Ormolu Picture Frame

ormulu frame Some time ago we had a clear out in the pantry.  We never throw away ends of packets or out of date food however. (Even if we did it would go on the compost to help grow more food!)  Odds and ends of beans and pasta are useful for so many kids craft activities.

This time around we have taken our inspiration from the ornate, ormulu frames of the 18th century.  The original technique involved the heavy use of mercury.  Exposure to this toxic metal meant that few gilders ever lived to see their 40th birthdays.  Never fear!  This is a fun and safe way for Little Sparks to make their own ormolu frames.

We thought we might make our own little art gallery, but it is also a nice way for kids to present photos of themselves as presents for grandparents or on mother’s and father’s days.

To make our ormulu frames you will need the following items:

  • A cereal box or similar.
  • Left over odds and ends from the pantry.  (You could also experiment with using yarn or string, small beads or even pea gravel.)
  • PVA glue.
  • Non-toxic metallic gold paint.
  • Paint brushes or small sponge.
  • A photo or picture that you would like to frame.
  • Pencil and ruler.
  • Scissors or a utility knife (This last is strictly for adult use only!)

What to do:

The trickiest part of this craft activity is cutting the right sized hole in the middle of your cardboard.  Adult help will be needed, especially if you are using a utility knife.

  • Cut out the two largest sides of your cereal box.  Put one aside for later when you are ready to frame your picture.
  • One one side of your cardboard, draw two diagonal lines stretching from corner to corner to form a large cross.  These will help you to locate the middle.
  • Place the picture you intend to use over the middle of the cross.  Make marks where the outer corners of your picture touch the lines.  Remove your picture and make another mark half a centimetre nearer to the middle of the cross.
  • Join these last marks together  using a ruler, these are the lines you need to cut out.  For the best results an adult should do this with a utility knife.   The hole will be slightly smaller than your picture so that no unsightly gaps are created.

That’s the tricky bit over!

  • Once you have cut out your picture frame, spread PVA glue all over it.  We use one of the off-cuts of cardboard to do this as it makes a nice, even layer of glue.
  • Now create the pattern of your picture frame using the odds and ends.
  • Wait for the glue to dry completely.
  • Once your frame is dry cover it with gold paint.  We found it easier to dab paint on using a sponge.  Build up layers of paint gradually.  Leave to dry completely.
  • Now it is time to frame your picture.  Place glue all along the inside edges of your frame and the other side of your cereal packet.  Using a tiny dab of glue to hold your picture in place, sandwich the two sides of the cereal box together.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan August 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Great idea. I’m sure my cupboard is full of expired food. Compliments for your creativity
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Mandy August 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Thank you very much Joan!


Ann Geronimo August 19, 2011 at 6:35 am

wow thank you so much for sharing this one! i would love to do this with my kids. i bet we’ll all have a lot of fun as we create this artistic stuff!
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Mandy August 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Hope you and the kids have fun with it!


Diana August 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Wow, that metallic gold paint really turned out great! It’s so shiny! I have a lot of kids that I babysit and this could be something good to occupy their time with. Thanks so much for the idea!
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Mandy August 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Thanks Diana, hope the kids have fun!


Nicole September 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm

well this looks like something I can enjoy with the kids. I check for the material available and see if we can make the same thing as you illustrated. These is a wonderful way of having a good time with the kids. And also a good way to keep the bond we have.
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