Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Framing Cut Paper Illustrations: The Easy Method

A cut paper illustration is a pretty fragile piece of art and should be stored or framed soon after completion. When it comes to framing, you could either have a custom frame made at your local framing store or purchase a shadow box. I will be sharing two tutorials to frame a cut paper illustration with a store bought shadow box. The first is what I've called the Easy Method.

In short, the "Easy Method" consists of making a cut paper illustration in the dimensions of a pre-purchased shadow box! End of tutorial... just kidding!  But, seriously, framing your cut paper illustration yourself will be much easier if you design your cut paper illustration in one of the commonly available sizes: 5 x 7, 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 10 x 10, 11 x 14, 12 x 12, and 16 x 20.

For my Singing Bird cut paper illustration, I selected an 8 x 8 shadow box frame. This particular shadow box holds 3-dimensional objects up to 3/4 inch (2 cm) deep.

Removing the back of the frame reveals a smaller inner frame that holds the glass in place. This inner frame is removable and has outer dimensions of 8 x 8 inches. The inner dimensions are 7 5/16 x 7 5/16 inches.

The background of the cut paper illustration should be cut to the 8 x 8 outer dimensions of the inner frame. Important: But the actual illustration must be contained within the 7 5/16 x 7 5/16 inner dimensions of the frame. Otherwise, part of the illustration will be smashed by the inner frame. Here you can see that all of the components of the Singing Bird end just as they touch the inner frame. 

For a nice finished look, I added a paper frame around the illustration made out of watercolor paper (you could also use poster board). To make this paper frame, start by outlining the inner frame onto the paper. I outlined both the outer and inner borders of the frame.

Then decide how much of the illustration you wish to overlap with the paper frame. I made mine 3/4 inch from the outer edge of inner frame.

Cut out the center square, then cut out the frame.

This is what the paper frame should look like. I wanted a smooth edge on the inner border so I ran my burnishing tool all around it.

Using a hot glue gun, glue the paper frame to the inner frame. You only need a few dots here and there.

Place the inner frame back into the shadow box frame with the paper frame touching the glass. Place your illustration inside the frame and close the back.

All done!

In my next post I will be sharing a method for framing a cut paper illustration that does not share the same dimensions of a store bought shadow box.

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