardboard to the frame using strong epoxy or construction adhesive (Liquid Nails comes to mind.)


If your calculations were correct, your board *should* be a perfect fit.

Once your adhesive is applied, weigh the board down while the glue dries:

I find Harry Potter books to be very useful for this purpose.

And finally, here's the finished product, hanging in my office:


Now, you guys be sure to leave encouraging remarks for John in the comments, so he feels like you learned something. :)


Quick update from john: Hi! A couple of you have noted in the comments that it would be good to use stretcher bars instead of a 1x2 because they are precut and perfectly cured so they won't warp. I would say that while they are precut, that really just limits the size you can make your frame. As far as curing, you should only buy the grade A stuff they sell at your local lumber store. It's usually cured and dry and I've never had it warp on me. It's also important to note the cost difference: 1- 8 foot grade A 1x2 = $3.00. 1- 2'x2' stretcher bar = $40 or more.

Posted by Jen at 10:11 PM Labels:

93 comments:

  1. It's a great tutorial but I stopped really listening at the India bedroom. Maybe some blog post we could get the full tour. What else do you have?

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  2. So. Many. IDEAS!

    Thanks, John! I feel as if I have been elevated to a higher level of understanding.

    Elevated? Get it? Yes? So...um...laugh! You know you want to! C'mon, just a little chuckl--

    This comment has been interrupted for the safety and well-being of readers everywhere. We'll be taking the lady back to her cell now, and advising the board to revoke her keyboard privileges. Thank you for your understanding.

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  3. This is awesome! I usually buy a shadow box and glue whatever it is I have to the glass. And since my darling boyfriend is obsessed with the miter saw lately, I'm sure he'd love to try this project with me. Considering he refused to make this with me, I've been trying to find art projects he'd be interested in.

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  4. Thanks very much for this. I've always been torn with how to mount my artwork without the expense of a frame (most of my paintings I do on masonite to start with. so this is perfect!). And also thanks for showing the 'easy' version without the angle cuts. cause while I'm all for perfection, not everyone is as confident with saw blades ;)

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  5. He's sweet, he's smart and he's handy. What a keeper!
    I love the way these look. Going to have to try this (my version of "try this" is getting my hubby to do it. Close enough).

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  6. Those look awesome. ^_^ I've got some prints I was trying to figure out what I should do with and that will be perfect. Thanks John!

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  7. That tigger painting is ADORABLE!! And I totally need to try that to mount my posters, Thanks!

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  8. Ooh, I just found a bunch of posters in storage, and while they might hark back to college, this will surely make them grown up, no?

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  9. I'll be doing this as soon as I own awesome art that needs hanging! Being in rentals and not being allowed to hang things, I've steered clear of posters/art for this reason but this little trick i'll file away for later!

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  10. yay for john! next time i paint something, i'm referring back to this for sure. (except i'll probably cut off a few fingers by accident in the process...)

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  11. Now I won't feel so bad about asking you how you put in your wood floor. I saw the photo you posted a while back with the blue tape on a half finished floor and had to keep talking myself out of asking for tips. The frame is nice, but how about a floor tutorial for someone who can't afford to fly John out to install it himself? Hell, if you lived near Austin - I'd just hire the both of you.

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  12. John!! I love that do-dad, corner clamp thing. I even left the blog to go throw a couple into my amazon cart. They look fantastic. My dad has been puttering around with making his own picture frames, and this might help!!

    Thanks for the suggestions.

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  13. Thanks, John! Consider me educated. I think I'll stay away from the sharp objects, though. I can hurt myself with an unsharpened pencil.

    Love the Potter books as weights. I wonder if I could buy all hardbacks with that as my excuse? (The only hardback I have is Deathly Hallows.)

    I can only speak for myself, but I LOVE these DIY projects that you guys undertake!

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  14. Love you guys thanks for the ideas! Now we need damn garage for my husband to get to work! LOL

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  15. I'm so glad to know what that yellow thing is, a miter box. I keep going around the house and picking things up after my boyfriend and I never know what they are. I have picked up his miter box at least 3 or 4 times in the past couple of weeks.

