Are you snowed in, tired of winter and looking for a fun new way to use stencils and clean some scraps out of the basement at the same time?
Me too. I was especially excited to be assigned this African-inspired upcycled, rustic stenciled frames project. I have traveled to East Africa on photographic safaris with my sister and mother, and I have explored Morocco on two painting adventures with Melanie Royals. Needless to say Africa is near and dear to my heart. Paint + Pattern is also celebrating the launch of the Raven & Lily line of stencils. 20% of the net sales on this stencil collection will be donated to Raven + Lily’s charity of choice: the Tirzah International initiatives in Africa.
Many of the supplies you will need can be found in your garage, attic or craft room. Get creative with hardware too! My goal was to not go to the hardware store due to snowy weather, and I was very happy with my scavenged solutions.
Rustic Stenciled Frames Supplies
- Royal Design Studio stencil brushes and African Stencil Collection Stencils: Barka Flower, Eight Pointed Stars, Moroccan Inlay, Sun Flower, Elsabet Trellis
- Chalk Paint® decorative paint: Graphite, Old, White, Paris Gray, Clear Soft Wax, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Brush, or similar
- Scrap wood pieces, small paint stir sticks, assorted tools, Bounty Paper Towels, sandpaper
- Three 8″x 10″ photos, cardboard, and used glass from old frames
- Washers, screws, nails
Assembling the Frames
Gather your wood and play with laying out some different sizes and shapes for your frames. Consider the size of your photos and the layout you want to do with your stencil patterns. Once you cut your wood to size it is easy to assemble the frames. For my frames, I used $1 rulers to hold the separate wood pieces together.
Apply wood blue to the back of the rulers (or other pieces of wood), position, and screw or nail them into place to stabilize them further.
Rustic Stenciled Frames Techniques
I used a variety of simple stencil techniques for this project after painting the assembled wood frames.
- One frame was painted on all sides with full strength Old White Chalk Paint. For the other two frames, I diluted Graphite Chalk Paint with about 40% water and brushed it on as more of a “color wash” on the wood.
- Instead of stencil a color through the pattern, I used an easy paint removal technique also commonly know as sandpaper! With the stencil in place use fine sandpaper to simply remove the Graphite wash in the shape of the patten by sanding back through to the wood.
- Lift the stencil to see how it looks, and sand more if desired. The effect is very rustic and imperfect, which is perfect for this look!
- A really fun addition to the rustic look is to use a sharp tool to carve parts of the pattern into the wood. You can use a small screwdriver, awl, or ice pick for this step.
Finishing the Frames
- Sand all the frames on both the front and back until you are happy with the amount of distressing. Wipe off dust with a clean rag.
- Use cheesecloth or a paper towel to apply a thin layer of Annie Sloan Soft Wax overall. Wipe off excess wax as you go with a clean cloth. After the wax has dried, buff it with a soft cloth.
- Mark the position on the frames that you will place your photos. To raise the photos off the background and give the frames a more dimensional effect, place small thin pieces of wood onto the area that the photo will cover and use small nails to tack into place. For my frames, I used small paint stir sticks.
- Assemble your photos placing a piece of cardboard on the bottom and glass on the top with the photo in the middle. Place the sandwiched photos on your frame and mark two drill holes at the top and bottom about 3/16″ away from the edge of the glass. Carefully drill in the screw and washer that will hold your photos in place.
I hope this has given you some new ideas and tricks for using stencils with items you may have lying around to create your own Rustic Stenciled Frames!
For more upcycle inspiration using stencils, check out this Upcycled Jewelry Display Cabinet post. Please share and let me know what you think in the comments below!