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In this issue:

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Extreme Framing

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Those who have met us at Diyframing know how mad we are. We have attracted a certain group of people who egg us on and being stupid 40 something juveniles we jump to the challenge.

Bringing fun into framing is what we are all about whether you are a professional or hobbyist enjoy and even join in on our exploits there is a £100 gift voucher for every worthy entry we feature each month so get climbing, swimming, roller skating or whatever takes you fancy to become one of extreme framing's elite.

To enjoy our first video and extreme framing production please click on the link below then to start the video click on the arrow in the centre of the screen. Please leave any comments or ideas for new ventures on the youtube comments board


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Developing Your Framing Skills

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In the same way that we have improved our presentation of the moulding section of our site, we are currently reviewing how we show the full training programme to our members and customers.  One area we know has been confusing is access to the next layer of courses  that follow our "entry level" workshops (Basics of Framing and Mount Cutting & Decoration).  Because we run the "development level" courses as part of the Business Week, it has made it difficult for people to find out a bit more about individual sessions and what sort of people will benefit from them.  In fact each course, not only teaches skills applicable to specific areas of art, they also greatly increase your repertoire of skills, so that finding ways to deal with other bespoke work is much simpler.

3D Framing - is ideal for those of you interested in finding ways of framing memorabilia and items that need depth behind the frame. Whilst we specifically look at how to build a box that the item is mounted and presented in, we also deal with essential skills, such as how to support and sew items onto a presentation board and how to create box style mounts.  At the end of the training people leave with their large 3D Frame and knowledge of how to frame such diverse things as: sports jerseys; mugs; combination of golfing memorabilia; cricket bats; books and so forth.  Click 3D FRAMING for more detail.

Next course: July 10th, Beaconsfield

Conservation Framing - this works for anybody doing bespoke work either for themselves or others.  It is important to recognise that this type of work is not restoration work and can be undertaken by anybody working carefully, employing the correct knowledge base.  The training is based totally on the Fine Arts Trade Guild standards for Conservation Work.  It means that you will learn about procedures and materials required to preserve the condition of any special work.  This does not mean purely expensive pieces: it can also include items such as a wedding photo of grandparents that cannot be reprinted or a friend's signed painting (could be the start of an amazing career).  Apart from the obvious things it teaches, the day also gives an overview of other methods of attaching artwork onto board and best quality work methods elements, any of which you might use with any bespoke framing project.  Apart from anything else, you really do discover a deeper insight into the range of creative and practical skills used by framers working at a top, professional level. Click CONSERVATION FRAMING for more detail.

Next course: July 11th, Beaconsfield

Framing Fabric - this will clearly appeal to those of you working with your own fabric based artwork whether sewn, painted or using ethnic styles of working (Batik etc).  Its central feature is how to prepare work for mounting and framing.  The main input is to demonstrate a number of methods of securing work onto a firm panel, using methods (lacing, pinning), which suit the style of artwork and which leave your work undamaged.  It then means that we can let the creative juices flow to generate a whole range of methods of presenting the artwork.  If you want to have a truly creative day, then this will suit, because you really get the chance to develop a project how you want, using the trainer's expertise for guidance.  In its simplest form, you could bring a simple printed fabric and leave with a beautiful piece of artwork that will have interior designers beating a path to your door. Click FRAMING FABRIC for more detail.

Next course: July 12th, Beaconsfield

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Chop Service ... a pat on the back

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There has been a real upsurge in orders for mouldings since we redesigned the web pages.  Not so much based on direct feedback, much more on orders placed, the new design is much clearer and is obviously providing you with the detail you need to make the right choices.  A number of you have already found the "pack order" service invaluable, but the meteoric rise of a little star (sorry about the mixed metaphors) is the use of the chop service. 