    I'm also really glad that you posted this tutorial! I've picked up so many posters that I just love but I don't know how to display without looking either like the bedroom of a preteen or a college dorm room. Now I can do this and it will look like art! AND I can steal my boyfriend's miter box! :)

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  16. I love all the DIY tutorials! Thanks guys! Keep 'em coming!

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  17. Much appreciated! My sister and I are looking for different ways to frame pictures and prints around the house, and this is perfect. I think we're going to terrify the poor Lowe's employees when we ask them to show us how to use a miter saw...

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  18. I'm thinking the craft-challenged could accomplish a similar look using canvas stretcher bars sold at craft and art stores. Take your measurements to the store and buy a pair for each dimension. The wood bars are pre-mitered and precision-measured, and snap together with a tongue and groove system. Add a little wood glue, clamp to dry, spray paint, and you're done. The bars come in different thicknesses too, so you can have just a little or a lot of lift. A little more expensive than John's method, but doable by folks with no tool fu.

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  19. Thank you, this is soemthing my husband who is not handy can follow and do. This housewife owes you one.

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  20. OMG, that is wickedly cool and I KNOW I could do that. You are gonna get me in so much trouble with the hubby when I start buying all these new tools.

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  21. I love this idea! How great. I also love the India bedroom. More photos of that sometime please?

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  22. This is a wonderful idea! I can't wait to try it out!

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  23. I want a corner clamp now. I'm not a big construct-y person, but the fact that such a tool exists makes me want one...... X D

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  24. Ooh! Love it. I have a few prints to try this on. More from John! And the non-scary tool option is much appreciated.

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  25. I have just the painting in mind for this project. Currently the canvas is being held up by thumb tacks...don't judge. But this simple project might get my hubby in the 'my man can make stuff' mood. Thanks!

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  26. Your Tigger looks really amazing, and I love the way a flower seems to be growing out of Kermit's head. I'm completely shocking at any handypersonish type stuff, but I think that even I could do this. And it really does make posters look classy, I have a vintage Star Wars poster mounted on wood, kind of like what you've done, and it looks quite posh.

    One thing I need to ask, being a nonhandypersonish type of person - what's faux finishing?

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  27. One: I'm saving this post so I can refer to it in the future.

    Two: You need to do a house tour!

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  28. This is an awesome post! Thanks so much... I often fail at crafty, but I would like to try this with some of my posters. I also know some crafty friends who would love this!

    I do have one question... what would you suggest using to treat the posters to protect them or age them a little bit to change their look once they are on the wood?

    Thanks again for the awesome blog update! :thumbs up: =D

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  29. I love that John was informing house wives how they could save money by doing easy jobs themselves. I hope he makes more money giving us tutorials now; he certainly deserves it!

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  30. John,
    Honestly, I have always wanted to know how to do this. My husband and I are "craftily-challenged" and even simple boxes look like complexities we couldn't possibly complete.

    This made me feel just a bit of hope! Of course, we can't do a project like this together because we'd kill each other... I have my summers off (college prof) and this is going to be my summer project! (Seriously... it will probably take me the whole summer...).

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  31. We have some posters my hubby wanted to put in our sons room, this is a GREAT way to fancy them up. I was just going to throw them in a cheap frame, but this would look SO much nicer. THANK YOU!

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  32. Sweet! Thanks for this! I think I've just decided what to do with those wall scrolls we bought at our last con!

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  33. awesome.. hubby loves when I come up with new projects for his tools!

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  34. Do you think you would be willing to rent out John? I have a project for my guest bedroom where I want to do a travel theme and I could use some help to make it classy yet interesting and the two of you do that so well. I will pay him and bribe you in non wrecked cake too!

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  35. What do you use to glue the poster to the board? Is Modge Podge suitable??

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  36. ~I love power tools!

