Fancy Framed Pinboard

My best friend of 17 years has the same birthday as me (fun fact: I am 5 hours and 1 minute older than her) and this year for our present exchange I decided to make her gifts since I had the time because I wasn’t working (and therefore also trying to be frugal).

I found this great frame and lamp base at a local op-shop and got to work. The frame was a great find. The satin flower print was horrible but the frame was metal and in great shape. I thought about getting mirror cut for it but in the end I decided to make a pinboard with some leftover cream hessian (burlap) from my chair upholstery adventure and a corkboard I had left over from my pin board art. The bestie has a fondness for pinning interesting and inspiring little snippets on a mood board so I thought this would be a nice version for her new apartment.

The lamp was an easy spray paint job and you can find a more detailed tutorial for that here.

To make a Fancy Framed Pinboard you will need

Frame with backing

Matt black spray paint

Spray adhesive


Hessian (you could also use calico or canvas or any sturdy fabric)


Exacto knife


Staple gun or hot glue gun

Take the backing out of the frame. Clean and dry the frame and spray with 3 coats of spray paint, letting each coat dry before the next.

Using the backing as a guide, cut out the shape of the corkboard to fit the frame using an Exacto knife.

Cut out two pieces of hessian in the same shape.

In a well ventilated area, glue one piece of hessian onto the corkboard using the spray adhesive and the glue the next piece on top of that.

Using the staple gun or hot glue gun, attach the ribbon in whatever design you like by wrapping it around the hessian covered corkboard and securing it at the back.

Attach it to the frame and you’re done!

Don’t you think this one looks a bit like a Victorian brooch? I was tempted to keep it for myself!

The lamp (although I think it was quite nice to begin with) also got a chic matt black update.

And the birthday girl? She loved them!

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Eye Chart Art

My second project using my bargain frames (as seen in my previous post) is Eye Chart Art. At the moment there is a definite trend for typography as art, as well as medical/zoological/geographical (I don’t know what the kids are calling it) stuff. You know, skeletons, specimen displays, animals, science-y things, maps, pages and images from encyclopaedias and manuals, taxidermy. Stuff. I don’t know what a collection of this stuff is called but I see it everywhere. And I like it. I’ve seen vintage eye charts used as art and last week I stumbled onto this custom eye chart maker and played around with some wording. For us I chose a Jimi Hendrix quote “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” (that I had to slightly alter because I only could only use a limited number of characters in the eye chart maker).

I also used the idea to make a housewarming present for some dear friends who moved into a little love nest together over the weekend. Posting about it kind of spoils the fun when I give it to them but whether they look genuinely surprised or not will tell me if they really read my blog…and whether I need to rethink their description of ‘dear friends’. Hmmmm.

For them I chose the title of a well know Madness song and the date they moved in. ‘Welcome to the House of Fun’ is a tribute to what is to come as I have no doubt many a fun night will be had in their new digs. In typical maddy style, once I had taken the photo I realised that the date is meant to be 120512 not 120520. I’m eight years too early. Perhaps I’ll just hold on to this and fingers crossed they move house in 2020. Or I might just print out a correct version but for the sake of not having to do it right now, it stays.

Once I generated the eye chart I saved it as a JPEG to my desktop and opened it up in Microsoft Paint (as you can see my use of technology is very sophisticated…) and used the eraser function to remove the URL that appears below the chart. This project took a whopping 10 minutes which consisted of 8 minutes to choose the wording, 1 minute to erase the URL and 1 minute to print it out and stick it in a frame. Such little effort for such a good result. My favourite kind of project!

To save you having to dust off Microsoft Paint, here is a JPEG of the Hendrix quote – enjoy!

Faux antique bust silhouettes

Try saying that 5 times fast.

This week’s projects have been inspired by two things. A gift from Dave and some bargain picture frames.

Dave bought me a beautiful framed vintage print for the lounge room which prompted some slight redecorating. I love how one new thing can make you want to redo an entire room! We finally moved the TV from above the fireplace mantle (the fireplace is now unfortunately a pretty ugly gas heater) so we could use that as a feature in the room, as well as the bookcase. Usually the heart of a room is where the warmth comes from and so I was never happy with the mantel being just a shelf for the TV and sound system (and subsequent power cords – my pet hate!). I decided to look online for fireplace decoration inspiration and Design*Sponge did not disappoint. Check out this Sneak Peek: Best of Fireplaces or search for fireplaces in the Design*Sponge search box for more recent ones. I even Google Imaged (is that a verb yet?) ‘design sponge fireplace’ and some were so gorgeous and chic I almost cried! I did what I could with what I had at home but I have big, big plans for my fireplace. I am even trying to brainstorm a way of temporarily covering the ugly brown brick work – we rent so can’t do anything permanent.

Inspiration number two came from a local homewares/warehouse type place that had lovely thick, black frames for $5.99. While finding my fireplace inspiration I came across a few framed antique bust silhouettes and mentally added them to my ‘Current Obsessions’ list (see below for the list of things I really want and hope to acquire by stumbling across them at a garage sale or junk shop). When I found these frames I decided to remove them from the list and try to make my own faux antique silhouettes.

First I thought about making my own silhouettes from profile photos of us but I couldn’t find any profile photos of me. Then I remembered why – I don’t like my profile! So I scrapped that idea and again sought the help of my trusty friend Google Images. I couldn’t find any royalty-free images that fit the bill so I found some photos that were taken of antique silhouettes and slightly altered them. I’m not sure if I have breached copyright here seeing as the silhouettes are from the 1800’s but the website they came from is not but in any case I’m not selling them so I don’t think it is a huge issue. (If any of my lawyer friends think otherwise – call me!)

Once I altered them I printed them out with a laser printer onto textured paper and then stained then in a mixture of 1 shot of strong coffee with about a cup of water for 30 minutes. As you can see from the photos it made quite a bit of difference to the colour of the paper. I then dabbed off the excess coffee with paper towel and dried the prints with the hairdryer. This caused them to kind of shrink and wrinkle ever so slightly which, I think, added to the ‘antique’ aged look I was going for. Excuse the photos – the lighting after dark is terrible in the house. I blame the energy saving globes.

So there you have it, my very own set of ‘antique’ busts to adorn my newly decorated fireplace mantle for the hefty sum of $11.98.

I bought 4 frames and only used two for this project. Stay tuned to see what I did with the other two. Excited? Me too.

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