There are advantages of this type of service.  For some it will be because you only do occasional framing and by ordering pre-cut lengths of moulding, it means that you won’t need to buy one area of kit right away: saws and mitre trimmers.  It also makes framing even easier as a table-top activity. Some of you will want to do most of their own work, but some mouldings may be a bit too heavy, wide or ornate to work on with your current set up.  A third group will be those, who occasionally use an expensive moulding and therefore are a little bit wary of making mistakes - at £1.00 per corner it works out cheaper than messing up with a £7.00+ per metre moulding.

One definite convert is Paul Blanchard, who does do his own framing, but currently does not want to carry a wide range of stock.  Here are his comments about the chop service.

"Hello all, sorry you've not been able to get hold of me but I've been on the dreaded night shift! (I do have a 'normal job too!) Just taken delivery of yet another big box! So I thought I'd give some feed back for the first lot of chop service mouldings - superb!  Well worth a quid a corner and the time saving is great.  Definitely the way to go for me as I don't (can't!) hold any stock. That’s not to say I won't be making any frames from scratch though. I have been buying moulding oddments … great for one off jobs... I've attached a few pictures of a job I've just finished for a friend (with the last order of mouldings), he's a rock climber (as am I) and wanted these sunset pictures doing - they look great don't they?"

IMPORTANT NOTE: the largest length we can package for sending out in the chop service is 1.4 m OUTSIDE EDGE.

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Back To Basics

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Many people find out about DIYframing from web searches or exhibitions and start off mainly being interested in mounting their own work.  They take a more detailed look at DIYframing on line, receive a few newsletters and start to be consumed by an overwhelming urge to take a step further, leaping into the world of framing (that's how we like to see it anyway). However, it really is daunting knowing what to do first.  So here are some notes for guidance.

To start with you need to think of the tools you could use to start with, at each step of the process.  For details of individual items, click on highlighted words and phrases. 

  1. MOUNT CUTTING: The simplest method is to use the Logan Team System, which is basically a special rule onto which a simple mount cutter can fit.
  2. CUTTING MOULDING: a good quality saw which allows you to cut mouldings at 45 degrees - we stock the Nobex Proman and the Logan ProSaw 
  3. CLAMPING; there are several systems for clamping all 4 sections of moulding together st the same time (Adjustable Four Corner Clamp or a Strap Clamp) ready for joining.
  4. JOINING: a simple joiner system is the Hobby Joining Kit or the next step up is the Studio Joiner, which is also incorporates a high quality clamping system. 
  5. GLASS & BACKING BOARD: glass cutting really isn't difficult especially when using a good quality glass cutter. Two other alternatives might appeal more. The first is to use a perspex alternative (Styrene) which is easily cut using a special cutter (Fletcher Score Mate).  The second option is to use a glazier to cut glass to your specification.  A simple craft knife, rule (use the Logan adapt-a-rule for safety) and you can easily cut MDF backing board to fit. 
  6. ASSEMBLY: use either the Logan Frame Fitter or the Charnwood tab-gun to keep all layers of the framed package in place.  Use Kraft tape (or similar) to seal the back in place and then d-rings (or screw eyes) and hanging cord and it is ready to hang. 

For more details click The Basics:Starting in Framing for a suite of articles to help with early stages.


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Canvas Stretching

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There are a few places left for our 2 day special CANVAS FRAMING SPECIAL:
16th & 17th June 2007, Nuneaton (also easy access from Birmingham Airport)

The first day teaches you about basic framing methods before taking you into a second day, specifically looking at how to build stretchers, attach canvases to them and learn how to add different types of frame.  The days have been praised for providing an essential knowledge base for those working with photography and many artists wanting to produce more dramatically proportioned artwork.  If you have already learnt how to make frames, sign up for the second day (click) Stretching & Framing Canvas Based Artwork.

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Unsung Heroes

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We feel it is our duty to bring you the less pretty items of kit, which do very sensible work, as well as the superstars (mitre trimmers and gilt creams). Here are two of the "back room boys" of the framing world.

1 Dustcover and Tape Trimmer: hidden in the depths of the accessories area of the virtual warehouse is this little gadget.  Simply apply Kraft tape up to the very edge of the moulding and then run this cutter along the edge of the moulding to remove a strip of tape, leaving it 3mm in from the edge.  Similarly, if adding a dust cover, this will ensure you have the cover paper evenly placed across the back.  How neat is that!

