Picture Framing Becomes A Construction Project

My client brought in an original numbered limited edition terra cotta tile created by Pablo Picasso to have a picture frame made. She wanted a picture frame with a grand format but no glue or attachments could be applied to the tile. The tile itself was over 3/4″ thick.

We started with a 5″ wide picture framing wood liner which we glued and joined. The window opening of the picture frame liner was exactly 1/16″ wider in both directions than tha size of the tile. This would allow for the tile to drop into the opening but still be fairly snug of a fit. When dry and nailed the picture frame liner was primed with undercoat to seal the wood. When the picture frame liner was dry we glued down a white linen to the wood liner and cut out the center hole and wrapped the linen around the wood liner’s rabbet. The picture frame wood liner was only 9/16″ thick. The tile is 3/4 of an inch thick. We still needed a picture frame liner with more depth to accommodate the 3/4″ thick tile. This was accomplished by adding 1/4″ thick balsa wood strips to the back side of the picture framing liner. We now had a total thickness os 13/16″ which was thicker than the tile’s 3/4″.

The tile needed to have a picture frame which was open on the back side to allow the number of the tile and Pablo Picasso’s name to show. We cut a matting with window opening and positioned it so the information on the back of the tile showed through. To keep the tile sandwiched within the picture frame’s liner/matting combination, to the very back of the picture frame we cut a piece of 1/8″ thick acrylic. On top of the acrylic we set the white back matting. On top of this we set the built up fabric covered liner. Then we set the tile into the picture frame liner’s opening and finally set a piece of Museum Optium Acrylic on the very top. We now had a 1″ thick sandwich of matting, acrylics and liner.

The ornate gold outer picture frame created the next problem. The picture frames rabbet was only 1/2″ thick and we had over 1″ of thickness of “art sandwich”. The picture frame was built up with 1″ wide wood strips to create a 1 1/4″ thick picture frame depth. The wood strips were finished to compliment the finish of the gold picture frame moulding. Now the “sandwich” could fit into the outer frame. 1/4″ wood stops were used on the back of the picture frame to keep the “sandwich” in the frame.

The customer was very pleased with her picture framed tile.

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