If you’re an ambitious DIY-er, you’ve probably tried your hand at a fair number of craft projects. Some may have turned out better than others, but this is one project requiring no artistic skill that comes out looking great every time. The only ability you need to complete this project is the ability to trace a picture. This project is intended to give people of any skill level a chance to create something they can be proud of. Even if you doubt your artistic abilities, I promise you will have people admiring your skills when they see this project! And you’ll have a sense of satisfaction every time you see it, thinking, “Wow! I made that?”
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
What You’ll Need:
- Picture frame (color of your choice)
- Scrapbook paper or cardstock
- Sharpie oil-based paint pen extra fine tip (I use the same color as the frame, white usually works best)
- Masking tape or painter’s tape
- An image to trace (the steps will explain this in detail)
- Glass cleaner and paper towels
Time to complete: 30 minutes—1 hour (depends on long you’ll take to trace the image you choose)
Step 2: Find an Image You Want to Trace
You can find the easiest images to trace by including “silhouette” or “clipart” in your image search. For the image I used, I did an image search for “forest silhouette.” To trace an image of an animal, you’ll find easier images to trace by searching “elephant clipart” instead of just “elephant.”
(The image I used came from foundmyself.com)
Step 3: Adjust the Image
Open the image using a word document. Adjust the color and make it black and white to facilitate easier tracing. Change the image size to fit your picture frame. Flip the image horizontally, because you will want the side of the glass you paint to be on the back, not the front. If your picture has a lot of blank space (like mine), add a border so that you can easily cut it to the size you want.
Step 4: Print and Cut the Image
Print your image and cut it to be the size of the frame. You can do this using the border you created in the last step, or simply trace the glass from the frame you’re using onto the image you printed.
Step 5: Clean the Glass
Remove the glass from your photo frame. Spray it with glass cleaner and wipe clean.
Step 6: Attach Your Image to the Glass
Tape the printed image to the glass you just cleaned so that the side of the paper touching the glass is the side you want to trace. Try not to place the tape over sections you need to trace; otherwise, you’ll have to move the tape once you start painting.
Step 7: Use the Paint Pen to Trace Your Image
Practice painting with the paint pen on a piece of paper or other surface to get a feel for how the paint comes out. : Then use the oil-based paint pen to trace the image onto the glass. If you’re worried about messing up at first while you get the hang of the paint pen, start in the middle of larger areas so you can fix any mistakes you make. (For example, on mine, I would have started in the middle of the deer’s body instead of the antlers)
Step 8: Let the Paint Dry
Allow the paint to dry. Usually the paint sets within 30 minutes. You should be able to tell from looking at it if it’s dry. When in doubt, let it sit longer. Once it is sufficiently dry, remove the tape.
Step 9: Cut Your Scrapbook Paper
Cut the scrapbook paper to be the same size as the glass. This is easiest if you just trace the glass using a pencil and cut it out.
Step 10: Place the Glass in the Frame
Replace the glass that you have just painted. The side of the glass you painted should be the same side that contacts the scrapbook paper (this is why you flipped the image horizontally before tracing it).
Step 11: Add Scrapbook Paper and the Back of the Frame
Place the scrapbook paper behind the glass, where a photograph would normally go. One of the fun things about this project is that you can easily change it to fit whatever setting it’s in by changing the scrapbook paper in the frame. You can see in the finished pictures that I have three different scrapbook papers that I cut to size and switch around when I feel like it needs a change.
Replace the backing of the frame.
Step 12: Admire Your Artwork!
And you’re done! Now you have a completed piece of art that you can admire every time you catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of your eye. If you put the side of the glass you painted on the back touching the scrapbook paper, you shouldn’t be able to see any lines or any sign of your pen strokes on the glass. Just a neat, seemingly store-bought decoration or gift that you can be proud of!