Hello loyal followers! By popular request, this month’s blog is all about how to make a frame for your silk painting. This particular frame design is made from wood and has no glass or plexiglass in it to cover up the silk. Many people love this design because they can still touch the silk and fully enjoy its shine and texture.
You start out by gallery wrapping your silk painting over artist’s wooden canvas stretcher bars. Here’s the link to that blog, right here on this website: http://www.mysilkart.com/how-to-display-your-silk-painting-the-gallery-wrap/
You’ll need your power tools for this project, or someone with their own power tools to make your frame for you. You could make this frame without power tools, but the chances of getting the frame to fit straight and tightly together aren’t as great. At the very least, you’d need a hammer, a saw, and a miter box (and you’d skip making the rabbet joint).
Besides the tools, the materials we use to make our frames are:
- 1/2-inch x 1 5/8-inch S4S (sanded on four sides) pine boards
- 18 gauge 1-inch brads for the nail gun
- Wood glue
- Wood filler
- 3/16 inch drill bit
- Paint (I use black because it makes the colors pop, and all my pieces look cohesive when hung together on display.)
- Polyurethane (satin finish is my favorite)
Buy enough wood to go around your painting two times (since there are two pieces of wood per side of the frame), plus at least six inches per side to allow for the mitered joints.
Cut your pieces at least six inches longer than each side of your gallery-wrapped painting. Use a router to cut a notch for the basic rabbet joint down the edge of one of the wood pieces for each side. When those pieces are connected, the silk painting will rest inside the frame on the piece without the notch, so you won’t see a seam on the visible sides of the frame. The seam will be on the back of the frame instead. Use wood glue down the length of each rabbet joint and nail each pair of wood pieces together using a nail gun. Place your nails 4 to 6 inches apart. Keep your nails a few inches away from the ends of each piece, since you’ll be cutting off the ends at a 45-degree angle for your mitered corners.
Once the glue is dry, make your miter cuts. At the risk of stating the obvious, the shorter end of the cut will equal the length of the side of your gallery-wrapped painting.
Put your frame together by using wood glue and two nails per corner. Clamp the frame together while the glue dries.
Fill all the nail holes and any corner gaps with wood filler and allow it to dry.
Drill four holes through the back of the frame about 4 inches from each end of the longest sides, about 1/2 inch away from the inside edge of the frame. We used a 3/16-inch drill bit so that our #8 wood screws would fit through the holes later when we attached the painting to the frame.
Sand the entire frame. Paint it with primer, color, and an optional top coat of polyurethane.
When the painting is dry, attach your gallery-wrapped painting. Here are the materials for this part:
- Wooden blocks or small books
- Ice pick or nail
- #8 flat Phillips wood screws, 1-inch (these screws should be long enough to go through the frame and into the stretcher bar, without going all the way through to the silk)
- Screw eyes (I used 15/16″)
- Picture-hanging wire (I used 19 gauge)
- Wire cutters
Drop the painting into the frame and flip it over onto your work surface.
Put some blocks or similar-sized books under just the stretcher bars of the painting and not the frame, so that the painting will be pushed into the frame from below. Poke a sharp point (use an ice pick, a nail or a strong straight pin) through each nail hole and just a little into the stretcher bar frame below. Now take out the painting and see where your marks ended up. If they’re touching any of your fabric, you’ll need to trim it away from that spot.
Place the painting back into the frame, and screw in your #8 flat Phillips wood screws.
Now measure 1/3 of the way from the top of the frame and mark it on both sides. Use your sharp point (I’m using an ice pick) to make a little hole in the frame wood. Put a screw eye in both holes. Cut a length of picture hanging wire that’s the width of your painting plus 20 inches. Feed about 10 inches of wire through one of the screw eyes, and twist the end of the wire a few times around the rest of the wire.
Feed the other end of the wire through the other screw eye, and pull it so that it’s not super tight but it’s not bowing out loosely from the frame either. Wrap the remainder of the wire a few times, and cut off the excess.
Hang your silk painting away from direct sunlight to keep the colors bright for years to come. Consider placing a spotlight on your painting, too, you’ll be amazed at the luminous effect it will have on your work!
There are other versions of this open frame, and you may come up with your own. Hopefully this blog has given you enough ideas and input to make construction easy and inexpensive for you. Let me know how it goes–I’d love to see pics.
Happy silk painting!