Tuesday, December 13, 2011

easy way to frame kid art- no mat required!

with 12 days until christmas, i thought i would show you this super easy method for framing kid art, or really, any kind of flat artworks.  i love, love, love art made by kids.  and with a nice frame, it can easily be transformed into an awesome wall piece and/or a great gift!

i am going to show you this using these two pieces my sons made recently to go in their space-themed bedroom.  they started out drawing on cheap printer paper.  when they informed me they wanted to hang them in their room, my mind quickly started churning on how to make the pieces more substantial.  printer paper is not exactly high quality.  so i had them cut out the items that they had drawn on the printer paper, and then we glued the scene back together on black card stock.  once on the black, i had them draw in some embellishments with white crayon.  here are the results.  so quick and easy, and what a difference!

by zane age 6

by zac age 3 1/2

because of where these were going to be hung, i knew i did not want heavy frames.  so i found this 2 pack on sale at michaels for pretty cheap.  buy whichever frame you think will work best with your artwork.  what you want to do is buy the next size up from the size of paper your artwork is on.  so, the boys pieces were on standard sized paper, which is 8 1/2 x 11.  therefore, when i bought the frames, i bought the next size up which was 11 x 14. 

turn the frame over, open up the back, and take all the pieces out, except for the glass.

take the colored paper that was in the frame as advertisement and flip it over.  usually the back is a solid white.  if for some reason the back of this paper is not in good shape, you can easily cut another piece of white paper (or whatever color you choose!)  in that size.  you can use the paper that was in the frame as a guide by tracing it.  mine was good enough to use the back, so i flipped it and put a little bit of masking tape on each corner of the printed side.

then flip it back over and secure it to the masonite back-piece of the frame.  next, flip the artwork and put a little tape on those four corners too.  flip the artwork back over, center it, and secure it in the middle of the white one on the masonite.

now, many times with these cheaper frames, some genius puts a sales sticker right on the glass that doesn't want to come off.  and that was the case here.  i keep a bottle of goo gone spray gel in my studio for just such cases.  spray the sticker and let it sit for a few minutes.

then use a knife or razor blade to carefully scrape up the sticker and adhesive.  i use a palette knife.  make sure you clean the glass off with a little glass cleaner when your done to remove any traces of the goo gone because it is pretty greasy.

place the clean glass back in the frame, and then flip the artwork that is now attached to the back-piece over and slide it back into the frame as well.  push all the holders back in place, and voila!

inexpensive, easy, and no mat required!   i think it's a great way to preserve treasured artworks, decorate a space, and/or give a wonderfully meaningful gift!  

wishing you all a very merry christmas!



  1. The drawings really pop on the black paper! They did a great job & I bet they are proud to have their own artwork on their wall!

  2. They look great. One of my fave pieces of art is by my son and it's framed and in his bedroom. I'm not sure when he created it so I wish I had put the date on the back of the frame.

  3. Interesting! While I like what you did with their art work, I guess I have mixed feelings about this...and I'll leave it at that....

  4. Spoken like a true photographer, Dave. I am very aware that this "cheap" framing is controversial in the contemporary art world. I have artist friends who would hate this. A few years ago, I would have hated this! And I certainly don't recommend it for a gallery. But, I have learned the hard way not to put anything nice or expensive in my boys' room. LOL! I think this is a good solution for that. Thanks for the comment!

  5. I love this idea, a child's picture though they may look crude to us, are memories of development and sources of pride for the child and their parents. I am about to frame some of my daughters first paintings. I hope they last the test of time.


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