    ~This is a handy tutorial. (Thank you, John)

    ~I really appreciate that you included easier options for some of the steps.

    ~That glimpse of your office is so vibrant!

    ~That artwork fits perfectly in that space.

    ~ I can't believe that I've been reading Cake Wrecks for so long, but only last week ventured down to the very, very bottom of the page to see the EPBOT link.

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  37. Thanks Jen/John! I have a bunch of stuff I'd like to frame without spending several hundred to get Michaels or Joanne's to do it. Will have to try this some time!

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  38. My three year old read "Epbot" with me. He was thrilled by the pictures of power tools and more thrilled by Tigger and Donald Duck. He asked for more. (He also recognized the Harry Potter Books; "Look mom, your big books")

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  39. Beautiful work, John. Jen is lucky to have you. I know my hubs will someday also have a miter saw, corner clamp, etc, just as soon as we have a house. you make me hope all the more for that day to come sooner. Thanks, John!

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  40. This is a great! I have often wondered what to do with some of my art prints that would be different than a regular ol' frame. Jen - You are a very talented painter!

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  41. Oh my gosh- I'm gonna use this ide to frame and display all my "kid art" that my children have created for me!
    Thanks for the idea! :)

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  42. I am totally doing this. Thanks, John! Sure beats the cheap poster frames I buy at Walmart.

    Also, now that I know a corner clamp exists, I need to own one.

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  43. I'm soo glad you guys posted this!! My hubby isn't always good with power tools (ever the artist, never the handyman) but this is something we could agree on and make quickly! Thanks so much!!

    By the way... has John ever thought about writing his own book about home repairs? I think it would look lovely on shelves!

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  44. Thank you!! This is just what I've needed. See, I have two unmounted prints that I'd picked up a month or two ago. And to be honest, I didn't know how I was going to mount them but I thought it couldn't be that hard *(Until my procrastination flaw had a strong hold in doing anything with the prints). And now I know what to do, how to do it, and...I've got a miter saw. :-D Thank you John!

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  45. Nice project! One of these days, I will definitely use this idea. But...

    *wanders off to re-read Harry Potter #5*

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  46. My about to be a teenager daughter is starting her poster phase where she wants to hang all sort of things on her wall which looks really craptastic. I'm thinking that this project is an excellent compromise.
    ps Happy Birthday to the master craftsman! Bob Vila's got nothing on you. Your like Norm Abram level.

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  47. I think I would like to borrow John for a couple of afternoons. He could come in handy around my house. I'm always worried about hubs cutting off his fingers or something. Since John already knows how to use all of these handy dandy power tools, I think I should send him and my hubby on a "man date" so he can learn how to use them too. :-D

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  48. I could do this to my odd-sized poster I bought years ago! It's framed, but it's one of those cheap ones that's too big for it (because I stupidly bought a poster that's an odd size).
    And I don't want to pay to get it framed professionaly because then that would mean the frame would be worth more than the actual print.
    Thank you, John, for this tutorial!

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  49. I've found that Harry Potter books come in handy with DIY projects. My fiance and I put up a faux tin back-splash in our kitchen.

    http://thesinglesister.blogspot.com/2010/08/our-house.html

    We had one piece that just wouldn't stay down, it kept buckling outward and wouldn't lay flat so it would stick. So I wedged a harry potter book between our microwave and the wall overnight and it stuck!

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  50. LOL - I use our Harry Potter books all the time to weigh down projects being glued!

    And thanks for the link for corner clamps. Hubby is in construction and does woodworking for fun too - he is always telling me "you can never have too many clamps"!

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  51. I know what my friends are getting from me for xmas! Thanks John! My hubby wishes he was you (or maybe it's ME who wishes that) Love you guys a ton!

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  52. Wonderful tutorial! Quick question - what do you use to glue the poster down to the masonite? I'm pretty sure Elmer's glue straight out of the bottle is not a good idea for that one. At least - it hasn't worked well for me in the past.:_

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  53. Oooh! So crafty! So very, very crafty!

