Initial frames! This is a very old project of mine, but it still proudly hangs in my childrens’ room and in the rooms of the loved ones Ive created one for. It is a very simple and inexpensive project, I once made about 10 at one time as Christmas gifts for all the children in our family and in Macy’s playgroup.
Supplies for this project:
- a wooden 8×10 frame – cheap, from anywhere like a craft store or ikea
- acrylic paints – super cheap again, a $1 bottle is enough
- a wooden letter – there’s a trend here… cheap from a craft store
- fabric scrap at least 10×12 – free! if you are a crafter that has it lying around
- a 1/2 yard of ribbon or twine – again you know you have some somewhere
- a slightly smaller than 8×10 cut of mat board – in the framers aisle at craft store
- hot glue gun – the classic
- staple gun – you can do it without this, but if you dont want the letter to fall off and hit the baby in the head then barrow one.
First step is to remove the glass from the frame but save the backboard as you still want that so that it looks nice and finished when its done.
Next paint the letter and wooden frame. Just like any project with wood you might decide that it needs a little sanding prep before the paint. Use your discretion. Acrylic paint dries in a matte or chalky finish. If you dont like that you can use a spray gloss sealant to give it a sheen. But be cautious: some of the glosses will turn the paint a yellowish color. I had a pink letter turn an unusable color. So I play it safe and just leave it like it is. Or you can buy higher quality paint that has a gloss finish already.
While your paint is drying you can begin the fabric covered mat board. Make sure the board is slightly less that 8×10 because the fabric will need space to live tucked in the frame too. Wrap the fabric onto the mat board and hot glue the long and short sides. Leave the corners for last and either fold down one side then the other or make a pinched triangle like miter cut and glue down with lots of hot glue. The fabric covered board should fit snuggly into the frame the same way the glass did before you removed it.
Next position the letter in the center of the board with hot glue. ***And here’s where Im making the safety disclosure** Hot glue is temperamental. Its not really a glue right, its plastic and when its cold it lets go of what it should be holding onto. In my practice with these initial frames I found a super easy way to make sure the letter doesnt pop off no matter what type of fabric you have tried to adhere it to. After you have the letter glued into place, turn the board over and fire a few staple gun staples through the back of the mat board, into the back of the wooden letter! Yes, its that easy. Now the letter isnt going anywhere. Put the board back in the frame, put the backboard of the frame back on and fasten it closed.
You may have a frame that came with an easel back or no easel and a saw tooth hanger. You can still hang this initial frame on the wall regardless of its backboard type. Staple your ribbon or twine to the back to use as a hanger. If you borrowed a staple gun, you might realize by now that its a really good tool to have and they are not expensive so grab one on your next trip to Lowe’s. Just remember to keep in out of reach and locked away from little hands, I even keep ours unloaded.