Wednesday, February 15

How To Make Cheap Frames Look Top Notch

You know the drill, you've bought some lovely art prints, but they're all sitting in cupboards in postal tubes because you can't afford to have them framed.

I've written about the importance of framing art before, and I'm a firm believer that if you can afford to, spending money on bespoke frames is absolutely worth it. Framing can make or break a piece of art. But what if you can't afford to? Should you suffer with bare walls? No. Most certainly not. And that's what today's post is all about.

How To Make Cheap Frames Look Top Notch. Monochrome Gallery Wall.


Last year I collected nine limited edition prints by one of my favourite artists, Stella Vine. However, I could not find a spare four hundred plus pounds to have them framed. I had my heart set on a gold coloured moulding for them, and started to look at various places for ready made gold frames, but when I finally found some that were the right size, they were £39 each, and I would still need custom mounts. The cost was edging back up to a bespoke framing price again, so they were also out of the question too.

I really wanted to get the prints framed and up - especially as I'd moved my beloved Juju hat up into my studio, leaving a big blank wall in the dining room, so I decided to go rogue and see just how inexpensively it was possible to frame them.

After much hunting, I found some cheap plastic, but GOLD frames on Amazon that were the perfect size. However, when I ordered them, several arrived smashed or there was damage to the moulding. Thanks to my Amazon Prime membership (no not an ad!) - I just kept returning and re-ordering them until I had a full set of pristine frames. They cost just under £10 each.

How To Make Cheap Frames Look Top Notch. Grid Gallery Wall Gold Frames And Brown Mounts


Then I had some mounts cut to size. This took a LOT of measuring and re-measuring, as each print is a slightly different paper size and image size. Ideally to create a grid like I wanted, your prints would all be exactly the same size, but as they only differed by a couple of centimetres tops, I felt I could get away with it, as they were all going in the same sized outer frame, just with slightly differing mount apertures so it wouldn't ruin the overall effect (even if it did fry my brain).

Perhaps controversially, I decided against white mounts for these prints. In my mind, they would be either orange, red (definitely controversial as I'm not a big fan of either colour, but next to the blush pink walls, and gold frames it's a different story!), pink or brown. I know.

In the end, after much thought, I went for brown, which not only looks lovely with the colours of all the prints, the gold of the frames, and the blush pink walls, but it also ties in with the wallpapered backs of the shelves in in the living room, which are diagonally opposite the prints. Hanging them in the perfect grid (well, as perfect as is possible, with old wonky walls!), was surprisingly painless as the backs of the frames have uniform hanging hooks which really helped. I had to do lots of that maths thing again, so it did hurt my head, but I'm so pleased with the result.

How To Make Cheap Frames Look Top Notch


In the end it cost me less than £140 to frame all nine prints. That's around £15.50 per print. Not bad, and I think they look great and that the frames look much more expensive than they were. If you didn't know the frames were plastic, you wouldn't be able to tell. So don't tell anyone okay?

My other framing challenge that I took on just before Christmas, was to frame a Debbie Harry print, and two tea towels that my husband had bought because he loved the print, but we didn't have the money for the actual print. I unpicked all the hems and ironed them flat and although the fabric and image areas were again different (grrr), I was able to make them work in off the shelf A1 frames, again with custom cut mounts to fit.

How To Make Cheap Frames Look Top Notch - Monochrome Gallery Wall


A custom cut mount to fit an off the shelf frame, is my favourite framing trick. Suddenly that print you thought you couldn't afford to frame, becomes the print you actually can afford to frame, which is actually pretty exciting. Just make sure you have a minimum of 5cms border width (so your print should be at least five centimetres smaller than the inner frame size), otherwise it starts to look a bit off. It doesn't matter if the border width at the top and bottom is a bit different to the border width at the sides. Then figure out what the closest standard frame size available to fit that size is, and have your mount cut accordingly. Don't forget to allow a 5mm overhang so that your artwork sits nicely behind the mount - your mount opening (aperture) should be a little smaller than the print. Use masking tape or framing tape to attach just the top of the print to the top of the back of the mount, and pop it in your ready made frame. It's amazing how a mount elevates the piece no matter how cheap.

I spent around £50 each for the big frames and custom mounts, which is not nothing, but they're big, and that's a fraction of what it would have cost to have them framed on the high street. And I didn't have to wait. I'm nothing if not impatient.

One day I'll upgrade the frames for my Stella Vine prints, because I really treasure them and want them properly preserved, but they're not in direct sunlight, and at least they're up on the wall so I can enjoy them now.
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Wednesday, January 11

Decorative Wall Moulding DIY

Last year I took on the slightly daunting task of adding decorative moulding (or panelling if you like, though I would argue, not technically correct), to the back wall of our freshly made over TV room

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY


It's something I'd talked about and wanted to attempt for years, but never had the guts to through with it. When the room was nearly complete, it was crying out for something on the back wall, but my husband and I could not agree on any art (or afford the art we could agree on), so on a bit of a whim I ordered myself a mitre saw, some stripwood and some heavy duty wood adhesive, and set to work on photoshop planning how I'd add a bit of wow to the wall.

These were the scale plans...

Option A.

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY





and Option B.

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY


Everyone in the house liked Option A best, so obviously I decided on Option B, and when I finally figured out how to set up my new favourite toy, the cheap mitre saw, the following morning, I cut all the pieces of wood to size. Like this (oh, and sorry about the less than perfect pictures that were snapped on my phone - some at night)...

