If you're like me, you have pets and want interesting, creative frames that are more than 4 sides and a hook. Well, look no further! I have been creating my own dog frames for years. You can use many different materials such as wood, metal, cardboard, leaves, etc. Here are a following of the ideas I have used and brief instructions for each.
I love working with metal,Ã‚Â let's look at aÃ‚Â piece of 4x6 copper or silver sheeting that you can buy at any hobby store. Using a black Sharpie pen, draw the area you want to cut out. If you are drawing a basic rectangle, you might want to use a ruler to measure from the edges so that each side is equal distance from the middle. Depending on your abilities, you can either choose the square, or get creative and draw an organic shape or even the shape of your pet. You may want to put removable masking tape over the face of the frame before you start (this will help cut down on scratches during the building process).
You can use a hammer and nail to puncture a hole in the middle. The raw edges will be sharp, so you should wear some type of work gloves that allow movement and grip well at the same time. Thread the blade of a coping saw through the hole and reattach it to the saw handle. Some people might want to use a stationary vice to hold the metal stable while cutting.
Once you have cut out the middle, decide if you want to further shape your frame. You can use the Sharpie to add jagged edges, or curved corners. Again use that coping saw; it will give you the smoothest edge of any saw.
When you are finished cutting, use a small, fine-grainÃ‚Â metal file to smooth out the edges. When using any metal, be especially careful because it will scratch easily. After the filing is done, take a fine grain sandpaper and finish off the sharp burs or edges that are left over.
If you want to add texture to your frame face, you can use engraver's punching alphabets to spell your pet's name, the date, a funny phrase, etc. These sets are fairly inexpensive at most hobby stores. Check out jeweler supplies websites such as http://www.contenti.com/products/art-clay/091-293.html, they have a large alphabets size set for about $20.00, or youÃ‚Â if you are feeling particularlyÃ‚Â crafty, tryÃ‚Â hand-written engraving usingÃ‚Â a tool such as the battery-operated engraver shown on this site: Ã‚Â http://www.shop.com/Personal_Engraving_Kit_2_piece_set_-119416912-p!.shtml.
Another idea for texture is using a hammer to make impressions from the back side of your frame. Turn the frame face down on a towel so it does not get scratched! For example, take a small dog bone shaped pet ID tag and hammer its impression into the frame.
You could also take that same dog bone shape or fire plug shaped pet ID tag and engrave your dog's name on it and then solder it to the front of the frame. Get creative, use left over scraps of the metal of your choice and cut out shapes such as a ball, car, tire, or dog house to add to the front of your frame.
You can attach heavy cardboard or a second, uncut (unless you shaped the frame around the outside edges) piece of matching metal. Take an awl or metal punch and punch two holes at the top of the frame by tapping with a hammer. Use a round metal file to clean the holes so they won't be sharp inside.
Next, you can solder a small hinge at the top center of each plate for a smooth finished product. Or you can make your own hinge by threadingÃ‚Â two small jeweler's loops at the top of both plates and tap them back together once they are threaded through both plates. Take a 1-1/2-inch strip of the metal you are using and bend each end 1/8" of an inchÃ‚Â from the end to form a flat "U" shape. Set the frame inside the "U" shape and your frame will stand up. You mayÃ‚Â need to take a small hammer and flatten the part that actually sits under each edge of two pieces of metal so that it conforms to them more readily and sits in a more stable manner. Ã‚Â An alternative is to solder a small chain to the bottom of both ends of the front plate. Join the two chains in the center of the bottom of the back plate (this only works if both plates are metal). If you don't want a hinge, just lay the two plates together and put them inside a "card" stand available at most office supply stores in the printing center.
If you like wood instead, just remember to use balsa wood (for beginners) and a small blade jigsaw for your cutting. You can glue shapes to the front of the frame and use small picture frame hooks and/or hinges to display the frame on a wall or table. The neat thing about wood frames is that you can paint them any color and add colorful pre-cut shapes that are available in most scrapbooking areas of hobby shops and dollar stores.
Now look at your finished product, put it on the TV stand or wall, etc. and wait for the compliments to roll in. You friends and guests will be sure to want one for their own pets. And the best part is...you can tell them you made it yourself!