Monday, September 2, 2013

I Was Framed

How to make mosaic frames

A few people have asked me where I get the frames that I use for my mosaic art projects.  I make them myself.  They aren't very fancy, but they look nice and are very sturdy. Around the studio, we euphemistically refer to them as "Rustic".

It all starts at the hardware store.  I usually buy about eight frames worth of material at a time.

Frame Lumber

Once I get home, I start with the outside edges of the frame which is made of some 2 x 2 firing strips.

Raw Lumber
First I cut a 1/4 inch slot down the middle by making a few passes with a Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut Circular Saw. You could also use a table saw for this task, but I don't have room for one in my studio, and the VersaCut is very to use.  It comes with an adjustable guide, so I just set the depth of the cut and the distance from the edge of the board and I am off and running.

Firing Strips with Slots Cut

I then use a 1/4 inch wood chisel to remove the remaining material. I also run a sander along the cut edge.

Removing remaining material

Next I cut the 2 x 2s to length and put a 45 degree angle on the sides of each piece.  I use a miter saw for this task.

Cutting pieces on Miter Saw

And then I am done with the individual frames sections.
Finished piece
After I have all of the pieces cut, I dry fit everything together first to make sure that they fit nicely.  Then I use wood glue on all of the touching pieces.

Once everything is glued and fitted together, I use a strap clamp to hold the entire thing in place while the glue is drying.  I've tried a few different clamp systems, but the strap clamp is ideal for this sort of thing.  It provides even pressure from all sides.  The system I am using is the Bessey VAS23 Vario Angle Strap Clamp.  I certainly endorse it.  It beats the heck out trying to line everything up with multiple standard clamps. Oh, make sure you wipe off all of the excess glue before it dries.

After the glue has dried for a day or two, I sand down all of the surfaces.

Sanding Frame
And then I apply some color of stain to the outside of the frame.  

Applying Stain
And there you have a nice canvas for your mosaic art work.  

  Check out how I use these frames in my Gallery.

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