While Mario and I were in Rome last month, we stumbled across a beautiful gallery – I Colori di Dentro – which showcased the work of Maria Grazia Luffarelli.
Maria’s prints were so vibrant, I fell in love instantly. We were leaving in 2 days and had literally no room left in our suitcases, but I had to bring home at least a small memento of this beautiful artwork. We bought a small print on wood for my mum, and I contented myself with three postcard-sized prints on beautiful textured card. One of the first things I did when we got home was whip up some frames so that I could display them on the wall.
You might remember my prior experiments with frame-making from last year. I was really happy with how those frames turned out, but I wanted something completely different this time. I raided my garage, and found a long piece of patterned moulding that I bought maybe 3 years ago, just because I thought it was so pretty. The textured pattern on the moulding also gave me an excellent idea – it was perfect for trying out the Annie Sloan chalkboard paint and dark wax that I bought earlier this year. The paint is seriously expensive, and I hadn’t had the nerve to try it yet. Luckily the colour that I picked – Florence – worked really well with my prints. I should mention the place I bought it from, because it was awesome – Reluisant, in Tyabb. You should definitely check out their website and/or shop (Tyabb is on the Mornington Peninsula).
Using my (rather pathetic) mini hacksaw, I cut the moulding to shape, and glued my pieces together. I had to use some putty to fix up the corners nicely. Have you ever tried to make a precise cut with a blunt hacksaw and no clamps? I wouldn’t recommend it, personally.
Once the glue was dry and the wood putty had hardened, I painted the first layer of chalkboard paint. I learned that it is very important to stir the paint well before using it, and keep stirring every 10 minutes or so, or else it is a bit thin in consistency. I did a couple of light layers of paint, because I didn’t want the paint to fill up the textured grooves in the moulding. Annie Sloan’s chalkboard paint is water-based, which was great because I managed to get it all over my table.
Once the paint was dry came the part I was super excited about – applying the dark wax. I used a soft cloth, and applied the wax liberally. I rubbed pretty hard over the embossed areas to get the dark wax in to the grooves. It instantly transformed my frames from fairly amateur-looking pieces into something with a lot more depth and character. I am still so in love with how they look.
I made some simple mattes for the prints using cardboard and white cotton. I just love the softness that a fabric matte brings to a frame. You can see in the photos below that the dark wax changed the colour of the original paint quite a bit. I was photographing the frames below in a dark-ish room – they are not quite as green as they look. The photos also don’t do justice to the prints – it was just too difficult to photograph the detail of the frames, and maintain the vibrant colours of the prints (at least for my iPhone). But rest assured, in real life they are just gorgeous. :)
I love being able to admire this small memento of our trip, and I am so keen to try out some other uses for my Annie Sloan paint. When I come up with a plan, you will be the first to know! x