Monday, June 7, 2010

Use Those Family Photographs

In the May Issue of Shades we discussed using our family photographs. One of the most basic ways to use a family photograph is to frame it as a gift. I have been looking for a new and creative way to frame a family photograph as a gift.

I attended a professional framers show and something caught my eye. I'm sure you've seen them, a piece of art in a white mat with lines of different widths surrounding the opening. The image displayed also had decorative square corners. I stopped and spoke with the framer who had done the mat to ask him how he had accomplished the look.

The decorative squares used in the corners was a stamp he had purchased at a local stamp store. The lines were drawn with a professional framer's tool called a ruling pen. This process is called French Matting. French matting is pale washes of color surrounded by ink lines and known as the hallmark of European mat decoration.

Ruling Pen

I loved this idea! I could see it being used so many different ways. So, I purchased a "How-To" video, Windsor Newton Acrylic paints in several colors, a corkbacked ruler, the stamp from and a ruling pen at a local drafting supply store (ruling pens can be purchased online for as little as $8-$9.)

I then purchased several plain white smooth mats for practicing. It takes practice and a steady hand, but the finished product is beautiful. There are so many inspiration sites online, run a Google search for French Mats or check the list at the end of this article. I started with a very basic one line one stamp style.

Additionally, the bevel can be painted and watercolor wash can be added between the ruling lines. The sky's the limit. I am having a great time learning this new method of making our family photographs look wonderful as gifts.

The next step will be to add decorative papers. I'm not there yet, but I will let you know how I progress.

Watercolor Mat

When I give a gift of a framed photograph I print information that is attached to the dust cover on the back of the frame. Below is the information I included with a gift of a framed photograph of my husband's grandmother for one of our children.

Information On Back of Framed Photograph

The picture of the little girl with her dolls is the photograph that has been framed. The information relates to the little girl. Trust me, this takes almost no time at all, and will be appreciated for generations to come.

Ruling Pens:

Green & Stone

French Matting Kits:

French Matting Kit

The kit includes: Instruction Video, Acrylic Ink, Ruling Pen, Corked-bak Inking Ruler, Corner Marking tool, Tube of Watercolor Paint, Sabeline Lettering Brush, Mechanical Pencil, Two Rag Matboards, One Rag Mat Instruction Booklet. $29.40


Picture Framing Magazine


The Framer's Workshop
GJ Cloninger & Co.
French Matting On Flickr
Artisan Framing
Google Images

Art Stamps:

Photograph in the collection of the author.


Anonymous Carol Yates Wilkerson said...

I love the look this gives to a photo. I'm such an old stick in the mud though, I never think to 'cut off' any part of the photo. It's more artsy looking to do so though, isn't it?

June 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

You know me, I'll try anything once. And yes, I guess that's what they call it, artsy.

I spend a lot of time in framing stores. They are such creative places. I look at things and wonder how they'd work with an old photo.


June 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Hi - I have another idea for you that I did a few years ago with mats for some old photo's of my Mom and her Sisters. I'll try to take a couple photos and put them on FB.

June 7, 2010 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Yes, please. I love ideas! -fM

June 7, 2010 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Thanks for this post and tip. I'm definately going to try this and purchase the kit!

June 8, 2010 at 3:16 AM  
Blogger Elayne said...

I love your blog, your third cousin Elayne

June 8, 2010 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, thank you so much for the link, it's very cool! :) Your inspiration "French Matting on Flickr" is my work...the name of my business is Jodie Prymke Fine Art Framing, from North Adelaide, South Australia. Web address Cheers, Jodie

June 12, 2010 at 2:33 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home