Activities: Make Your Own Victorian Picture Frame
An intricate handmade gift was a sign of love and care for the Victorians. This padded picture frame can be personalised with your own designs, as well as the image you choose to place in it.
This activity uses sharp tools. Children should be supervised.
If you do not have a wooden frame, you can make one easily by nailing together four pieces of wood to make a basic frame. This does not have to be neat, as it will be covered later.
Place the wooden frame onto the fabric. Draw roughly around the frame, and around this draw another box about the same width as the frame. Use the template for marking out the fabric.
Cut around the fabric following the outside box line. For the inside box, draw two diagonal lines from corner to corner. Starting in the centre, cut along these diagonal lines, stopping just before you reach the edge of the inner box (See Fig. 1 in the template). This creates four triangular flaps which will help you to wrap the fabric tightly around the frame.
Glue the cotton wool onto the frame. If you've made your frame some parts may need more padding to make it even.
Take the piece of fabric and place the frame onto it, with the cotton wool side face down. Take one side of the fabric and pull tightly over the frame, then glue down. Pull the triangular flap and glue over the top. Repeat on all sides of the frame. Don't worry if it looks a bit messy, this will be covered up later on.
We decorated our frame by sewing a piece of ribbon around it, but you can use anything you like. Buttons or lace work well, or you can use fabric paints.
Take a piece of cardboard, cut to the size of the frame.
Paste your image, illustration, drawing or photograph onto the card, making sure that it is centred and can be seen through the frame. You can stick it on with blu-tack to make sure it is positioned correctly before you finally glue it.
National Archives: Victorian Britain
History in Focus: The Victorian Era
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victorian Web
British Library: Online Exhibition: Victorian Britain
Pollock's Toy Museum
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