This happened this weekend:
No, I didn’t color a pastel map, that came as-is. Instead, I built a frame and shelf combo for a map of the good old U.S. of A. After hanging out rolled up in my mom’s office for a few years, this laminated map made its way to our house for the cuties. An oversized map is pretty exciting for two young kids – mini-Christmas! Instead of just throwing it up on the wall, we thought it would be more fun and useful to frame it and add a little shelf. Off to Home Depot . . .
I picked pre-primed pine boards in 1×2 for the top and sides and 1×3 for the shelf. To make sure items did not fall off the shelf, I chose a stick of lattice to create a lip. Because this map was destined for my son’s room, I went with a glossy navy in an effort to tone down the pastel map. I wasn’t too picky about the exact shade of blue, so when I found this pre-mixed can of navy blue paint in gloss from Rustoleum, I was sold.
When we got home, I opted to paint the boards before cutting them to size. I figured they’d need a few coats (navy going over bright white primer typically does) and it was easier for me get a couple of coats of paint on the boards before I put the frame together. This paint is awesome. It is really thick, goes on well with a brush, dries super fast, and is a great shade of blue. With two kids in tow at Home Depot, I really appreciated not having to spend time picking the perfect navy and then having it mixed – the pre-mixed solution was perfect. After only one coat, it looked like this:
I did two coats before cutting the boards for my frame. When cutting, I used the map dimensions as my measurement guide. To give the frame depth, I planned to put the short side of the board against the wall so the frame would stick out a little more. I started by cutting the shelf and lattice. To make sure they were exactly the same length, I clamped them together and cut them at the same time.
Next I did the side and top boards, making 45 degree cuts for the corners for a more professional look. Those angles are pretty easy when your saw does the work for you!
A couple of technical notes about sawing.
First, it isn’t always the best choice to paint before cutting, but in this case it worked really well. When I put all the boards together, I only had to do one thin top coat of navy paint for the project to be complete. The boards didn’t chip too much when I sawed them and where they did (ahem, lattice, I’m talking to you), it was pretty easy to do a light sand and the one coat of paint covered any chipping.
Second, when sawing long boards, I find it helpful to use a support to keep the board level with the base of the saw. I typically grab whatever is handy, in this case, a can of Benjamin Moore tester paint.
Third, wear safety goggles! I just bought myself these new ones so was pretty excited to wear them for this sawing adventure. Maybe they can double as sunglasses? Ha!
After sawing was complete, I laid out the boards to make sure everything fit. But the front lip looked a little unfinished.
So I cut small pieces of lattice to add around the sides, making the lip wrap around all three non-wall sides of the shelf.
Then I glued and nailed all the pieces together. I used a T-square to make sure my angles were perfectly square – no one wants a wonky frame. Then I did a final thin coat of paint over the whole thing to blend in the seams and cover any tiny chips. I didn’t even bother to fill the tiny holes from the nail gun – you can’t see them with the dark paint unless you are really looking hard.
To attach the map to the frame, I just used a regular stapler, which was fast and easy. So here is the map, showing it in with potential use of the shelf (okay, it is sitting on the floor because I finished it up well after the cuties’ bedtime, and didn’t want to nail it up in the middle of the night).
This project only took a couple of hours of time, although for me it took an entire weekend between the shopping trip, paint and dry time, parent activities, and a date night. But the end result was worth it. A fun and functional update for my cutie’s room!
Anyone else building picture frames, trying out the Rustoleum paint, or buying yourself some new safety goggles? If you haven’t tried the paint yet, I highly recommend it (and I have zero affiliation with Rustoleum, just wanted to share a product I like)!