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  54. This is a great tutorial, but as a custom framer I did want to point out something to keep in mind. It may be worth your time to go with framing stretcher bars, like Texpenguin suggested. Part of what you pay for with real custom frame molding is that the wood has been kiln dried and prepared so it will not warp OR shrink.(most stretcher molding has still been processed this way, even though no where near as expensive as decorative frame molding) It's just that lumber straight from the store can often warp and twist over time. If you've got the time and space, even letting the wood lie flat in a dry space for at least a few weeks (the longer the better) would be a good plan. If you're going to put in the work you don't want the finished piece to twist or develop ugly gaps.

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  55. Cool! I think even I could manage that! ;o)

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  56. Thank John for me! Now I know what to try out with the new miter box!

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  57. I suddenly have an urge to go finish putting up the art in my son's room...

    Also, would John be willing to hold a boot camp for husbands on how to be awesome? ;P

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  58. I'm not the only one scared of vacuum cleaners?? Really and truly? Huzzah!

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  59. Nice! That's so easy I could actually do it and probably not mess it up! hahahaha... saws do scare me, though... so yeah, I'll be using one of those yellow things... Good call!

    Btw, the giant orange clothes pin you have has a purple friend on my work desk. I put eyes on it and I make it talk and/or snap at people. Very useful.

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  60. I have some glued puzzles that I've been wanting to frame, but of course they don't make frames in the sizes I need for my puzzles. This is a fabulous idea and I can't wait to give it a try!!

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  61. Love the tutorial John, more please!

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  62. "Back when we were faux finishers..."...

    Wait...what? That is SO COOL! I've been looking for faux finishing classes out here in Silicon Valley, CA for AGES! Any info or tutorials you want to post on here about faux finishing would be The Bees Knees.

    Thanks and enjoy both your blogs immensely.

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  63. Very cool.

    My favorite part is the update from John. ARE YOU QUESTIONING ME?!?!

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  64. Out of all the required tools and items needed (including the picture) to do this project, I have one: a hammer. But I am TOTALLY going to attempt this project because it is awesome and I like it! :)

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  65. Oh thanks. I just mounted some paintings my daughter did for me using poster sticky hanging things. This would look so much better. And I think I could do it.

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  66. Nice!! I lourve my miter saw and now I totally want one of them corner clamps or whatever they're called.

    I have a bunch of leftover crown moulding that I'm gonna make into big ol painted frames for canvasses and canvas board.

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  67. You could also use a thin board in place of the artwork. Paint it the same color as the sides of the frame. Attach velcro on the corners. Attach velcro to the backs of different art works of the same size, and you can easily change out the artwork on the same frame.

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  68. True confessions: I've been reading your blog for months, but haven't been brave/creative enough to comment. So let me just start with "I love your blog!" I'm always happy and inspired after reading it - thank you! And I learn a lot from your commenter community, too.

    This tutorial is great and perfect timing! Thanks!

    Can I make a tutorial request (pretty please)? I would LOVE to know how you made those cool picture frame cabinet doors in your office. My office has open frame shelving and those doors would be the perfect way to hide the "uglies" while showing off some art. :-)

    Thanks so much - for everything!

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  69. Art for Arts sake!

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  70. You and John are teachers at heart!

    I love crafty things, but I'm all thumbs and live in a one-bedroom apartment with no powertools. However, I feel like I could do this if I had a little coaching with the proper tools.
    The finished product looks like Tigger is annoyed with Kermit's Rainbow Connection.

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  71. I love any of the how-to-make-some-amazing-crafty-craft that you do on here, so tell John the more the merrier! I also love the sharing-of-awesome-geekiness and the oh-my-gosh-something-cute/funny/ridiculous-happened-to-me-storytimes. Bring on the EPBOT!

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  72. I love that John does the post for cakewrecks on his birthday and did this the day before! Jen, you are so lucky! This is such an amazing idea. I wanna try it with cards! THANKS!

