Thursday, November 12, 2009

As Promised, The Final DIY Polaroid Framing Project

Phew, after all the fun of Polaroid Week, all the blog posting, and the opening of my current solo exhibit, I needed to take a break. But, I promised one more Polaroid framing craft. Here it is... a couple of days late...

My neighbor recently opened a hair salon and she needed art. She came over one night to flip through my MANY Polaroid transfers and made a pile of the ones she liked. We started talking about how she wanted to display them... matted? Framed? Something creative? She remembered she had an old multi pane window she had brought home from the family farm. I own a mat cutter, I custom cut all of my mats, and I have PLENTY of scrap mat. I aim to use recycled items in my work so I was excited to create a unique photo gallery out of scrap mat and an old window. I love working on new projects and am confident enough to jump in with both feet even when I am not sure what to do. It all worked out this time and what I learned I will now pass along to you...

How-to Turn an Old Window Frame into a Polaroid Transfer Photo Gallery

What you will need:
- Polaroid transfers or Polaroids or whatever photos you want to use
- Archival mat board
- An old window frame
- UV resistant spray
- Newspaper
- Boot/Shoe tray (optional)
- Photo mounting tape or corners for affixing the images to the mat or you can use low tack masking tape if you don't care about it being archival. You will also need masking tape for taping the mats into the frames.
- Old wallpaper
- Spray glue (I use 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Spray Adhesive)
- Two screw eyes
- Wood glue
- Picture framing wire

1. Select your images. Lay them out on the boot/shoe tray on newspaper and spray them with UV Resistant spray (I use Kryon Gloss) according to the instructions on the can.

2. Clean your window frame to the extent you would like to. We liked that our frame was rustic and worn so aside from a quick wash we used it as is. In the end even the old paint splotches on some of the panes of glass enhanced the over all look of things.

3. Cut the outside of your mats to fit in the window panes and cut the mat window to the correct dimensions for the transfer. I would love to give an online tutorial on mat cutting but since it completely depends on what type of mat cutter you own, I can't. Cut your mat according to how you mat cutter works or Google "How to Cut a Window Mat" and you will find some information on how to do it simply with an Exacto knife and ruler. I use archival mats as other types will eventually ruin your images, since the acid will eat away the parts it touches, sometimes within mere months.

4. Using photo tape, or corners, or masking tape, tape your images onto your mat. (I used masking tape, which is not archival, because my friend may remove the images at some point. She didn't want me to use a permanent method to affix them but wanted to make sure they would stay put in the frame. Sometimes photo tape loses its grip and images can shift out of the photo corners...)

5. Fit your mats into the panes so they rest flat against the glass. Using masking tape, tape the mat into the frame. It is ok for the masking tape to be on the mat, even though it is not archival. Continue taping row by row, checking the front from time to time to see how things look.

6. I like to give the back of the frame a nice finish by covering it with old wallpaper I buy it at the thrift store. It is another way to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I used spray glue to attach it to the back of the frame (and I always try to spray this glue outside). This stuff is STICKY so if you don't have someone to help you you can put clothespins on the bottom edge of your wallpaper, hold the top edge with one hand and hold the spray can in other.

7. In order to hang your frame, measure out and mark where you want the screw eyes to be inserted. For added strength, I like to put wood glue on the threaded ends of the screw eyes before screwing them in. You do not need to drill holes first, just take the pointed end of the screw eye and start screwing it in. If your wood is very hard you can tap on the head of the screw eye with a hammer to get it set into the wood before turning.

8. Measure out your picture framing wire, leaving enough extra so that you can wrap the ends around the wire, after passing it through the screw eye head. For added strength, you can thread the wire through the screw eye head twice, by looping the end back through after the initial pass. Wrap the loose ends back on each other.

Et voila! You are now ready to hang your photo gallery on the wall. Whoot whoot!

Done and hanging on the B-Towne Salon wall. Thanks to Brooke for the chance to display my work in a new way.


Jessica Rogers said...

I adore this idea! And it comes at a great time for me. I've been asked to sell some of my work at a local consignment store and needed an inexpensive way to frame several pieces. I wanted to have a great look but not spend a lot of money.

I'm going thrift store hopping today in search of possible frames! Thanks so much!!

Tiffany Teske said...

Hi Jessica! I am thrilled that you were inspired by this project. Sounds like serendipity! Best wishes to you in finding frames and in selling a ton...

Anonymous said...

Hi Tiffany!!
I LOVE this project and can't wait to make a masterpiece of my own! As a total newbie-what would you recommend for a text on polaroid transfers? I love the ones you did of Tia and have always thought they were so very cool-do you have a page of directions? Items needed? Any help on this would be wonderful. As always-I completely respect you as an artist and definitely understand if you would prefer not to share your art secrets :)

Hope all is well with you and your girls(SO CUTE) and Andre :)

Danielle Peterson

readingsully2 said...

Very interesting post. :)

Tiffany Teske said...

Hi Danielle! Thanks to you and ReadingSully2 for your comments. Danielle, I am sorry to say that unless you already have the equipment for making Polaroid transfers and a stash of film, you will probably have to complete a project like this using just regular photographs. It will cost you about $250 in equipment, called a Daylab, which they still make, and I can give you all the info on buying one (I would buy one new, even if you can find a used one since it is hard for you to know if it is in good working order). Then, Polaroid quite making 669 film early this year and it is getting harder and harder to find. I think you can find some on Ebay but the longer it is expired the trickier it can be for a novice to work with. And it is not cheap. Fresh film was about $2 a piece. And now, the scarcity has cause the prices to go high for crazy Polaroid obsessed people like me. I used to teach workshops in this process. Generally, participants would get 10 pieces of film to work with and they might bring home one decent image. The learning curve is high and you throw away a lot of money as you practice (which is like a lot of things). So, if none of this puts you off of wanting to learn, I can let you know where to get a Daylab, how to try to find film, and some good books. The best news is that there is a company called PolaPremium that is manufacturing some Polaroid films for artists (again not cheap) and there are other companies that also want to start making Polaroid again in the future. I hope they do as I love to teach this process. There is a Fuji instant film I have not worked with that can produce similar results but sounds like it is pretty involved according to all I have read.

Another thought is this. I do have some film left, it usually takes me 2-3 tries to make a good transfer, and you could send me digital files of what you want me to make into transfers and I will. They would be $40 a piece, for my time, materials, know-how. I sell them for between $35 - $45 when I have a show or sell on Etsy.

Or you can do an online search on how to digitally manipulate an image on PhotoShop to look like a Polaroid transfer. There are plug ins out there that will allow you to preform this sort of application. I don't know anything about it, as I am such an analog photographer, LOL! Please just email me or leave another comment if I can help more. Always great to hear from you!!

Humanette said...

that is so great that you documented the whole process. you make it look easy! well done! And I imagine the good taste that goes up at the salon should bring them good customers ;)

Tiffany Teske said...

Thank you for your comment, Humanette! Welcome and hope to see you around here and to check out your blog...