How to Write on Picture Frames

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In search of giving heartfelt yet inexpensive gifts, people turn toward crafts, eager to try their hand at creating a special gift. A picture frame decorated with a personal message, whether dignified and stately, exciting and cheerful or poignant and meaningful, lets people know how much they mean to you. When writing on a picture frame, permanent markers and paint pens are simple to use, and metallic markers add a stately air. No matter what level of craftsmanship you have, creating a personalized picture frame can be an enjoyable and inexpensive project, and the perfect gift to show someone how much you care.

Things You'll Need

  • Purchased plastic or ceramic picture frame
  • Spray-on sealant
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Window cleaner or white vinegar cleanser
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Any one of the following:
  • • Permanent markers
  • • Paint pens
  • • Metallic pens
  • Plan what you want to write on the frame. If you aren't sure what type of photograph will be inserted, use generic terms such as "love" or "friendship." If you know the photograph the picture frame will hold, coordinate the words or message with that picture.

  • Clean the picture frame using either a window cleaner or a mixture of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar. Allow it to dry. If streaks remain, buff with a 100 percent cotton cloth, such as an old T-shirt. Do not use "magnetic" or "anti-static" dusting cloths as these may leave fine fibers behind.

  • Determine where on the frame you will put your writing. A single word looks perfect either at the top or the bottom of the frame. Visually balance a two-word phrase such as "True Love" by writing one word on each vertical side of the frame. A meaningful quotation or phrase well spaced around the perimeter of the frame can also catch the viewer's eye.

  • Mark out the spacing of the lettering. Gauge the placement of the letters either visually, or space using a ruler. Make pencil marks to guide the placement of your letters.

  • Lightly trace words on the frame using a pencil. If you make a mistake, pencil marks are easily removable on both ceramic and plastic frames by buffing with a 100 percent cotton cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Do use a light hand when writing on plastic frames as the pencil lead can scratch the surface. Correct any mistakes.

  • Choose which medium you prefer. Permanent markers and paint pens can give a festive or child-like feel, while metallic leafing pens provide a more formal and dignified quality. Follow pencil marks with permanent markers or paint pens. Make sure not to touch the lettering until it dries, as the writing will smear. Allow to thoroughly dry.

  • Apply one to three coats of spray-on sealant, allowing the sealant to dry between coats.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use craft or latex gloves to keep the ink or paint off your skin.
  • Do not use a pencil eraser to remove pencil marks as the rubber from the eraser will remain on the frame.
  • Keep picture frames away from dust or wind while the paint and the sealant are drying.
  • Oversee children when working on this project.
  • Many permanent inks and acrylic paints can be toxic, so always keep your work space well ventilated. Immediately wash off any ink or paint that has touched your skin. Check products before purchasing for the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) seal.
  • Do not apply sealant when children are near.

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