2 Packaging Pack: there are so many reasons for using these items.  Taking pieces of work to an exhibition, returning work to customer or packaging items as gifts, you will need to prevent scratches and damage to corners.  This pack has everything you need to get your work mobile.  Not only is it practical, it also makes the returned work look professionally produced (yes, some people can be that easily fooled - didn't mean it, I am sure all of your work is absolutely perfect).

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Black Bushed In Belfast

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Further explanation of the heading later. We had a brilliant time in Belfast and thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many friendly and interesting people in such a short space of time. The exhibition at Kings Hall in Belfast was our very first effort in Ireland. While the Stitch & Creative Crafts show provided us with a familiar (to us) means of getting to meet the Irish market, we also recognise that there are other shows and exhibitions for photography and art work that might be better for us to attend if we are to meet even more of you. Please let us know (info@diyframing.co.uk) if you have any recommendations for other shows and/or organising groups, which might help us to get that direct contact.

One of the reasons we had to postpone the full tour is that we have not found the best way of letting Ireland know about our training. Again we will be working on that. However, the Belfast weekend was brilliant. The group we had over the two days produced some stunning work and again reflected the range of people we have at these sessions. We had experienced, amateur photographers framing their own work for hanging and exhibition, as well as people setting up a commercial gallery, needing to know how to frame work for sale as well as offering a commercial, framing service. In fact we had students join us from the Republic of Ireland as well those from the north. This lent an even greater continental feel to the weekend. In addition to the Parisienne feel of the café culture of the Lisburn Road, basking in summer-like conditions, we also had to operate a bureau de change trying our hardest to convert prices into Euros.

Which brings us to the Black Bush element of the title. All of the staff at DIY Framing like to steep ourselves in the many and varied traditions that the culture of a local area has to offer. This doesn't always mean we attach bells to our ankles, quaff real ale and leap up and down banging sticks together (although one of those elements may be true). No, we will often dine out indulging in regional specialities. However, after a hard day at work, time is short and the specialities have to be shoved in to a short space of time, ok! On this occasion, we had heard of Champ (mashed potato, cream and spring onions) and Bushmills Irish Malt.

We had a wonderful evening meal of something with the aforementioned tuber based delicacy. We then headed downstairs for part two of our cultural odyssey. Still keen eyed at this point, we spotted a black label version of the targeted malt, tipple - Black Bush. Now, although still in the UK, nobody mentioned to us about the different (larger) measure size. To cut a long story short (mainly because that is a version we know), we showed our cultural appreciation right through the evening. The young lady serving us throughout our voyage of discovery complimented us, the following night, on our calm air of dignity and great savoir-faire. Of course the sturdy stools and solid oak bar did supply a supporting role. And, of course, nobody got to hear the very giggly phone calls made, to respective spouses, in the last throws of the evening.

Anyway let that be a warning to all fellow cultural travellers!

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Thank you for your continued support.

Until next time...


May 2007

With the brilliant weather we have been having lately it is difficult to remember that we are still only in spring.  However the holiday season is coming up fast and no doubt the cameras and paint palettes will be out to capture the perfect scene.  Many of you will also be bringing back holiday souvenirs, which need to be framed, so that you can show off your framing prowess as well as turning a commemorative tea towel into a valuable piece of decorative art (we've all done it ... ok well maybe it's just me, but it does work).  To help with the extra skills you need for this type of work, this edition carries a reminder of some of the courses we run, which cater for just such framing emergencies and challenges.  We also give a snapshot of a very hot visit to Belfast (just the weather!) and give you a customer's perspective of the chop service we now offer.  For those of you quite new to framing and a little unsure where to start, now you have visited the site, we give you some ideas to ponder. And, as always, we bring you some of fresh items for your workshops.  This time we have some hidden heroes of the framing kit ... less flashy items that don't cost a fortune, yet make some bits of the framing process a little less fraught.


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