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Making Driftwood Picture Frames by Distressing New Picture Framing Timber
A driftwood picture frame is an elegant solution where you desire a unique emergency frame with timeless appeal. One technique you can explore when framing your pictures is using reclaimed wood or driftwood that you have collected, but often driftwood is not available to everyone, so you can try to create the look with new wood that you can get from your local hardware store. shop.
Making a frame that looks like driftwood isn’t hard, but it does take some time and experimentation. All you have to do is visit your local hardware store and get some plain hardwood lumber. Sometimes you can get the wood already in the profile of the picture frame, and other times you may need to make a rebate or groove to accept the glass, backing and picture. You can then crop it to create a picture frame to match your photo or artwork.
Now, the way to make a new picture frame look like it’s real driftwood is to start with raw wood and then use different materials and tools to distress the surface of the wood.
The first step is to fill any imperfections or nail holes in the frame and sand them back for a perfectly made frame. The point of trying to make this frame look recycled or worn is that the finish mimics a weathered old look. To achieve this you can use a number of tools including chisels, rasps, any jagged pieces of metal you have, bunches of keys and all sorts of things that can be used to put different marks into the wood for a more natural look.
Start by digging in and making some holes and rough marks in the wood. You can scrape it with a surfform rasp or a cheese grater and you can leave it pretty rough, don’t try to smooth it. The idea is that you uncover the grain. Be careful to avoid the inside edge where the image fits, as this is a fairly thin and fragile area. Just focus on a greater distance from the field of view. Try to create a sort of random bunch of holes all over the surface of the frame, and then start nicking it and using various metal objects and tools. Any kind of rough metal tool can be used to apply texture to the frame.
Continue scraping along the batten, remembering that you are trying to mimic the natural look of reclaimed wood. Now when you get into the corners, you’ll need to use something a little pointy to get right into those corners. A good tool for this is an awl or a small gouge. You can use sharpened screwdrivers and old tools that have an unusual surface. You can use bundles of nails which work quite well, especially if you glue a lot of them together. Use your fingernails to scrape into corners and other tight spots.
After you’ve examined the frame well, what you want to do is look at the entire frame and step away from it. Look from a distance and see what the overall effect is. You don’t want anything either. The look has to be random and the texture wants to look natural. Take your time because you can always add more work. You can go back and you can cut off pieces, you can add more little holes and knock out the holes with nails.
After a while you have a hairy, hairy kind of wooden frame with all sorts of shavings hanging from it. You can then burn the cuts with a torch that will burn some of the wood shavings. In other areas, you can increase the grain by moistening it with water. Water causes the wood fibers to swell, creating a different level of texture.
Sand the frame with different grades of sandpaper, trying to preserve the textures you created during the painstaking process. The sanding is to add some areas of smoothness to the frame and add more detail to the complexity of the surface.
Once you’re happy with the overall texture you’ve created, you can add several coats of thinned gesso or thinned white paint to give you a lime finish. Don’t worry if the white paint catches some of the charcoal left over from the burning process, as it contributes to the grayed driftwood effect you’re trying to replicate.
After the paint dries, add different colors of wax crayons or other pigmented oil pastels to the frame molding sections. Mix some of these colored layers with old kitchen wire, steel wool or different grades of sandpaper.
Look at the frame from a distance to see if the finish is what you want.
Soften and blend the tones in the frame with additional sanding or rubbing with wire or steel wool.
If you are satisfied with the appearance of the frame, you can finish the surface with a light coating of a good furniture wax. For a higher level of finish, you can dust powdered rot or pumice into the wax before it dries. Apply the wax with a clean cloth and after enough time to dry you can polish the surface with a polishing cloth.
Your frame should then have a natural warm finish ready for your image to be placed.
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