Practicalities of doing up small spaces in your home design

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

Picture frames

Professional frames are expensive but worth it for valuable pictures. It is also advisable to have a picture professionally framed if the sides are longer than 1 m (3ft) because a frame as big as this is difficult for a beginner to handle.

There are various types of framing kit available, offering a choice of assembly, finish and color, the main drawback being that most of them are comparatively small. One of the cheapest is in the form of an acrylic box with a close-fitting piece of board to hold the picture in place. When finished, this has no visible frame. More sophisticated kits contain pieces of frame, mitred corners and clips, and fastenings to hang the picture from,- check whether you have to buy the backing board and glass separately.

Sandwich framing

An alternative to conventional framing is to place the picture between a sheet of board and a sheet of glass or acrylic, and to simply clip the edges together. This is quite easy to do at home because you can get the glass and board cut to size when you buy them and there is no complicated cutting or assembly.

Spring-loaded clips are available from art shops and framers. Clip sizes vary and should suit the thickness of the combined backing board, glass, picture and mount. Metal or plastic mirror clips, sold by glass merchants, ironmongers and DIY shops, can be used as well.

To fit spring clips:

1 Push a spring clip over the backing board on all four edges. Make a pencil mark where the inner edge of the clip meets the board.

2 Measure between the pencil mark and the edge of the board. Drawl lines this distance away and parallel to all the edges.

3 Make holes with a bradawl on the lines you have drawn through the smooth side of the board, a quarter of the board’s width from each corner.

4 Place the glass, mount and board face down on a cloth. Fit the spring clips so that the inner ends notch into the holes made with the bradawl.

Panel mounting

Cheap prints, labels and other paper ephemera can be mounted directly onto chipboard panels without glass.

1 Cut the panel to the size of the item and smooth the edges with sandpaper.

2 Chamfer the edges with a plane and fill them with cellulose filler. Rub down with sandpaper when dry.

3 Paint the edges with emulsion. (Black is the most popular color.)

4 Mount the picture onto the panel, using the ‘wet mounting’ technique (see below).

Wet mounting Paper expands when it gets wet, so handle it with extreme care and practice first on something unimportant.

1 Size the cardboard or chipboard backing board with smooth wallpaper paste.

2 When the size is dry, moisten the back of the print with a damp rag then dab with blotting paper or tissues until the print is limp but not wet.

3 Brush a thin coat of wallpaper paste over the back of the print.

4 Lift the pasted print carefully by the top edge. Align the bottom edge with the edges of the backing.

5 Lower the print onto the board as evenly as you can.

6 Cover the print with greaseproof paper and smooth it with a dry sponge, working from the centre outwards to remove any air bubbles and wrinkles.

7 Remove the greaseproof paper and wipe off any excess paste.

8 Cover the print with another sheet of greaseproof paper and a sheet of card. Weight down until dry.

(Large prints may buckle the backing board as they dry. To prevent this, stick paper roughly the same weight as the print onto the back of the board, using the same technique.)

Hanging pictures

– Use nylon cord or 3-ply picture wire (not string) knotted into D-rings, screw eyes or back hooks.

– Screw eyes are suitable if the moulding of the frame is thick enough to take the screw without splitting.

– For heavy pictures, use back hooks and screw them to the back of the frame mouldings.

– Hang pictures on picture hooks (sold as single or double hooks). These come complete with fine masonry nails that can be hammered into the wall.

– For concrete walls or walls which have been given a concrete coating to prevent damp, use special plastic hooks with three or four short, needle-like nails to hammer in. Beware with these because the nails are intentionally very short, which means they may become dislodged if pulled.

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