Merry December 26th! I’m still in a giving spirit so here is a little bonus for you that is more of a hack than an actual craft. Spiffing up and reinforcing cheap poster frames with colored duct tape!
If you or your progeny received an inexpensive poster sometime in this gift giving season you may be tempted to put it into an inexpensive frame. I completely understand this thinking as a mom and as a consumer. As a certified custom framer I hate it. These thin poster frames are hard to work with, don’t look very good, and offer NO protection for your artwork, and in fact the ones that are backed with cardboard will actually damage your art over the course of a few years. If what you have has any sort of sentimental or monetary value, please talk to a frame shop that specializes in conservation framing. Such as your local Michael’s Custom Frame shop. Shameless plug, I know.
Now that I have lectured you on protecting valuable art, I’ll let you in on how I do up cheap frames for my 5 year old’s room since they may not hang for more than a few years. The super cheap frames you can find are cheap because they are cheaply made, thin black plastic sides that slide on and off of the sides of the frame. What I hate about them is that the corners NEVER line up right and sometimes with the slightest tug they pull right off.
My suggestion is to grab a roll or two of colored duct tape that coordinates with your poster when you get the poster. Once you have the poster sandwiched between the polystyrene plastic top sheet and the cardboard backing piece and the sides back on with the corners lined up as well as you can get them, grab your tape. Tear or cut off a couple of strips that are the same length. Tear or cut these pieces length wise. If they aren’t the exact same width, no problem
Then line up the ‘clean’ edge of the tape just inside the edge of the frame.
Then fold the tape to be perpendicular to the first side. The tape will tend to pleat naturally, and this is just fine.
Line up the second side just inside the frame. Smooth tape and fold under (pardon the bump in mine, I fixed it after the picture.) Repeat with all corners. I like to reinforce the corners of the frame to be sure it doesn’t try to slide off. Repeat with all corners.
Like I tell my customers, the first place a cheap frame will fail is the hangers attached directly to the backing of a frame instead of the frame its self. I like to reinforce this part with a little tape.
I like to put accent pieces of tape along the sides of the frame to punch it up a little. Just cut or tear pieces of tape the desired size and tear in half lengthwise, similar to the pieces that were for the corners. Simply line up the clean edge of the tape with the inside edge of the frame and fold the rest of the piece around to the back of the frame.
While this may be my least favorite way to do things, it is definitely the way to save money on framing a poster for a child’s room, especially if you’re not sure if the poster will hang for more than a few years anyway. There are so many colors and patterns of duct tape (whether you go with Duck Tape or an off brand duct tape) that you can certainly come up with something fun.