CARDBOARD “WROUGHT IRON” FRAME

The Internet has numerous projects where paper quilling techniques and empty toilet paper and paper towel tubes are combined to create the look of wrought iron, and having seen these, I have wanted to try this technique for  myself. I wondered if I could use that look on one of my frames. I figured it was a good project to work on since it was small and I would be able to complete it without too great a time investment.

To start with, I knew that I needed to form some sort of raised edge along the sides of my frame in order to keep the quilled sections in place. To make these, I cut appropriately-sized pieces from the folded edges of cardboard packages like cereal, cracker, and pasta boxes. My goal was to make an edge that extended a quarter-inch above the surface of the frame. I glued the corners of the framing strips together and slid them into place over the frame I had made, but I did not glue these down. I knew I needed them to be support pieces while I was forming my “wrought iron”, but I wasn’t sure if I would include them in my final design.

Taking the tubes that I had saved, I began to cut them into quarter-inch strips. I tested several different lengths to see what kind of designs I could make after I had curled the strip around a paintbrush. Beginning in the corners of the frame I began testing different swirling patterns, and after I had designed something pleasing there, I proceeded to fill in the spaces in-between. Once I had an overall design that I liked, I began the rather time-consuming process of gluing the pieces to each other and to the inside framing piece only. I did not glue them to the outside edge because I decided that the exposed curled edge of the cardboard pleased me more and looked more like the wrought iron effect that I was trying to achieve. I was also careful not to glue the quilled sections to the surface of the the frame.  I wanted to paint the front of my frame with a metallic copper-colored acrylic paint, but since I wanted the “wrought iron” section to be black, I still needed to be able to separate the pieces for painting. After the glue dried, I was able to lift the quilled section off the frame, remove the outside support piece and paint it and the frame as I had planned.

The final step was to glue the quilled section down onto the front of my frame after the paint dried. I had made this frame an odd size, so it looked much better on one of my easels than it did with a standard support piece. I painted the easel black to match the “wrought iron” and was pleased with the overall result. This is another of those projects that I look at and marvel that anything as humble as an empty toilet paper tube could be used to create something so classy!

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