Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mixed Media Father's Day Frame

This is my gift to my father for Father's Day.  I used his Navy graduation photo, printed it in Picasa by adding a warm 1950's glow with shaded rounded corners.  It originally was a black and white photo.  I'll explain further below how it all came together.

  I am new to mixed media and all the different mediums and their purposes.  On my first attempt (below), I used a paste to adhere the embellishments that didn't dry transparent, and I also used a clear gesso that is supposedly made to go over photos but apparently not photos that are printed on an inkjet printer.   I also cut my chipboard too small for the frame and had to add the pipes (painted straws) at the top.   This is the one I am keeping for myself; the one with the red heart on it will go to my Dad.

To make the background, I started off with a piece of chipboard the size of the inside of the frame.  The embellishments on the chipboard are so dimensional that the glass to the frame doesn't fit back on, but that's the intention.

I first painted the entire front of the chipboard with black gesso.  Then, I applied some texture paste over the stencils, dried it all with a heat gun, and repainted everything again with black gesso:

This was also my first attempt at using texture paste and stencils, thus the imperfections.

I dried the gesso with a heat gun then rubbed on some Finnabair Art Alchemy waxes with my finger:

I also painted on some blue acrylic paint but spritzed it right away with water to lighten and loosen it up.

For the frame around my father's photo, I cut two of the Sizzix Ornate Frame #2 with chipboard and glued them on top of each other for more dimension.  Then I painted on some Finnabair metallic rust copper paint, dried it with a heat gun, and applied some Crackle Glossy Accents.  I let that dry overnight.

I cut the Sizzix Thinlits Treeline and colored it with Peeled Paint distress ink.  The trees represent nature and how my Dad loved taking us all camping every summer when we were little.

All of the embellishments (gears, anchor, straws painted to look like pipes, measuring stick, and the #7) were adhered with transparent Finnabair Heavy Body  Gel which I purchased at  It was also used to adhere the designed panel to the frame.  I rubbed on some of the Vintage Gold Art Alchemy wax around the front of the frame itself.

I used the straws / copper pipes as my father was always upgrading plumbing in the house or adding to it.  My 4 sisters and I were the lucky assistants who got to help him solder the pipes.  I say "lucky" because on a few occasions we'd get hot solder dripped on our hands.  The lucky part is my brothers -- they were born 11 and 13 years after me when all the plumbing jobs were already done.

I added the gears to represent everything my father has fixed over the years such as our bikes, toys, the car; pretty much anything that broke Dad was able to fix and still does.  I don't recall ever having a repairman coming to the house to fix anything, nor a plumber nor an electrician.  Dad did it all.

The black metal measuring tape (a Tim Holtz product) has two meanings to it:  it has the 35 on it which was the year my father was born, and when I was little I would play with his fanfolded measuring stick all the time until I broke it.  I've always felt terrible breaking his measuring stick but he still uses it today, even though some of the end numbers are gone.  This is what it used to look like:

Image result for fan fold measuring stick

So that's my story and how the design came about.  I am glad the first attempt didn't turn out perfectly so I am able to keep it for myself.  Now I just have to cross my fingers that the embellishments don't fall off during shipping in the mail.

Thanks for stopping by ~~ Ann


  1. Wow! Both of your frames are amazing, so many wonderful details included! Love the backgrounds you created - I'm sure your dad will love this gift!

  2. This is gorgeous! Such cool detail and if I may say- an artistic master piece! Your dad will love- and glad you made one for yourself. :)

  3. It’s fabulously masculine yet beautiful! Your dad will treasure it and appreciate your creativity, Ann. I love that you introduced color so successfully in a manly project!