Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tutorial: Picture frame with fabric scraps and mod podge

After sewing a whole bunch of coasters as gifts for friends recently, I had a big pile of tiny little strips of fabric from trimming my seam allowances. I was going to throw them out, but started thinking, there must be something I can do with all that fabric.

I lined all the little bits up and thought of the old picture frames I've got in a box that I haven't used yet because I don't like them the way they are, and covering the frame with the fabric strips idea was born!

Even though the fabric was all mismatched patterns and colours and probably wouldn't go together if you were making a bigger projects, the little strips all together actually looks pretty effective this way.

I used a cheap, untreated wooden frame for regular 4x6 photos and had the trimmings from making 24 coasters, so a fair little pile but didn't use it all. You could do any size frame, you'd just need to collect more trimmings.

What you'll need:

- mod podge or similar crafty glue
- fabric trimmings - save these from sewing projects where you trim your seam allowances. I tried to use a range of thicknesses - you either want to make it vary or keep them all the same width depending on the look you want.
- paint brush
- scissors (for trimming up, and small ones are easier to manoeuvre around the frame at the end.)
- a picture frame

1. Cover your work area - gluing can get messy at the best of times.

2. If your picture frame is already painted or glossy in anyway, you might want to lightly sand it to make the gluing easier.

Decide how you want to arrange your fabric strips:

- horizontal or vertical, or both, diagonal, random? ...there's no right or wrong way.
- overlap the strips so none of the frame shows through OR leave gaps. (I left the wood plain and showing through, but you could also paint it in a contrasting or blending colour before you lay the fabric.)

I chose to do it horizontal all the way around and leave gaps where the wood shows through.

2. Start gluing - paint the mod podge onto both the frame and the back fabric strip. It will stick a lot easier than just putting the glue on the frame. 

You can either just glue the fabric the front face of the frame, or wrap it over the edges.

Do small sections or rows at a time so the glue is nice and wet and not starting to dry.

Paint a reasonable amount of glue on but make it even and don't leave any globs. The mod podge dries clear, but if it's too thick or there are globules it will not only take a long time to dry but risk being lumpy and messy.

3. Leave the frame leaning against something as it dries, checking it occasionally to push down any fabric that is lifting, or add a bit more glue if bits aren't sticking.

4. I left my strips long so I had plenty to play with and make sure I had enough to stick down. So I cut some of the excess off as I went to reuse it.
But at the end you'll be left with lots of overhanging bits. Leave these until the mod podge has dried.

5. Once the glue is dry, then you can go back and trim it up so the fabric ends are flush with frame. Small scissors will help here. You may also want to trim any loose threads from the front if any of the fabric that you used was fraying.

6. It's up to you whether you leave it as is or paint over with a finishing layer of mod podge - this may help the fabric not fray, though it probably has enough glue on it already to keep it together as long as the frame doesn't receive rough treatment.

And there you have your fabric scrap, patchwork picture frame! Pop a photo in it and display that baby!

All that's left to do is clean up those little bits of trimmed fabric...hmmm, wonder what I could make with those? ...just kidding ;)

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