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  73. This is a great idea--and looks so professional! I do think the miters make it look more professional, really, because of the way the wood grains are.

    I'll have to try this sometime--maybe when I'm visiting my parents with the fancy wood shop in the garage!

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  74. Okay, so I always felt a certain connection with you guys, but I chalked it up to a similar sense of humor and interests. However, there may be more to it, as everything in my bedroom (minus the walls) is orange and India-themed. 100% true! Besides that detail, it was an excellent tutorial, so thank you both! :-)

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  75. I loved this! I have several posters that I haven't done anything with because I have yet to buy frames. I like John's idea better, though, because it adds so much class. Thanks for sharing!

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  76. This is a great tutorial!! I always shy away from some prints for this exact reason...sometimes a frame just won't do it justice. Now I have a way to make them look great!

    Thanks, John!!

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  77. Thanks for the tutorial. I think even I can do this.

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  78. is that a border or a stencil at the top of your wall?

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  79. NEW PROJECT! Thanks, John! Per EPBOT inspiration, I finished some shadowboxes over the weekend with my bee-yoo-tiful Hallmark ornaments in them. I will take some photos and share this week!

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  80. That's awesome - Tigger turned out great! Thanks for sharing, John. You and Jen ROCK!!

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  81. This is an awesome idea for all my kids' artwork from school. It's usually an odd size and would cost a fortune to frame. I may experiment with Mod Podge to seal the artwork.

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  82. I saw your painting/bedroom wall, and immediately grabbed my computer screen and gasped/made a strangled sound, because I was SO OVERCOME BY IT'S AMAZINGNESS! (So this makes sense, my mother was in Peace Corps in Nepal, I grew up surrounded by all things Nepalese/Indian, I love everything Indian, I am in the midst of painting my room, and I WANT THAT PAINTING!) That brought on a feeling of awe so strong my breathing and heart rate jumped! I don't know if I will ever be able to make a raised painting, but I just saw my perfect inspiration for my room! HaHA! (p.s. I'm usually not this crazy. Usually.)

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  83. Keep these kinds of blogs coming!!! I may email you to ask a question of John for a project of mine =)

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  84. I love this idea! I know what I'm making for Christmas presents now! I love to give the grandparents pics of my kiddos but I get tired of the cost of frames. Thanks John, you really are a handy kinda guy, aren't you? :-)

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  85. See what I miss when I don't check the internet for a few days? I miss useful stuff! I am definitely going nuts with this next month when I finish up MY office. :)

    Thanks, John!

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  86. Love the idea and quick tutorial! Just to add my two cents, if you're working with a paper product, sealing it is a good idea. They sell all types of sealers and varnishes, etc, but my favorite is good ol' fashioned Mod Podge and a 1" brush to create a cross hatch pattern over the paper. It gives it a subtle texture that mimics an actual painting. Just use a thin coat smooth to seal, let dry thoroughly, and then another coat on top with the cross hatch pattern. Here in Humid Florida, it is especially important to dry between coats or else your seal will feel sticky and actually attract dust instead of sealing it out.

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  87. I LOVE orange, best color EVAH! Awesome bedroom theme, LOVE IT! (sing song voice)

    Olivia

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  88. That's awesome, and the harry potter books are a nice touch as well ;)

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  89. O.o WOW. Where did you learn to paint like that? ME WANTS YOUR PAINTING ABILITIES!!

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  90. I'm fairly new to this blog...been reading CW for some time. But I just happened to click on this link and am reading at work (tsk tsk) b/c during the past couple of weeks i've literally had nothing to do and your blog has kept me from falling alseep...so thank you :) Also, I am a HUGE Tigger fan and I absolutely LOVE the painting that you did. Its incredible!!! I adore how he is in black and white while the background is bright with color...very cool. You managed to capture his tiggeriffic essence. Cudos!! love the blog :)

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  91. Harry Potter, Disney, the colour orange, Gerbera Daisies, big clothes pins.. you are just too awesome for words. I feel as though if we lived nearby you and I would get along smashingly.

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