NZ Woman's Weekly
Retro picture frames

Retro picture frames

Vintage magazines are treasure troves of charismatic imagery with stylish illustrations, photography and typography, encapsulating the essence of a particular era. Even the printing techniques used at that time enhance their unique quality – the images often feature broad strokes of intense colour, held within elegant black linework.

To showcase a page taken from a magazine, just find an old frame, update it with a fresh coat of paint and add a trio of enchanting silk bows in different shades.

• Plain picture frame
• Vintage image
• Silk fabric in assorted colours, 10cm for each bow
• Sheet of polyboard
• Sheet of 333-gsm watercolour paper (from an art supply store)
• Spray adhesive
• Picture framing kit (optional)
• Scalpel and cutting board
• Ruler
• Needles, scissors and pins
• Matching sewing thread
• Multipurpose glue, suitable for wood and silk

If you can’t find vintage magazines, look for old books with colour plates, vintage dressmaking patterns or even modern wrapping paper, which often features nostalgic designs.

1 First choose a beautiful image from a vintage magazine (or other source) and find a suitably sized frame for it. If necessary, remove any old paint or varnish from the frame and paint it in your chosen colour.

2 Using the scalpel, ruler and cutting board, cut the polyboard to fit neatly within the back of the frame and cut the watercolour paper to the same size.

3 Take your vintage magazine image and glue it to the watercolour paper – use spray adhesive for good coverage and because it allows you to peel off and re-place the image if necessary.

4 Slip the paper, backed by the polyboard, into the picture frame and, following the manufacturer’s instructions, use a picture frame kit to secure.

5 Choose a selection of silk fabrics to match your chosen vintage picture. Cut the silk to 9 x 12cm and fold in half lengthways, right sides together.

6 Pin, baste (tack) and machine-stitch around the three sides with a 5mm seam allowance, leaving 3cm open on the long side.

7 Trim the corners and then turn the bow right side out. Push out the corners and hand-stitch the open edge closed. Press.

8 For the centrepiece, cut a piece of silk 6 x 2cm and turn under each long side by 5mm. Pinch the centre of the bow to gather and then wrap the centrepiece around it.

9 Turn under one short end at the back, overlap the opposite end and then stitch together to secure.

10 Plump out the bow slightly, then add a dab of glue to the back and stick to the picture frame. Add as many bows as you wish, in colours to match your picture.

Extracted with kind permission from Lace, Ribbons and Bows: 35 vintage-inspired projects to make and treasure by Ann Brown Field and Jane Cassini. Chico books, $34.99.

About Louise Richardson

Louise Richardson planned to work at New Zealand Woman’s Weekly from an early age and having achieved that career pinnacle, she’s stayed put for 18 years – nearly a quarter of the magazine’s 80 year history. She never gets bored because no two days are ever the same, and she gets to work with her real-life passions, decorating, travel and fashion.

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