Royal Gains

Everyone deserves a little luxe in their lives – most especially in the boudoir. However, not everyone can (or wants) to spend like King Louis to achieve a look worthy of the Hall of Mirrors. Worst yet, if you do splurge on a piece and discover that after six months you’re so over it, your choices to keep it on display regardless or bury it in the closet in shame are equally painful.

Worry no more my dear fickle+frugal+stylish friends, this DIY project will keep the cash in your wallet and your options endless.


A Frame. This elegant plastic frame from IKEA sets the tone for the piece and is a steal at $29.99. Another fantastic option would be scouring a local flea market or auction house for a frame. Remember, you can spray paint just about any material if the color you find on the rack doesn’t suit your interiors.

Fabric. The fabric I chose is a modernized damask from JoAnn’s designer fabric collection. I initially bought the print to use for blackout curtains (pictured below) and decided to splash the remnants around the bedroom in the form of pillows and accessories like this. As you’ll soon see, my first arrangement (below) included just this fabric and a small Tord Boonjte screen print. In my newest change-up, the fabric takes a backseat to the Rembrandt prints.

Art. Well, paper really, since this isn’t a shadow box, you’re layers mustn’t be any thicker than a few sheets of paper or thin fabric. I found these gorgeous painting reproductions in a book that a neighbor discarded before moving. So not only did I stumble across some great reading material about Rembrandt’s life and later works, I wasn’t hesitant to tear apart the pages (while I am a tinkerer and a novice bookbinder, I often struggle to tear apart books.). It was also exciting to create a story amongst the pages by creating a collage. After all, these paintings were not completed at the same time and may not even appear anywhere together in a museum, but in my frame, they’ve got chemistry. When flipping through the book, I found many stunning man-and-dog portraits and dinning table scenes, but I chose the nudes and the gawking men because their seductiveness felt at place in the bedroom. If this is for your front hall, perhaps one of Rembrandt’s self portraits would have been my choice! (SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re in the Cleveland area, the Cleveland Museum of Art is opening a special Rembrandt print collection next month (for free to the general public) and  another American portrait collection (for a small fee). Check it out: Some other thoughts: dried flowers, wrapping paper, a hand-drawn portrait, postcards. Really, the possibilities are endless and when you find the next best thing, just swap out the old for the new!

Scissors, tape, nails/hammer/command strips.


1. Once you’ve gathered all the materials, you’re 2/3 of the way done! Now how many projects can you say that about?! Arrange your fabric/paper/etc on the cardboard backer.

TIP: When cutting, leave a 1/2″ border along the edges of the oval so that you’re free to make adjustments without gaping holes. Use a small amount of tape to hold your pieces in place, concealing the tape behind the art or by attaching it the back of the frame.

2. Lay the frame face down and carefully transfer your masterpiece to the glass. Add the cardboard (that came in the original frame packaging) for rigidity and secure a few of the metal prongs around the perimeter of the cardboard. Carefully flip your frame around so that you can view the art. If you’re still happy with the placement (sometimes pieces shift, so this is an important check!), turn the frame back and secure the rest of the prongs.

3. You’re ready to hang! Locate the clips / holes / string on the back of your frame and hold up the frame to its ideal positioning on the wall. Sometimes it’s helpful to have another set of eyes or a spare hand to mark the spot you’ve chosen with a pencil. This plastic frame is light, as is the art, so a few well placed command strips could have done the job. I chose to tap two picture-hanging nails and hooks into my plaster walls and then secured the bottom of the frame with a command strip so that there is no chance of it falling crooked!


I hope you find inspiration in this, especially if you’re like me and your car and house are encased in snowdrifts and you’re looking for a fun, quick, trans-formative craft on a lazy January Saturday morning! Enjoy it!


Pictured below is my first-go round with this frame. As you can see the fabric played the most prominent role. Above, the Rembrandt reproductions take center stage.

One thought on “Royal Gains

  1. Pingback: Snowy Saturday | ali.the.architect

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