homemade good-enough frame.

There are really only three things I like to buy as souvenirs when I'm on a trip - jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and stuff to decorate my house. When I went to Russia, I brought home all three - kopeks (Russian coins) that I will someday drill a hole through and make into a charm bracelet, a Father Christmas ornament, and a beautiful watercolor that I bought on Arbat in Moscow.

The watercolor has sat wrapped up in my back storage room since I got home in February, because (1) frames are expensive, and (2) its an odd size, and custom frames are REALLY expensive.

It came with a mat, though, so I decided to make my own frame. Nothing fancy, or the least bit professional - just molding cut with a miter saw to the correct size, painted, and attached together. No glass, no backing, no inset for the frame. I figured that simple molding is inexpensive enough that I wouldn't be heartbroken to replace it later, if I so chose.

I cut the pieces to the correct size and angles using my miter box and saw, then spray painted (because I'm lazy) the pieces in a metallic chrome (which basically looks like a shiny silver). I should have primed them first, because the paint started to rub off on my fingers a bit, even after it was dry. But I figured that I would be covering it with a spray polyurethane, so it didn't matter too much.

After the pieces were painted, I laid them out on my table, just to make sure that everything matched up correctly. And I realized I had cut one of the angles wrong - my miter box must not have been set 45 degrees. Luckily, it was an easy fix - just re-cut that side and re-paint that piece.

I used L-shaped brackets to attach the pieces together. I just laid everything out and drilled a super small pilot hole (using the smallest bit I had). I was worried at first that I would drill straight through, until I realized I could just use wood filler and repaint it if I needed to. Then I used an old trick of my grandfather's, passed down from my father - if you add soap to the screws, they grip the wood much easier and are far less likely to split it.

After I got the whole thing together, I sprayed the front and back with polyurethane, and once dry, used scotch tape to attach the watercolor mat to the frame.

Simple, inexpensive, and homemade. And I love finally having this out where I can look at it every day.

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