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Crafting like a Man with Patrick Murillo: Picture Frames (Part 2)

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Some people are crafty, some aren't (i.e. me). It's the way of the world. But taking a cue from Mantastic Crafter Patrick Murillo, I'm training in the art, and hoping to work my way up to something truly mantastic, all while trying to avoid what Murillo calls a "craftastrophe."

I'm slowly learning that there are two sides to crafting:

1. The technical, manly side (yes, crafting really does have a manly side). This is the wood-sawing, construction-based end of a project.

2. The artsy, hippy, Bob-Ross-happy-tree side. This involves pretty much everything creative about crafting: painting, molding, drawing, etc.

Murillo, who tells me he's a pretty big Bob Ross fan, says once you have the skeleton of your project down, you have to tap into your feminine side and "see" where to go from there. If that's the case, I'm pretty sure I'm decoration-blind. But for part two of our picture frames, that's exactly what we did. (Check out part one here.)

1. Step one of decorating your picture frame is to choose a color and paint it. You don't have to paint the back, of course, because it'll be going in front of a wall. But you do need to make sure that every visible section will be covered by paint.

I chose black for my frame, and didn't do a great job of painting every crevice at first. It ended up looking a bit like my frame had taken a dip in an oil spill. Still, I soldiered on.

2. Using a piece of scrapbooking material you can find from any crafts store, cut out a background to put inside your frame. Measure the dimensions before you start chopping away at the material, but this will still involve a little guesswork. Once you get the size about right, trim it a bit until it fits inside the frame.

For me, who flunked the elementary school lesson on scissor use, this meant cut a curvy, diagonal-ish line across the edges, making it totally asymmetrical.

3. Cut out a square and a rectangle out of some wood. The dimensions are mostly up to your own discretion on this one. Murillo chops a seemingly random-sized piece of a ruler for this part. The square will go on the interior of the frame (on top of the scrapbooking paper), and the rectangular piece will be used to make a sort of shelf that will go on the bottom edge of the frame. This will add some depth to your frame. Drape a piece of cloth over the shelf section.

4. Now comes the artsy part. Murillo, with his ever-growing store of crafting ammunition, grabs some tiny decorative flowers and food made out of clay. I even got a tiny Corona to glue onto my frame.

After that, you can spice up your frame by painting it with opposing colors (I didn't know what that meant until Murillo explained it. Seems pretty obvious now). Try painting some flowers. Then, just glue a picture or photo onto the square you added earlier.

As we're wrapping up, Murillo gives me some advice. Like there are two sides to crafting, there are two types of crafters. The first is the OCD type who obsesses over every detail, and often ends up with a lame project by trying too hard. The second is the type who just rolls with it.

"We all need to go back to Kindergarten, when we were on the same level and just do... art is about expressing yourself," Murillo says.

If this sounds like Bob-Ross-happy-tree talk, it's not. Overthink crafting and you're doomed. Good thing I'm not self-conscious or anything... until next time...

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