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY






Then I started to get nervous. What the hell was I doing? I didn't actually have a clue - I'd never done anything like this before. But I had a quick word to myself (something along the lines of, 'what's the worst that can happen, get over yourself' and 'you've spent the money, now you have to do it') and got to work.

Turned out that I needn't have been daunted by it, because it really wasn't that hard after all.  In fact, the hardest part other than setting up that saw (and yes, my husband had to help me), was getting the position right for the very first piece. After that there was no stopping me!

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY


I'd hoped to avoid having to use nails to hold my wood in place while the adhesive dried (in turn, saving a huge amount of extra filling and sanding), so I went for the strongest sounding wood adhesive I could find, aptly named Megabond, and can happily report that it does what it says on the tube. That stuff sticks and does not move, yet it does give you a bit of jiggle room for a while which is exactly what I needed for this project, because the walls aren't perfect and neither was every cut on my £50 mitre saw!

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY





French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY




French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY
By the end of the day (a Friday), I had half the boxes finished, and by lunchtime on the Saturday I had them all done, including the detail around the (wonky-but-don't-worry-I-replaced-it) light switch. Rather proud of that bit.

That afternoon it was time for the boring part - all the corners needed to be filled and sanded, and all sides of each box needed to be caulked. Tedious much?

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY




French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY
Then two coats of primer, followed by two coats of the wall colour on the Sunday. This of course was the super satisfying bit where all my hard work paid off, and the moulding really became part of the room.

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY

French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY


French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY
French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY

I'm so pleased I went for it; the moulding adds interest and detail in an otherwise pretty architecturally featureless room (this room is in the new loft extension for those of you that are new here). And feels fresh and modern but with a little deco nod, due to the plain profile of the strip wood. 

I'd probably have chosen a rounded or more detailed moulding in any other room of the house, and may well add some moulding to the built-ins in the bedroom one of these days, because adding decorative moulding is my new jam.


French For Pineapple Blog - Decorative Wall Moulding DIY


And watch this space, because I've also made some new doors for the built in cupboards in the bathroom, and I couldn't resist using the left over stripwood from this project to add some moudling to them too. They look so pretty and I'll be sharing my progress in there soon.

If you have any questions about any aspect of this DIY just leave me a message in the comments below. And if you're considering doing something similar yourself, but have been a bit hesitant, go for it!




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Wednesday, January 4

New Year, New Look In The Living Room!

Happy new year everyone! I'm back at my desk and ready to kick of the year by showing you some changes that I've made to the living room over the past couple of weeks.

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog



In the run up to Christmas I finally got around to framing and adding a few new pieces to the monochrome gallery wall. The additions have had the desired effect of making the wall look more finished, and the tweaks to the layout work so much better than the previous incarnation. I think gallery wall layouts are really hard to get right, and feel like we're kind of there now with this one (between you and me, it was starting to drive me totally insane). The best part, is that it's made the room feel bigger as the gallery now extends right to each end of the wall, drawing the eye along, instead of just focussing on the area above the sofa only. I love that only three new pieces have had such a dramatic effect.

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog


But speaking of sofas, the most exciting, and biggest change in here, is our new sofa from Out & Out Original that arrived with perfect timing, a few days before Christmas, and it has completely transformed the room.

Allow me to introduce our new family member, Slouchy...

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog


The Slouchy is a generously sized three seater sofa with a fabulous contemporary shape, that gives a subtle nod to mid-century style with tapered oak legs, stopping the overall design from feeling too heavy.

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

The super wide arm rests (which we've discovered are perfect for resting remotes, phones and ipads on - because let's be honest, sofa time in our house at least, nearly always includes some, or all of these gadgets) are the same height as the back, and the padding is integrated into the sofa, negating the need for separate seat and back cushions (though two optional back cushions are included as pictured below). These design details work together to enhance the streamlined, contemporary look.
New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog


The wool textured mid-grey fabric, which is not too light, and not too dark, is super soft and cosy, and I can confirm, that as I've been rather under the weather for the last few weeks, that I have spent way more time than I usually would sat on the sofa, and it's very comfortable indeed. Like, don't-want-to-get-up-and-do-anything-else comfortable. It's extra deep, meaning it's great for snoozing on too (okay, I might have already tested out this option a few times too), or indeed just settling back with your feet curled up.

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

I'm not sure if our old sofa which was also a three seater was particularly compact, but the Slouchy definitely has a more generous seating area - three people always felt way too close on the old sofa, but perfectly fine with our new one.

I've been hankering after something more contemporary, as obviously the design of a large piece of furniture such a sofa really defines the look of a room, and this shape just works so well in here.

Needless to say, it has a big thumbs up from the whole family, and has given the room a lovely fresh look and feel. I'm so happy with it! Can you tell!?

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Out & Out Original, (who I'd like to add, though I'm not obliged to, have been such a pleasure to work with), also have a fantastic range of other furniture for both indoors and the garden. I'm totally eyeing up some of the outdoor options like the Malibu Luxury Greywash Wooden Lounge Set, which actually looks way too nice be used outdoors, and dreaming of some warm days when it could be used. With a cocktail in hand. Obvs. There's a real passion that drives this company, which is just lovely, so please do go and check them out.

New Year, New Look In The Living Room - French For Pineapple Blog


This post is in collaboration with Out & Out Original.

P.S You can also pop over to the Out & Out Original blog where I'm now a contributor, to see what I've been banging on about there.




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