If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve seen me post about the DIY abstract art workshop I went to last week taught by artist Maja Dlugolecki. This was literally the first time that I had ever painted anything other than a wall or object, but I liked how some of my art turned out so much that I decided to frame it and hang it up. If nothing else, it’s a reminder to me to get out of my own head, let go of preconceptions, and get creative. (Plus I like the colors.)
Have you ever tried to make your own DIY abstract art? If you haven’t, don’t be scared, just get some paints, and experiment! Start small, and work your way up to bigger pieces. If you like what you make, great, if not, you’ve at least exercised your brain by trying something new. The workshop I went to encouraged cannabis consumption while creating art (Oregon has legal marijuana), so if that’s an option for you, it might help you relax and get into the mood to get creative.
This project kind of felt like a collision between the left and right sides of my brain, because the art was obviously very abstract and emotional, but the framing took a lot of planning and measuring. The pieces I decided to frame are a series of swatches, which we made by folding and tearing up a larger piece of paper, and then experimenting with paint colors, brushes, and effects. At first I thought I would frame more of them, but after I bought a larger frame, I realized that it was way too big for any of the free walls in my house.
And then I remembered this smaller square frame that I had in my basement. It originally held art from Minted, but the frame arrived with unsightly little gaps in two of the corners, and Minted quickly and graciously shipped me a new, undamaged print and frame. Being the hoarder I am, I stuck the damaged frame in my basement until I could figure out a use for it. I cut off the paper backing, took out the print, and repaired the damaged frame with some wood glue and clamps. Then I separated the art from the backing mat it was glued to (it was a “floating” mount), flipped the mat over to the side without glue, and arranged my art on it.
I had seen framing instructions where someone used post-it notes to help them mark out the spacing of their art, but I didn’t have any of those, so I used some washi tape. A clear quilting ruler worked really well for measuring, and I taped white printer paper down with washi tape around the edges of the backing mat to give me something to align the art to.
Starting in the corners and working my way along the top and bottom rows, I adhered my DIY abstract art to the backing mat with double-sided foam photo tape. According to tutorials I read online, this isn’t the way you’re supposed to float fine art. The “right way” involves making t-hinges out of linen photo mounting tape, but my local craft store didn’t have any of that tape, so I made do with what I could find, and I like the 3-D effect the foam tape provided. The rule-following half of my brain didn’t like this adaptation, but the part that appreciates aesthetics is quite pleased, and told the other half of my brain to shut up and get back to measuring.
I adhered the middle pieces last. The raw, slightly uneven edges gave me a little bit of wiggle-room on the spacing, but I used my quilting ruler to help me keep everything straight.
Getting the art back into the frame involved some serious swearing, especially when I discovered a big speck of lint inside the frame after I’d wrestled the art into place. After I took it out, I used a dustbuster to vacuum inside of the plexiglass and the front of the art before I put it back into the frame. I highly recommend this, especially if you have pets, because there is nothing more annoying then finishing your framing and discovering a big piece of lint or hair inside the frame! I’m a big enough perfectionist that I could never leave it like that, so if someone as picky as me can manage to make DIY abstract art, you probably can, too!