DIY Concrete Picture Frame

Ever since completing our concrete bookends, we’ve been dying to make something else out of concrete. It’s such a lovely material to work with, with endless possibilities and this time we decided to make a concrete picture frame.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

The principles of making this DIY concrete picture frame are the same as the concrete bookends that we made, but it is much more involved – mainly because you will have to make the mould for the frame. None of the steps are particularly difficult, but it does take a bit of time.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

If you’d like to make one of your own, here’s how we did it. (Don’t be put off by the amount of supplies and tools you’ll need, you probably already have most of them lying around).

This is what you will need:

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

For the concrete mixture:

  • PVA
  • Plasticiser
  • Cement
  • Sand (not shown)
  • Water (not shown)

For the concrete mould:

  • Wooden Base, preferably sealed – we used an old door that we found for £2 in the Ikea bargain corner)
  • Timber offcuts
  • Silicone
  • Screws & screwdriver

For the frame:

  • Stripwood
  • Wood glue
  • Old dry cleaning coat hangers or any other wire
  • Two sheets of picture frame glass
  • Tape
  • Picture hangers

Tools & General Supplies :

  • Scales (we used our kitchen scales)
  • Bowl for mixing the concrete
  • Sieve
  • Plyers to bend wire
  • Saw (we used our mitre saw which we’d recommend, but you could use a mitre block and handsaw)
  • Tape-measure
  • WD-40

This list seems long, but making the frame is actually pretty straight forward.

This is how to make it:

As a general overview of the process involved, you start by building the mould for the concrete. This consists of an inner and an outer frame. The concrete is then poured into the area between the two frames. Then after a bit of waiting, the concrete dries, you can remove the mould and frame your art.

#1 Prepare your mould

Start by building the outer frame of the mould. For this you will need your base (ours had a smooth formica-y surface, so we weren’t too worried about the concrete sticking to it) and strips of wood. They should be as wide as you’d later like your frame to be thick.

Cut them to size so that you can build a rectangle on your base board and fix them into place. We used scrap bits of wood that we screwed around the edge to insure that they couldn’t move.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

#2 Seal the outer frame

To make sure that no concrete can escape through any little gaps, we sealed around the inner edges where the base board and frame meet with some silicone. This probably wasn’t a necessary step, but we just wanted to make extra sure no concrete could escape.

#3 Prepare your inside mould

In the same way that you prepared the mould for the outside of the frame, you can now prepare the inside mould. Cut your strips of wood to size and screw them onto the board. Make sure that the distances from the inner edge of the outside frame and the inside frame are equal on all sides. This time we mitred the corners as the concrete will run up to them and we didn’t want any raw edges.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

#4 Prepare the second frame

This is where things get a bit more complicated. You can already see the part of the mould where you’ll later be adding the concrete, but in order for you to be able to hold the glass, you’ll have to build a little ledge in the concrete for the panes of glass to later sit in front of.

It sounds a bit more complicated than it is. If you were to cut through the frame, this is what it would look like.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

For this ledge you’ll have to make two separate wooden block frames – one will be the mould for you to pour the concrete against and one will be the frame that, when the frame is finished, sandwiches the glass into place. The frame that you’re using as a mould will have to be higher than the frame you’ll be using for your finished concrete frame because it has to include the thickness of your panes of glass.

#5 Prepare your reinforcing steel

Without going into too much detail, concrete is strong in compression but has almost no tensile strength. That’s why concrete is usually reinforced with steel, which has great tensile strength.

Bend a wire rectangle to the size of your frame. Double check that it’ll fit inside the area of the frame where you’ll later be pouring the concrete (you really don’t want to be messing when you’ve mixed your concrete) and place to one side.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame - Filling

#6 Prepare your concrete

We used the same concrete recipe that we used for our concrete bookends. Weigh out your ingredients as exactly as possible. The ratio of sand to cement should be 60% to 40%. In addition, we used a few more additives like plasticiser (4%), PVA (4%) and water.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

In numbers, this is what we used for the frame.

