Gouged Frames

If you’re into crafting, you are probably well acquainted with the basic wood craft frames that are out there; they are the staple of many kid-friendly class projects and they are super inexpensive. I’ve been experimenting with wood these days — trying to come up with an easy way to create relief patterns. I discovered that the wood used for these frames is soft enough to gouge with a blunt object (like a metal knitting needle). Once I found this to be the case, I started testing out different ideas and came up with this project. I like it because it is easy to do, very inexpensive (aside from the $0.99 frame – you probably already own most of the supplies), and it’s quick – there is no drying time. I think most kids (2nd grade and up) could do this.

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My kids and I made these with kitting needles and crayons - so easy to do.

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Our designs were inspired by fabric.

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For this project you will need: a wood craft frame (available at craft stores), crayons, a large metal knitting needle, a paintbrush and a hairdryer (optional).

Family Chic Frames

Using your knitting needle, gouge your design into the wood. You'll use firm pressure (as if you were writing an angry letter to someone). We did our pattern free-hand, but you could draw out a template on paper first and use it as a guide to trace your pattern.

Family Chic Frames

We drew in lines and pressed in holes to create our patterns.

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Using a crayon, color in your frame. Work in one direction first, then go over your strokes in the opposite direction so they cross. This deepens the tone of your shading and helps to bring out the recessed details.

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After you've colored your frame, brush it off with a paintbrush to remove any crayon dust. At this point, you can stop here or take it to the next level by adding other colors.

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To add color, just rub other colors over your pattern. It helps to be strategic about your placement of color at this stage as it will help to add visual depth and will highlight certain areas. Once you're happy with your coloring, blow a hot hairdryer over your frame for a few minutes -- this will help to blend the colors and create a glazed finish.

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The layering of color isn't necessary - these look great either way - it's just a matter of personal style.

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Your design can be quite simple, like this one - I took inspiration from ikat fabrics.

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This is a perfect project to work on with the kids -- it's inexpensive, easy, safe, fun and different. Give it a try and let me know how yours turn out.



Comments (6):

  1. Tina

    January 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I think this is a great project for my son’s class for Valentine’s Day gifts for their Mom.

    • camilla

      January 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Tina, I think their moms would love to get these and the kids will have fun making them. Thanks, C

  2. teresina

    January 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I love it. An easy project to do with kids

  3. catie

    January 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    i’m filing this one away for mother’s day!

  4. David

    January 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    These look awesome.

  5. valerie

    January 11, 2013 at 3:11 am

    This is great, I’m going to do this this week end! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Comments are closed.