Monday, November 14, 2011

The Painting Frame

A few months ago I bought a painting on eBay by Cheng Xi, a member of chinese painting's association and supposedly a famous artist in china.  I looked up the name on the net and sure enough there was a Cheng Xi with exhibits in various  galleries around China, but as to how famous who knows.  Doesn't really matter though as I simply liked the painting and thought it would look good in the living room.  Even better was the price.  Not very often one finds a painting they like for a good price, but then again everything from China seems to be pretty cheap to buy.  Granted a lot of it is knockoffs, but if it looks good I really don't care or functions properly I don't care.  This particular ebay store sells from various artists in China and I will probably buy from it again as there are many great paintings there.  Anyone interested the store is at

So at any rate I got a beautiful, signed, watercolor for $3 + $15 shipping.  Overall not to shabby for a painting that was 26" x 56" and needed a custom frame to hang.  Granted I didn't know about the custom frame at first.  Only after I received the painting did I find out that Moncton and the surrounding area did not sell frames that big.  To make matters worse they wanted nearly $300 to make one!!!  I don't know about you, but I am not spending $300 on a frame for a $3 painting!

So at this point I decided to make my own.  Now normally I would buy some wood, stain, Plexiglass, backing, and build one myself on the cheap.  However there were a few things against me in completing that endevour.

For starters I no longer own the needed tools (router, routing table, skill saw, etc...)
I live in an apt so even if I had them where would I use them and how pissed would the neighbors be?
So how about working with materials I don't need to create and only need to cut with a dremel tool?

Crown molding cost way more than it use to.  I was looking at nearly $200 for enough for the frame of the style I liked.  Even the cheaper stuff was around $5 a foot!
The plexiglass that use to be dirt cheap was now nearly $100 for the size sheet I needed!!!  A few years ago it would have been about $15!  What happened there!!!

So ok... How about cheaper...  I looked into various ideas and came up with this:

3 - .5 cm foam board project boards $3 ea
4 gauge vinyl sheet (3m x 1.7m roll tons left) $6
12 - 24" poster hangers (used 11 and a bit) $2.89 per pair
Packing tape to connect the foam board
2 pin curtain hangers (The ones you pin to curtains to hang then where the pin part is like a nail) Free as had them already.
50' roll of wire to hang the thing. $2.89
Two picture hangers to nail into wall (free as had them too)
Total = about $33 - $35 with tax...
Total size 27x53.5
Overall was a pain in my ass to make and took six hours due to the damn poster frames having a vice like grip!  Trying to fit them onto the rest was.... challenging to say the least.

Still in the end the result is pretty dame good.  I will put up a tutorial of how I did it later under tutorials and I will include my other ideas as well for easier alternatives, though costlier..

Also since building this I was told about a couple of hidden suppliers in the area that would have been cheaper for what I needed so I may rebuild this someday in the near future.

At any rate here is the final result!

Overall I am pretty happy with it, though my camera could use an upgrade as doesn't take pics in poorly lit rooms very well.   Maybe I will pic up one of those 14MP ones at XS Cargo for around $50 someday.

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