  • 2520g Sand
  • 1680g Cement
  • 66g Plasticiser
  • 66g PVA
  • Water (the exact amount will depend on how dry your sand is)

Start by combining the sand and cement. We sieved the concrete, to make sure that the mixture is completely lump free. In a separate container combine the plasticiser, PVA and some of your water. Then, combine the two mixtures along with more water and mix well. (You want the mixture to be quite stiff and not too sloppy. The plasticiser allows you to use less water than would normally be necessary.

#7 Fill your mould

This probably the nicest part of the whole job. Start by spraying your mould with WD40. It’s probably not needed, but a bit of extra slipperiness can’t be a bad thing for later on when you remove your frame from the mould.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame - Filling

Then you can start to fill it with concrete. Just work your way around the mould, making sure that you press the concrete into every last corner of the frame. After filling your frame about 1/3rd of the way up, place your wire rectangle into the concrete, then continue to add the concrete till the mould is almost full.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

Now place your inner wooden frame into the mixture and squash into place. It’s really important that everything is level (this will be the back of your frame). Add the remaining concrete and fill your mould so that it’s completely full to the top.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

#8 Wait for a little bit

After an hour or two your concrete should have set a bit and be firm to touch, but not solid. Now it’s time to add your frame fixings. You won’t be able to screw into the concrete when it’s set, so you’ll have to attach them now. Just measure out exactly and screw them to the concrete.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

#9 Wait some more

Don’t be tempted to remove the frame from the mould until your concrete has completely set. It just won’t be firm enough and will crack if you move it too soon. Even when you think your concrete has set, give it an extra day or to just to make sure that it’s set all the way through. We waited about 4 days before we even considered removing the mould.

#10 Remove your frame from the mould

When you’re 100% certain that the concrete is completely solid, you can start to remove the pieces of your mould. Be really careful, as the edges and corners will be delicate and can easily break off.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame - Removing Frame

#11 Add glass

Add your first piece of glass (we had ours cut at a picture framing shop for just a few pounds) and then add your piece of art before adding the second piece of glass.

#12 Add your wooden frame

Now it’s time to add the second wooden frame that you prepared. If you’ve done your calculations right everything should be flush.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

Now all that’s left to do is tape the wooden frame to the concrete frame to hold the glass in place.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

We’re really happy with how it turned out. Yes, there are a few little imperfections and a few little air holes where we didn’t compact the concrete enough, but we actually really like it because of the little imperfections.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

It has a lovely rough and industrial feel which contrasts really well with the delicate watercolour art (it’s the skyline of Manchester) in the frame.

DIY Concrete Picture Frame

Now all we need to do is find a place to hang it!
Have you ever made anything out of concrete?

From Door To Door

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about our interior doors by now – we’re definitely sick of restoring and writing about them but, as we’ve finally managed to completely finish all of them, we just had to share a few before and after pictures with you!

This is what our hallway looked like on the day we moved in.

Hallway Before

Besides from the hideous brown Artex walls, green ceiling and cheap laminate flooring, our original Edwardian doors (and staircase banisters) had been boarded up and covered in more layers of yellowed glossy paint that could even be counted.

DSC_3508

After some painting, restoring the staircase and sanding the floorboards, it was already looking a lot better, but the original Edwardian doors that we found under the boards were in a really poor state.

We’ve still not quite finished, but it’s already come a long way and this is what it looks like now!

Edwardian Hallway Progress

As you can see, we changed the layout ever so slightly through moving the kitchen door further forward into the hallway to create a larger kitchen on the other side.

Most importantly, we finally finished stripping, sanding and painting the kitchen door.

Edwardian Door Restoration

Although we decided to go with a natural, waxed finish on all of the upstairs doors, in the end we decided to go with a painted finish downstairs – partly because we already spend hours stripping, sanding and repainting the living room door, but also because we think the white doors will look better with the colours of the walls we have chosen.

