Modish, Voguish, DIY

A wall of ready-made frames is an art statement in itself at Wenaha Gallery, Dayton, WA.
A wall of ready-made frames is an art statement in itself at Wenaha Gallery, Dayton, WA.

DIY — Do It Yourself — is a trend that never goes out of style.

With many people seeking to incorporate a uniquely personal touch into their home decor, DIY is chic and in vogue. It’s a great way to update the walls — some people create entire art installments using nothing more than well-placed, ready-made picture frames. And with a little effort and minor financial investment, even the least artistic crafter can put together something useful and attractive, a boldly bordered mirror, say;  or a memo board that looks like something Jane Austen would have used if she had had access to dry erase markers; even a place to hang jewelry.

A classy refreshment tray holds ceramic cream and sugar holders by Wenaha Gallery artist Caprice Scott, as well as a DIY ring holder.
A classy refreshment tray holds cream and sugar ceramic-ware by Wenaha Gallery artist Caprice Scott, as well as a DIY ring holder.

“Excluding the price of the frame, you can construct a classy looking craft project for $20 or so in materials,” says C.J. Horlacher, a lifelong DIYer who recommends Pinterest as an excellent site for creative inspiration. In the last several weeks, Horlacher has created frame-based projects ranging from a ring-holder incorporating folded fabric onto quilt matting and tucked into a small, deepset wooden frame, to a refreshment tray consisting of foam core (available in any art, frame, or craft store), topped by wallpaper, and then protected by glass. The entire sandwich is mounted into a carved wooden picture frame and attached to the back using offset clips (available at hardware stores). Adhesive felt or rubber protector pads add the finishing touch.

“Many materials I found just around the house, or in my husband’s shop,” Horlacher says. An especially popular project, one that she has been asked to make many times, is a jewelry holder consisting of small-meshed welded wire adhered to the back of a ready-made frame. A dab of glue in the corners ensures that the mesh, and any jewelry adorning it, stays in place.

“These are fun, and depending on the frame you use, you get a different feeling. An ornate gold frame is romantic; a clean, smooth wooden frame is sleek, almost glamorous,” Horlacher says.

A ready made frame and fine welded wire mesh join together to create a classy way to keep one's earrings in place.
A ready made frame and fine welded wire mesh join together to create a classy way to keep one’s earrings in place.

Ready-made frames, of all sizes and styles, are everywhere, she adds — from box stores to craft outlets to frame shops, and they make up about half the price of the project.

“It’s worth getting a high-quality frame, because the finished piece, whether it’s a mat-covered bulletin board that you’re going to pin things to, or a mirror that will dress up your bedroom, is part of the art itself.

“I happen to work in a frame shop and gallery, so that’s where I pick up my frames, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t use a cheap plastic or faux wood frame — the small extra cost is worth it, because it individualizes the finished craft piece, and makes it something you’re pleased to show off in your home.”

It's modern, it's classy, it's quick-to-make and it's useful -- a bulletin board doesn't have to look like cork.
It’s modern, it’s classy, it’s quick-to-make and it’s useful — a bulletin board doesn’t have to look like cork.

Mat remnants, available at many frame shops for a fraction of the original cost, add color and texture to a project, and set behind glass that is then mounted into a frame, they reconstruct themselves as a memo station; adhered to foam core or some other pinnable surface, they transmogrify into a swanky, upscale bulletin board. Useful, practical items don’t have to look like what they are.

Not everyone can paint a painting, carve a wooden  bowl, fashion a bronze sculpture, or shape a clay pot, but many of us still desire to create something artistic — that doesn’t look like something we fashioned during summer camp — which we can proudly display to our friends and family. And because we’re a practical people, the functional nature of many of these DIY wall projects is an added bonus.

They’re artistic. And they’re functional. And they’re inexpensive, expressive, and customizable. What’s not to like?

Wenaha GalleryThe Ready-Made Frame Extravaganza is the Art Event at Wenaha Gallery through April 4, 2015. C.J., our DIY expert, is also on hand many days for those who want to learn more about DIY creations using ready-made frames.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

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