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Making Picture Frames - how to assemble

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Hello all

this seems like it should be easy, and I tend to make things harder than they need to be; I have to make two picture frames that have an 8X10 opening; what I am struggling with - how do you assemble the easel and glass?  around the opening do I trim 1/8" so when the glass is inserted, it sits flush with the bisque after the clay is fired?  Do you glue the easel back onto the back of the frame?  

Any help/suggestions would be great - it really can't be this hard :)



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Your plan sounds good, but allow slightly deeper than 1/8", maybe even 1/4", as you can always add a cardboard to fill up the space. The clay parts will almost certainly shrink a bit during drying and firing, so add an extra 1/4" to the 8" x 10" too. This is a tricky assignment in another way because perfectly flat and straight is not usually a hand built clay property. You might allow for that by having a design that doesn't emphasize straight lines. Extra wiggle room in your dimensions will help if (read: when) your piece doesn't remain straight and flat after firing.

good luck - let us know how you do 

Edited by Rae Reich
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sounds hard to do.   hmmmmmmmmm  what if you made a wedge shaped flat slab and left an opening slot in the back of the frame to accept it after firing?   if you glue it in place you can never pack up the picture to move or anything else.

do not forget to give us a photo after you figure  it out.

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What a funny question for me to find here since I own a frame shop. :) At first, I thought I was in the wrong forum. Strangely, easel backs are a little more complicated than they seem. 

Rae is correct. You want your rabbet (the area the glass sits in) to be at least 1/4" deep - the person using this may want to use a mat so giving a little extra room is always best. It needs to be deep enough to hold the glass, mat, photo, backing and easel back if inserting that into the opening. You can purchase easel backs online, or from some local frame shops. You might want to give one a visit to get some in person advice - most of us are pretty nice and happy to help.  Look at some you have at home, or pop over to a shop and check out the construction of their photo frames. 

The easel back can either be inserted into the rabbet, or attached to the back of the frame. If the frame is more than an inch or so wide, you'll want to order a larger easel back and then cut it to size, leaving the "kickstand" longer to compensate for the width of the frame. You'll need to figure out a way to keep the contents inside the frame... this is much easier with wood frames since we can use screws and nails. 

You also need to make your opening 8 1/8" by 10 1/8" so and 8x10 piece of glass and photo will fit inside. The front of the rabbet should be 1/4 inch wide. It's much easier to be this specific with wood frames, so just a guideline of course! 

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I've never personally made a ceramic frame, for myself, but I have helped students incorporate them, into their projects. 

Instead of approaching it, as you would with a wood frame, where you can use a variety of methods for sealing on the back, I had my students instead just create a top or side slot.  So there was a back slab, raised strips around three of the sides, to allow space for the photo and glass, if desired. 

Alternately, you could create openings in the clay before firing, that would allow you to put closure tabs after firing.  Of course, they would have to be made larger, to accommodate for shrinkage.  The hardware would need to be glued in, as opposed to driving it in, like would be done with wood.

Edited by Benzine
Adding additional details.
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Or you make the frame like this, where the glass and picture sit behind the frame and the rebate is on the back.  This has a padded embroidery, so no glass, but if you use acrylic instead of glass it might be more flexible.

20180906_183752 small.jpg1466816107_20180906_183813small.jpg.759d3709edd8f55655f6d0355cb53e23.jpg

Edited by Chilly
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thank you all, a lot of good ideas; this seems more complicated than I thought it would be lol

I actually tried searching for bisque frames, but I need an opening for a 8x10 photo; all I can find is mostly 4x6 or 3.5x5"; so that doesn't really help much

I have a customer that wanted 2 photo frames, horse haired - and I just can't seem to get the frames made.  Granted it is harder for me to do on bisque - but at least that was an easier and much quicker option :)


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Make them like @Chilly's example, after going to a frame shop as @PotterPutter advised.

Buy the cardboard backing for an 8x10 that has a removable panel with kickstand for the photo inside a rim to glue to a frame. Be sure to get the correct orientation for the photo - landscape or portrait.

Get your backing first and build the frames to fit (allowing for shrinkage).

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