But, that’s not all we’ve been stripping, sanding and painting! We finally got round to restoring the dado rail and skirting, too.

Just in case you’re wondering why we bother going to the effort of stripping and sanding everything before repainting it, this is what our dado rail looked like before starting to work on it.

Dado Rail Before

It was just covered in layer upon layer of paint. After a few hours of messy stripping and sanding our hallway looked a bit of a mess,

Dado Rail Before

but our skirting and dado rail were already looking a lot better.

DSC_1533

And after a few coats of paint, it’s almost unrecognizable.

DSC_2491

Obviously the walls still need to be skimmed, but it’s already looking a lot better than it was.

It’s hard to tell on the pictures, but in real life it’s made such a huge difference to the feel of the whole hallway. It just all feels much cleaner and brighter.

Oh, and for the first time in 4 years of living in our home, we have door knobs on every single door! Amazing, right? Isn’t it funny how the things that most people take for granted are sometimes the things that make the biggest difference?

Edwardian Door

Have you added or changes something little in your home that made a huge difference to your life? Have you ever stripped old paint of woodwork?

DIY Magazine Holder

As you know, we love to transform, restore and repurpose things, so when we were invited to take part in the Renovation Sensation challenge hosted by Direct Blinds, we of course jumped at the chance to get creative!

And this is what we decided to transform:

DIY Magazine Holder

Whilst it’s a nice table (it’s the middle one of a set of 3 nesting tables) it is fairly boring and was just screaming out for a fun makeover.

And this is what we came up with. A DIYmagazine holder – table thingy.

DIY Magazine Holder

If you’d like to make your own magazine table, this is how we made ours.

#1 Prepare your table

As always when we buy a piece of old furniture from a flea market, reclamation yard or antique centre, we start by giving what we’ve bought a good clean. Often the furniture is fairly dirty and in addition to the build-up of grime, there’s usually also a load of old furniture polish and wax on the item, too.

DIY Magazine Holder

We’ve tried different methods of cleaning furniture over the years, but we now always use sugar soap to clean things. It works so well when scrubbing old furniture and really gets rid of all dirt and old polish.

#2 Take your table to pieces

We decided it would be easiest to take the table to pieces, cut everything to size and then put it back together again.

DIY Magazine Holder

Our table was a simple construction, so all we needed to do was to separate the top from the legs.

#3 Take your table to pieces some more

Our plan was to be able to use part of the table as magazine storage and part of the table as a little side table for putting our cup of tea (okay, who are we kidding – for putting the glass of wine).

Having worked out what would work best for us, we decided to saw the table top exactly in half – one half will still remain a table top and one half will be removed for the magazine storage.

DIY Magazine Holder

At this stage, with everything still in pieces, we also prepared the grooves for our dowels which will rest on the edge of the table with the leather straps for holding the magazines wrapped around them.

DIY Magazine Holder

For this, we used a Forstner bit with the same diameter as the dowel (ours is 25mm) we’re using and drilled semi-circles into the edge of the supporting frame.

(Because of the way our table was constructed, we had to make the supports for our dowels out of some extra pieces of wood. If the frame that supports the top of your table runs all the way around you can just drill the grooves for the dowels into your existing table.)

#4 Put everything back together again

Now that you’ve finished chopping your table to pieces, give everything a light sand and another quick clean to make sure it’s free from dust and dirt. Then put the table back together again. As we didn’t have to remove the central support at one side of the table, we figured that it was still fairly stable, so relied on some good old wood glue to glue things back together again.

DIY Magazine Holder

#5 Construct your magazine holder

While you’re letting the glue holding your table together dry, you can start to construct the part of your table that will hold the magazines and books.

DIY Magazine Holder

Cut the strips of leather (or fabric) to the required length. At one end, make a loop that will fit around your dowel and secure it with grommets or, like us, by sewing it together (we used orange embroidery thread to match the orange paint). Repeat the process on the other side of your strip of leather. You’ll have to do this with every strip of leather or fabric you are using.

