Creating a Surreal Frame



In April 2017 I plan to exhibit my painting and poster series together in a local coffee shop. The painting and corresponding poster will be hung side by side. The paintings have no frame, but the posters need some sort of support. I decided that just framing the posters in a black gallery frame was ok, but didn’t push the idea of the circus further. Where’s the fun in that??? A surreal poster demands a surreal frame.


Doodling Frames


To get an idea for the frame I got reference images and began to draw some fancy frames. I began to edit down the design because the decorative frames are very busy and would take away from the poster. This creative process took quite a while to shape up. Other factors where, basically, how much work did I want to put into each custom frame, cost per frame and building four of them in a relatively fast manner.


The frame design got pared down to decorative elements on the top and bottom of the poster frame. To get a more surreal feel, frame elements would be floating in pieces around the poster. I liked the look of the poster popping out of the frame like a box frame, so the decorative elements and their base would be applied to the back of the existing frame. Also, the frame elements would be drawn and scanned in my computer and manipulated in Photoshop. Then the pieces would be glued onto foamcore and cut out – which also called for shapes that were not too complex. I’m pretty skilled with an exacto blade, but remember, I need to make four frames for the show.

One order of Surreal plus Time Management, hold the melting clocks please.

Basic wooden 20h x 16w frame with print about to become “surrealized.”


I purchased black foamcore that I found conveniently precut to fit under my 20×16 frames. (Lucky me.) I centered the wooden 20×16 frame onto the foamcore backing and marked where it fit. The foam core was still a big rectangle, so I curved out the top and bottom corners to soften the black portion of the frame. Next I needed some decoration.


I used Mod Podge glue to adhere my printed frame pieces to the foamcore. Use a thick, good quality printer paper. I used Epson matte photo paper. It didn’t buckle with the glue. Then I put a coat of Mod Podge on top after my pieces dried to add a varnished look. Then I cut them out and attached them to the foamcore. I used both double stick tape and a liquid glue. I don’t care for things slipping out of place and the double stick tape stays put instantly, but I feel that the liquid glue makes a better permanent bond. When I glued the pieces down, I had the frame sitting in place on top of the foamcore so there was no mistake about the fit.

Here is the front without the frame.



I laid the framed print on its face and placed the foamcore surreal frame on top of it and stapled it down. Then I put tape on top of the staples so that they wouldn’t scratch my wood frames when they are stacked. Note that I cut out portions out of the back of the foamcore. I needed to do this so I could see where the frame was in order to staple the foamcore to the back of the frame.


Presenting: The finished surreal frame…. Ta Da!!!






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s