Does it ever frustrate you when you order standard size photo prints and the picture has to be cropped to fit the standard size? Well, it frustrated me too until I found AdoramaPix which prints photos in non-standard sizes without charging an exorbitant amount.
I was looking to create a gallery wall and ordered different sized prints from AdoramaPix. Once the prints arrived, the search for photo frames for these “non-standard” photo prints began. I was able to find inexpensive photo frames for most of my non-standard photo prints. However, one size proved particularly difficult; which was 6×9.
Photo frames for 6×9 prints were definitely available however none of the frames cost anything less than $24 – $ 25. I had 5 – 6×9 prints and just did not want to spend $130 on 5 photos.
This was my ‘DIY‘ moment!!!
I had read about the color washing technique which is used to stain wood in any color without having to be restricted by the wood stain colors available in the market. I bought a pack of 5 – 8×10 wooden panels from Amazon. As I wanted a black / brown color scheme for the frames in my gallery wall, I color washed the wooden panels with black soft acrylic paint.
While the black color, is possibly a wood stain color normally available in the market but I really wanted to try the color washing technique and so did not even bother researching if a stain color exists in black! 🙂
Start by sanding the wood panels with a 220 grit sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain and finish sanding with the 320 grit sandpaper. This is an optional process. I noticed that sanding some of the panels made the wood break and did not have the smoothing effect I expected. If you are sanding, vacuum the dust after sanding and completely remove all dust from the wood panel and the surrounding area.
Now, take the paint you have chosen for color washing the wood and dilute it with water. The ratio of paint to water will depend on the color you wish to achieve on your wood panels. The more the dilution, the lighter the color will be. Please remember, it is always easier to darken a color wash by applying multiple coats as compared to trying to lighten a darker color wash.
I used the ratio of 1:1 of acrylic paint to water. If you are using Interior Wall Paint, please use the ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 for Paint: Water. Once diluted, apply the paint mixture liberally on the wood panels using a paint brush or sponge brush. (See picture below)
Let the paint sit on the wood panel for 3-5 minutes. Now take a clean rag and wipe off excess paint, in the direction of the wood grain.
Let the wood panels dry for 1-2 hours. The panels should be bone dry before you apply another coat. If you want to apply another coat, repeat the above steps, of applying the paint mixture, letting it sit for 3-5 minutes, wiping off excess and letting it dry. Apply as may coats as you require to achieve your desired color.
I applied 3 coats of color wash. (See Pictures below)
Once you have finished the color wash and the wood panels are dry – you can protect the panels with a protective finish. I did not use any protective finish on my panels.
Originally, I had decided I will glue the prints to the panels with super-glue or something similar. However, my husband was dead against the idea – he wanted the pictures to be removable so that when we get bored of these pictures we can swap them out with new ones. He has on many occasions made my projects much better than I had originally planned :p…..
… So we set out to the local craft store to search for a solution which would help us stick the prints to the panels and also be removable. Lo and behold, we found Transparent Restickable Tabs by Scotch.
Stick the tabs on the back of the photo prints and then stick the prints on the wood panels.
I added the brass thumb tacks to add a pop of color and texture in the photo frame / mount. The thumb tacks are placed just outside each corner of the photo print, thus the photos stay intact and without any holes.
If you feel like the photo is unprotected and needs a protective film over it, you can cut a transparent card stock to 1-2 cms bigger than the size of the photo print and put it in place over the photo with the help of the thumb tacks.