#5 Painting & Waxing

We love to paint things. It’s something that is so easy and so effective. It can transform something that’s often drab and boring and giving it a new lease of life.

Having already given everything a light sand, this step couldn’t be easier.

DIY Magazine Table

As always, lots of thin coats of paint are much better than one thick one, as it gives you a much more even finish with no visible brush strokes.

When your paint has dried, you can move on to sealing it with a few coats of wax. Use a clean rag to apply a thin coat of wax. Rub it evenly over your piece of furniture and wait until it has almost dried. Then use another clean rub to buff the surface. If necessary (and if you need extra protection) apply a second (or even a third) coat.

#6 Add your magazine holder

Now all that’s left to do is add you magazine holder. Slot the dowels with the leather strips onto the prepared grooves and add some of your favourite reads.

DIY Magazine Holder

#7 Enjoy!

DIY Magazine Holder

We went ever so slightly over the £100 budget. Having said that we did end up buying 3 tables (we used the middle one) instead of just one, so still have one small table left that we’ll probably be using as a bedside table in our spare room and we donated the3rd table to our local charity shop.

DIY Magazine Holder

Cost breakdown:

Nest of Tables £40
Paint tester pot £3.50
Wooden dowel £13.25
Leather strips £42.20
Rivets £2.37
Cleaning supplies with sugar soap (already owned) £0
Wax (already owned) £0
Wood glue (already owned) £0
Total: £101.32

DIY Magazine Holder

Depending on the table you’re using, your construction may vary a bit, but the principals will be the same. (We also ended up using some cotton webbing instead of the leather strips, as the leather that we ordered was accidentally sent in the wrong colour and just wouldn’t go with the orange table.)

DIY Magazine Holder

We always have a load of magazines and books lying around, so having somewhere to store the ones we’re currently reading was the perfect project for us to tackle.

Have you ever upcycled a piece of furniture? How do you store your magazines and favourite reads? What’s your favourite piece of functional furniture?

Gorgeous Garden Goals*

With so many improvements going on in and around the house, sorting our garden is usually something that tends to slide way down the to-do list, but with summer finally in swing and the sun making the odd appearance, it’s inevitable that our thoughts turn to improving our outdoor space.

One of the main things we’d like to do (in addition to finally adding a garden fence and a new driveway and gate) is remove the old paving slabs and create a smaller – and of course much nicer – paved area in front of the garage.

Garden Planing

This corner of the garden has sunshine almost all day, so it’s the ideal spot to create a cosy and relaxing space where we can lounge around when we’re not tackling DIY projects.

When decorating rooms in our house we usually create a mood board, so it really only made sense that we make one for our garden, too. Making a mood board really helps to envisage what a space will look like. The only problem is that we sometimes like the board so much, that we want it all done now!

 

Garden Moodboard

1. Our must have idem for creating a relaxing and inviting outdoor space has to be this rattan 4 seater patio set (we’re only showing 2 chairs on the moodboard, but it comes with an additional armchair). It looks so inviting and I can see myself relaxing in the sun for hours instead of doing some DIY. I love that the table has a glass top which gives the set a really light and modern feel.

2. We teamed up the neutral cushions of the patio set with some colourful accent cushions. They add a splash of colour and a bit of extra comfort to the rattan seating. The cotton cushions we chose are from the ColourMatch range at Homebase and are in the colours lagoon, poppy red and funky fuchsia.

3. I’m always really careful about being in the sun too much so, whilst the weather here rarely warrants it, a parasol is definitely a must for me. I love the flexibility of this overhanging parasol. It looks really stylish and has the added bonus of not having the pole in the way all of the time.

4. We always like to add fun elements and splashes of colour to brighten up our rooms and spaces. These miner’s lantern are perfect. Not only are the colours lovely, they’d be great in the evening to create a really cosy candlelit setting. Wouldn’t they be great dotted around the whole patio are?

5. These multi-coloured solar lights would also be a fun addition to our entertaining area. I can just see them wrapped around the parasol giving off a colourful glow in the evenings.

