Fairly recently I saw an advert for a picture frame making course. I thought well, that sounds different, interesting and fun! I love photographs and would like to take more – beef up the old photography hobby. Imagine if I could no only produce the photo, but also the frame! So, I booked a space.
I am not sure what I expected. I think I imagined cardboard and pretty paper, or perhaps a picture-frame making kit. I certainly didn’t really prepare myself for the use of powertools. Typically any type of machine bores me to tears – or terrifies me. I just think of the times I’ve been dragged around Builders’ Warehouse by the Beer Man whose eyes are wide with excitement each time he sees a bigger and better handyman “appliance”.
So, there I arrived and was faced with saws and drills and nails and all of those pretty things. Oh, and pieces of wood – because, of course, we were starting from scratch with just a plank. No such luxury as a picture frame making kit. This was the real deal.
Actually, I thought the course was going to take place at a hardware store but this one turned out to be held at the house of the woman who organises these courses. Fine by me, a bit more of a feminine setting and less intimidating.
Turns out I was the only person doing the course that morning – the others had cancelled. Great, individual attention… and all eyes on me. But, I would get to make more frames… or so I was told. That didn’t happen.
The course was held outside – glad it wasn’t during a rainy period like we have had of late! Can’t say things were very tidy, but the house was being renovated so there was dust everywhere and, who expects a neat and clean workshop? But, big boo-boo number one: doggie business next to the table where we were working. Very, very unpleasant.
Picture Frame Making
Anyway, to continue. Having seen examples of the end product, we got a started with the picture frame making. Measuring and cutting the wood – with a large menacing-looking machine whose name I cannot for the life of me remember. But, guess what, I really enjoyed it! Somehow I bonded with that saw-thing and was a little peeved that the teacher seemed to take over a bit and do more of the work for me. Using those machines really gave me a thrill. I guess that is the “power” in power tools.
I must say that the teacher was very pleasant and patient and I didn’t feel like an imbecile for not knowing anything mechanical. However, she did rather battle with left and right and placing the pieces together.
But, oh dear, I really started to have my concerns when she said that they were trying out a new method of making the frames today. They had not done picture frame making this way before. Now, anyone who has done any form of training knows that you can’t try out new methods during a course. It is a recipe for disaster. You have to be prepared, know your stuff and know the potential issues and pitfalls. Even if it turns out to be a better method, it will usually take a bit of practice to perfect it and get it to course-standard. Unfortunately, I was correct in my fears and this picture frame making course was a flop.
Basically, usually in this picture frame making course they make the frame and then have the glass cut to fit. This time they had the glass and were making the frame to fit it. So, what went wrong?
Well, the problems started when we were putting the frame together. We couldn’t get it to line up perfectly squarely and have the glass fit perfectly. Pushing, pulling, cutting new pieces that could maybe fit better – nothing worked and it all took time. The blame was placed on the table we were working on: It was skew. It seemed there wasn’t another one available to use.
Then, because of the alignment issue, using glue to hold the frame together became a problem. So, that method was ditched (much to my disappointment because that is the option I would use at home for picture frame making) and we used some other machine to make holes in the pieces and then use clip-type things with glue to hold them together. Still, the frame wasn’t very straight.
So, the teacher went to get the course organiser to help. She started to blame the cutting machine, saying it needed new blades and therefore wasn’t cutting straight. Sorry, you can’t give a course with equipment that is not working properly!
With my looking on, the teacher had a go at making another frame with not much more luck. With all of this fiddling around and battling, the morning had flown by and time was up. The glue had not had a chance to dry so the frame couldn’t be painted yet. Also, we hadn’t got round to making the backing.
I was so disappointed that my picture frame wasn’t complete. Probably what made it worse was that I had started off with enjoying the course very much indeed.
Apparently I could “finish it at home”. Well, that means going out and finding the materials to use for the backing when I don’t actually know how to make the backing. I’d also need to get some spray-on paint – which I have never used. I’d need to buy a whole can for this one project. Plus, my picture frame could then only be one colour.
I knew I had lost the motivation and didn’t have the confidence to take it any further on my own. When one goes for a course one wants to leave with the knowledge and experience as to how to follow the procedure, go through the project from start to finish. And, with any type of craft or creative project, you want a completed end product.
I was very dissatisfied with this picture frame making course. It was unprofessional, poorly put together and disappointing in the outcome – or rather, the lack of outcome. I also think that they should specify the machinery that will be used because, what happens if you don’t have some of those tools at home? They are not cheap! Oh, and to make matters worse, The Beer Man later told me that they should have used a metal frame to hold the pieces together squarely. Perhaps my next powertool-related course will be with him.
It’s a great pity because I had wanted to other courses with DIY-Divas. Obviously that won’t happen.
The picture frame now sits in the garage – unfinished – and will be turfed in the next clean-up.
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