My youngest daughter got married last month and I now have a new son-in-law. And I thought it would be nice to put together a hand-made frame for some of her nicer photos of the two of them together. So naturally, my mind went to toilet paper. Yep. This frame is made from toilet paper tubes! Want to know how?
Oh wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. You see, since the Faux Metal Wall Art project, I have been inundated with toilet paper tubes. At least several times a week, a family member, friend or vague aquaintance will hand me a bag full of toilet paper tubes. Everyone wants me to come up with a sequel to that project. What have I done to myself? Well, the lengths I will go to in the name of artsy-craftiness.
So the idea of a Faux Metal Filigree Frame was born.
For this project I used:
A ton of patience
The first step was to take the frames apart, separating the glass and cardboard backing from the actual frame. Then lay the frames out upside down, lining up the tops of the two top frames and separating them by 3″ from each other and the two frames below them.
Once they are laid out the way you want them, cut the dowels to hot glue on the backs of the frames. This is for basic support. I didn’t want to use too many dowels as I wanted the filigree effect, so I used just enough to support the project while all the cardboard filigree is added. I cut four dowels and glued them down across the tops and bottoms of all four frames, and then two longer dowels to overlap lengthwise over the inside edges of the frames. This created a center square. (Be sure not to cover up the frame area so that you can put the photos in).
Carefully turn your piece over. It will be fragile at this moment, but as you add the filigree, it will become much stronger.
Now cut the toilet paper tubes once length-wise, then mark 1/4″ lines along the width of the tube so that your strips will have a curl. I went ahead and cut up all my toilet paper tubes, creating a pile of paper curls to work with. Set aside one toilet paper tube to cut in 1/4″ strips lengthwise to use for occasional straight pieces.
The pattern for my frame was made up as I went. I started with the centerpiece, creating a flower. I created the petals by coiling strips around the end of a paintbrush, glueing it with tacky glue and then pinching each end. The center of the flower was coiled around the end of the paintbrush and then just glued. The outer petals were created by pinching the center of the curl and gluing the ends in place. Glue the flower together and allow it to dry.
Since the dowels raised the frames about a 1/4″ above the table, I added a circle of paper curls in the center section to help support the center flower. I then glued the flower on top, centering it within the center square.
The filigree pattern that holds the frames together was made up as I went. Once a pattern was established on one side, I recreated the pattern on the opposite side.
The simplest way to do this is to curl your paper to match a finished section, then flip it over to place on the opposite side. This makes for a relatively even pattern.
Be sure to glue to the frames as you go. Once the project is complete, it is amazingly sturdy.
A final touch for the center flower to give it a little 3-D effect, was to add center petals. Cut one of the coils in an angled fashion as shown. Curl it with your fingers and glue into the center edges of the flower.
The final step was paint. My daughter and I could not agree on color. I wanted to use white to bring out the details of the center flower. She was thinking black- like the wall art that I did before. We decided to go with white and if she absolutely hated it, I would repaint it. I used white gloss spray paint and coated the frames and filigree thoroughly.
The daughter loved the finished product!
So there you go. A sequel to my Faux Metal Wall Art. And the toilet paper tubes are still being left at my doorstep. Guess I’ll have to come up with some more ideas!
If you enjoyed this tutorial, you might also enjoy some of my other Faux tutorials such as Faux Stained Glass, and my Faux Wood Inlay. Both projects take simple items and turn them into unusual pieces of art.
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