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Old 05-14-2006, 05:17 PM   #1
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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How to alter frame color?




I have been having a heck of a time trying to get frames for two portraits I just finished, they're on 14" x 18" panels. I finally bought two frames here locally. They are simple light gold frames, but I think the gold is a little too light, a little too bright and sunny. I understand there is a way to tone down this, maybe just a glaze of some kind that I would paint over the gold leaf? I think I should probably use acrylic base/medium because I'm not sure an oil base would stick to the gold leaf. I think what I'm trying to do is 'antique' the frame.

I ordered two 14" x 18" frames from JFM, whom I've been ordering from for years. Well, they sent me the wrong size and wrong design. They messed up this order completely, sent me two of another frame and charged me for three. I have never had trouble with them, but they really messed up this order. Now I have a HUGE box to drag to the post office to return. I also ordered two 14"x18" frames from Jerry's Art-O-Rama, which I probably never would have done but a classmate in one my art classes had a beautiful frame from there. Well, they too sent the wrong size. Sent me two 11"x14"s instead of 14"x18". Plus, they were very cheap and I wouldn't want to put them on my paintings anyway. So, that's two boxes I have to drag to the post office and return.

After this last 10 days of my frame fiasco my husband joked that he always thought painting was the hardest part of portraiture, but now he sees it might be getting the frames!

Back to my original question, I finally bought two frames yesterday. Does anyone know how I can alter/darken the gold finish? I did a search but didn't find the answer, perhaps it's already on the forum and someone knows where.

thank you all in advance,
Joan
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Old 05-14-2006, 05:28 PM   #2
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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Hi Joan -

As long as you have a lot of time for the frame to dry, you could use oil paints on it. Don't laugh! I've altered a JFM gold frame using ivory black and another fairly translucent color. It took a good long while to dry, but I like the result.

I would guess that you could use alkyd's the same way. I'd be interested in hearing what others have done.

About the JFM frames - I wonder if anyone else has had this happen - I had a picture at a local gallery that I decided to take it back home. There was a little round sticker on the side of it. When the gallery attendant took it off, off came some of the color too! I guess I will have to put a clear lacquer on any other frames to avoid this happening again.

Here's hoping you get lots of good advice....
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Old 05-14-2006, 10:40 PM   #3
Marina Dieul Marina Dieul is offline
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Hi Joan,
I worked as a gilder, an restored a lot of old frames. We had to make some patina on the restored parts of the frames, and we generally did it with acrylic. We were working with diluated acrylic,we wiped a bit with a graining brush, and we wiped it with a rag from the reliefs, and let it darker in the hollows.
You can also use oil, but as Julie pointed, it's longer to dry.
I think you can find some sites about crafts, or decoration, where they explain it in a better english than mine.
Hope this helps...

Good luck with the return of your orders!
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:54 AM   #4
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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I have used oil paint on gold frames to change the color (not on real gilding though, just the faux gold stuff that JFM uses). I wanted to make a frame look a bit more red to match the painting a bit better. I would say the results were so-so. It did dull the finish of the frame considerably and I wouldn't recommend it.

The frame I did this on was a flat, contemporary style. It might work better on an ornate style of molding, so the oil paint would settle into the carved areas and leave the high parts clean and still show the original gold color. None of this would help you make a bright gold warmer though.
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Old 05-15-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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New frames coming

Thank you Julie, Marina and Michele,

Julie thanks for explaining the way you have altered frames. JFM has been great regarding their mess-up on my last order. We'll see how the final bill comes out though. My only problem with them is they hardly ever have what I need in stock. I have to order it and then it's on 'backorder' for months. I did a search on this site for frame places and have some others to try . . .

Finding a website that would explain this type of this is a great idea Marina. I think the bottom line is I just need to experiment, on some old frames.

Michele, thank you for posting the experience you have had with changing the color of frames. This probably wouldn't even have occured to me but I went to a workshop last week and the instructor really stressed being able to alter a frame to best showcase one's artwork. That got me thinking!

I called JFM this morning and they are going to send me two other 14"x18" frames that are similar to what I ordered. So I'm hoping these new ones will work for the two portraits I have. The two 14"x18" frames that I bought over the weekend (with the bright gold finish) will go into the storage room for some later project. I will experiment on some old frames before I try to alter their color. My first two commissions are completed and I am anxious to show them to my client . . . .I just want them to be in decent frames!!!

thanks again for the replies,
Joan
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:27 PM   #6
Richard Bingham Richard Bingham is offline
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All good suggestions. The only problem with starting out to do this is that as an initial experiment, you can't "guarantee" the results without the benefit of previous experience.

Varnishes, lacquers, clear coats in rattle-cans from the hardware store can be useful to "stop" the absorbency of a frame finished in gold leaf or dutch metal, to control the amount of "patina".

Oil paint is the perfect thing to tone a frame, that's what we're working with! Slow drying? Why? Add a siccative, and/or a rapid drying varnish like copal or damar.
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Old 05-15-2006, 07:45 PM   #7
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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I have often used Shellac to darken and give a warmer glow to gold frames.

If you dare, you could "age" the frame by putting some marks on it with different tools, like steel wool and a handful of key's at first and then patinate with a dull color, before the Shellac glazing.

The best way of understanding patina is to look at a really old frame.

Allan
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Old 05-15-2006, 09:55 PM   #8
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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I hadn't thought about shellac.

I've painted two JFM frames so far using oil paint . Both were plain gold to begin with. I added ivory black with both, plus a transparent other color of my choice to blend with the painting.
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Old 05-15-2006, 11:47 PM   #9
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
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When I know I will be altering a frame I order a corner sample in addition to the frame. That way I can experiment on the corner first.
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