6. Sticking with lighting, we’d love to replace the ugly existing outdoor garage light with something more stylish and in keeping with the building. This black outdoor lantern would be perfect. Whilst it’s great to have moody lighting in form of lanterns and string lights, it is more practical to just be able to flick a switch and have instant light.

7. As it’s not always warm enough to spend the evenings outside, I’d love to have a firepit like this Icarus Steel Firebowl. There’s something about a real fire that instantly makes a space cosy and inviting. Wouldn’t it be so lovely to curl up in front of the fire after a long day at work?

8. My possibly favourite item of all is the polished sandstone paving in autumn buff. It’s absolutely gorgeous and it’s smooth and polished finish just give it a really elegant and modern feel. It’s just the perfect base for any pretty garden furniture. The Homebase website actually has loads of information on how to lay a patio and it looks totally doable, so this paving has literally just jumped to the top of our house wish and to-do list.

With the weather frequently cold, wet and miserable we often think that there’s not much point spending a huge amount of time and money sorting our garden, but we’ve realised that that actually means that it’s more important to have a garden that you can enjoy on those few beautiful days that we do get. I love this moodboard and am desperate to get at least some of it implemented as soon as possible. I can just see us spending summer evenings cuddled up around the firepit with a nice glass of wine.

Do you have a space in your garden where you can relax and entertain? Have you ever laid a patio? Is it really as easy as it looks? Do you love the sandstone paving as much as we do? What’s your must have item in your garden?

*Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Homebase, but all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Little House On The Corner.

Great Giveaway: £50 Voucher To Spend At Handle King Hardware

We’re so excited to be hosting a great giveaway for you today!

Who doesn’t love an easy home upgrade? Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can result in the biggest results and for us, adding new hardware to your doors and cupboards is something that is definitely falls into that category.

As we recently learned ourselves, adding hardware to our doors is definitely something that’s easy & quick, but it makes such an impact and can instantly transform your door and space.

As we know that like us lots of you love to improve your home, too, we jumped at the chance when the kind people over at Handle King Hardware, are offering one lucky readers a £50 voucher to spend on any of their fab range of product in their online store.

Handle King has the largest selection of modern door handles in the UK including all sorts of door related hardware from door handles and cupboard handles, to door locks and hinges. They even have coat hooks, door stops and bathroom accessories! They’re obviously not called Handle King for nothing!

These are some of the products that we love, but of course you are free to choose whatever you like!

Door Hardware Giveaway

  1. Curved Brushed Steel Door Handles on Rose
  2. Designer Door Handles with 3 Ring Polished Stainless Steel Lever
  3. Bolt through Tubular Mortice Door Latch 76mm Polished Chrome
  4. Chrome Door Handles on Rose with Duo Finish
  5. T Bar Kitchen Cabinet Handles Polished Chrome 256mm 

Their prices are really competitive, so you could easily choose enough products to make a real impact in your home.

How To Enter:

It couldn’t be easier to enter this fabulous competition. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. In all, you have 6 possible entry options and you can and enter in as many ways as you’d like to increase your chances of winning!

You could tweet:

“I would like to win a £50 @HandleKing voucher with @ILiveAtNumber13 http://tinyurl.com/p9abqan”

Or you could follow Handle King Hardware on Twitter, Follow us on  Twitter, like the Handle King Hardware Facebook page or like us on Facebook. Of course you can also enter by leaving a comment on this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is available to UK residents only and runs from 2nd July to 24th July, 12am GMT. The winner will be notified in this post and by email. Good luck and happy entering!

The competition has now closed, but for those of you that weren’t so lucky Handle King has given us a £5 OFF voucher code to share with those that took part.

Enter the code LITTLEHOUSE#5 upon checkout at http://www.handleking.co.uk and get £5 OFF orders over £50, quickly though this offer doesn’t run for long and is valid for the first 20 users only!

The voucher expires at Midnight, Monday 4th August, 2014.

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