Repairing a frame

Chris brought us a frame she had stored in her attic and told me it had been in the family for generations.  I knew right away it was a plaster over wood frame and wanted to repair it as best I could.    I’m always up for a new challenge 🙂

The whole frame had cracks and dings and those areas were easy to fill in, but the two major portions missing molding required a bit more time and TLC.

an entire corner missing the molded details

an entire corner missing the molded details

 

a large chunk of the frame needed to be repaired

a large chunk of the frame needed to be repaired

I’ve played with Sculpey clay before – it does well for making molds so it was the first item on my shopping list.

Sculpey clay

Sculpey clay

Before plopping a chunk of Sculpey onto the frame, I needed to create a protective barrier in order to prevent the clay from sticking into the crevices of the frame.  I used American Paint Company’s clear wax for this purpose.

applied American Paint Company's clear wax to prevent the molding material from adhering

applied American Paint Company’s clear wax to prevent the molding material from adhering to the frame

 

First attempt at the corner using  sculpey clay

attempt with sculpey clay

After making the molds, I followed the directions for hardening the clay and mixed a small amount of Plaster of Paris.

plaster of paris

Plaster of Paris

Once Plaster of Paris hardens, it is solid and will not dissolve or lose it’s shape if it gets wet.

almost successful molds and impressions

almost successful molds and impressions

 

the winning mold

the winning mold

Once I achieved a good replacement, I sprayed water on the exposed wood of the frame and on the underside of the molded piece, and spread a thin layer of Plaster of Paris on  to act as “mortar,”  ensuring the replacement molding would adhere permanently.

fits well - just need to fine tune with some carving picks

fits well – just need to fine tune with some carving picks

A bit of tooling with dental picks, and the new molding fit perfectly in.   Now on to the thin, more elongated portion of the missing moldings.

attempting to make an impression with the sculpey clay

attempting to make an impression with the sculpey clay

Again, using Sculpey Clay to create new molding.

failed attempts with sculpey clay molds

failed attempts with sculpey clay molds

EPIC FAIL.   The molding was too thin and the Sculpey Clay too rigid to allow for one good piece or pieces of new molding.    Luckily, I had some Plastilina – it doesn’t dry and cannot be hardened in the oven like Sculpey clay – BUT, figured I could freeze it to make it hard enough to work with, yet flexible enough to peel off of the cured Plaster of Paris.

plastilina

plastilina

Straight out of the package, I kneaded it long enough to form onto a good piece of the frame

applying the Plastilina

applying the Plastilina

VOILA!  It works ….so far, so good.

nice!

nice!

After making the impression, I placed the Plastilina in the freezer just long enough to harden but not freeze.

plastilina in the freezer

plastilina in the freezer

 

After putting the Plaster of Paris onto the frame, I put a tiny bit of plaster into the hardened plastilina mold, mushed the two together and let it dry.   While the plaster dried, the plastilina warmed back up to room temperature, making it flexible again.

 

using a tiny putty knife, applied the plaster directly onto the frame

using a tiny putty knife, applied the plaster directly onto the frame

I was so excited when I pulled the Plastilina off the first section…not so pleased with the second section.

we're getting closer!

we’re getting closer!

did not like the results of the right side, starting again

did not like the results of the right side, starting again

A few more tries and another cup of coffee, I finally got it “just right” enough to to carve out the finer details.  Once that was done,  it was time to restore the gilding.   The first step was to paint the repaired areas with black chalk/clay/mineral paint.

 

a black undercoat of American Paint Company's "Cannon Ball" paint

a black undercoat of American Paint Company’s “Cannon Ball” paint

 

 

.

.

 

a mix of American Paint Company's dark wax and American Paint Company's gold and copper mica to use as a gilding wax

a mix of American Paint Company’s dark wax and American Paint Company’s gold and copper mica to use as a gilding wax

 

needs a bit more fine tuning

needs a bit more fine tuning

 

 

finished

finished

After applying the gilding in various tones around the entire frame, I then buffed it all back to a wonderful shine.

love how the mica and wax polished to a high shine and looks like brass

love how the mica and wax combined resulted in a wonderful finish and makes the corners look like brass

 

can you see where the plaster was replaced?

can you see where the plaster was replaced?

 

All done!

All done!

I hope this inspires you to try something new!

Kate

 

 

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