The Perks of Framing Wallflowers
Two Novembers ago my dear friend Jessica and her husband came to visit us. Jessica has home decor style oozing out her very pores and so I naturally mentioned to her that I was stumped on what to hang above my desk in our office/music room/library. She suggested that I needed a colorful painting and showed me some floral pieces online by a favorite artist of hers that I loved but couldn’t even begin to afford. But Jess was completely unphased and said she’d painted a similar piece for her house…what colors did I like? She bet she could make me one. Barely 3 days after she got home, a gigantic package showed up on my front porch with a beautiful and bright painting inside. I loved it and immediately hung it above my desk. It made me smile every day as I worked.
Ever since then, I have wanted to make some sort of whitewashed frame to make the happy painting pop even more against the chocolate brown walls. But as I’m sure many of you have experienced, it just sort of sat at the top of my “to do” list and never got done. Until I had the trifecta of perfect circumstances that made me put my intentions into action. First, I had a rare free afternoon. Second, Keith had a few yard projects he wanted to knock out so I was hunting for a DIY to do and third, we’d just gotten some Hatch Show Prints framed on sale at Michael’s so we were in the picture-hanging mood.
I knew that I wanted something with a slightly whitewashed appearance. Something similar to when my friend Amy and I made a decorative shelf for her bathroom. I also really love the look of variegated planks (like on our chicken coop) so I decided that instead of doing a frame around the painting, I’d do one behind it out of slats of wood. I wanted something a little sleeker than palate wood and not as heavy as lumber, so I headed to Michael’s craft store and straight to the model-plane making aisle where I chose 6 slats of ultra-light weight Balsa wood. I got lucky because my painting was 20″ x 20″ and the Balsa wood slats were 4″ x 24″ inches which meant that 6 of them made a 24″ x 24″ square leaving 2 inches on each side of the painting. The boards were $3.49 each so with tax the wood for the project cost less than $25.
I laid out all the planks on a sheet of plastic and decided to go with a light grey paint instead of the minwax stain that I’d used on the shelf project as I felt like it complimented the white flower accents better than a stain would have. However, I diluted the paint with water to it wouldn’t be so thick and would give more of a stain appearance than a paint appearance. It worked really well and I painted all the boards with two thin coats.
The hardest part about the project by far was centering the boards on the back of the painting. I laid the painting face down and then measured the slats and the painting to make sure that all sides were equal. Then starting in the middle and working out, I nailed each slat to the wooden frame of the canvas using tiny tacks and a hammer. (Make sure your nails are tiny as balsa wood splits easily.) Then I attached a picture hanger to the back (we had one in the shed, but they are only a dollar or two if you have to buy one) and voila!
The Hatch prints we’d gotten framed (that I mentioned at the top of the post) were originally intended to be hung in our living room which has gotten a bit of a facelift as of late. But as seems to often happen with redecorating, hanging one print turned into an all-out fruit-basket-turnover of wall art throughout the house. While I loved having the painting from Jess above my desk, I also wanted it somewhere that everyone would see it…not hidden in my office. So we gave it a home on the most prominent wall in our living room where it will make everyone who comes through our doors smile. Hanging next to it is my Nickel Creek reunion tour Hatch Print from the Ryman show, while my Eucharisteo painting adorns the wall to the left and a wood-mounted photo of a piano by local photographer Eden Frangipane (it’s the first photo you see if you click here) hangs on the wall opposite. And our living room is now officially the happiest place to be. There are definitely perks to having wallflowers.