April is one of my absolute favorite months for a couple of reasons. One, it’s my birthday month, and two, it’s our wedding anniversary—we’re coming up on year three! We don’t follow the traditional annual anniversary gift sequence (i.e. paper for year one, cotton for year two, and so on), but I do like to do a little something special for my honey. This year, I decided to commemorate the occasion with a custom portrait care of Yellow Heart Art.
The first step was to send YHA founder and artist Leonora some photos from our engagement session with Katie Stoops as inspiration. The only thing I asked Leonora to change up was my hair, because I’ve dyed it platinum blonde since those photos were snapped.
A couple of weeks later, the finished portrait arrived—and it was perfect. In order to really show it off, I decided to create a simple wooden yY clipboard frame that could be hung in a matter of seconds—and, more importantly, it didn’t require power tools to create. I documented the process in case you wanted to try it at home. Here’s how.
- Custom Yellow Heart Art portrait
- Thin sheet of birch wood crafting veneer (mine measured 1/32 x 12 x 24″)
- Heavy duty snippers
- Pen or pencil
- Painter’s tape
- Acrylic craft paint
- Binder clip
- Minwax wood stain (I used “Dark Walnut”)
- Flathead screwdriver (to open the can of stain)
- Foam paint brush
- Utility paper towels
Start by laying your portrait out on the wood veneer and, using a straightedge as a visual guide, determine the size of the finished wood mount. My plan was to add a decorative triangle detail at the bottom, so I allowed for about three inches of excess wood to show beneath the bottom edge of the portrait. I drew a line with my pen and then used the snippers to cut through the thin board.
Next, I gave the veneer one coat of my favorite shade of “Dark Walnut” Minwax stain. I used a foam paintbrush to brush on a layer of the stain, let it sit for one minute and then wiped off the excess with a utility paper towel. I left the wood to dry for 24 hours.
Next, I added a line of painter’s tape about two inches from the bottom of the wood and then, using a ruler, measured out and made marks every two inches on the top edge of the sectioned off area, the part right beneath the bottom edge of the painter’s tape. After that, I made marks every two inches on the bottom edge of the sectioned off area, the part at the bottom edge of the wood itself.
The only difference was that I started the line of marks one inch from the outside edge so that they ended up staggered in comparison to the top row of marks—those started two inches from the outside edge. To make this a little easier to understand, I illustrated where the marks were placed below.
Add small pieces of painter’s tape to connect the top marks with the bottom ones to make the triangle pattern come to life. Then, use a foam paintbrush to add two to three coats of acrylic craft paint in a coordinated color scheme in between the painter’s tape. Paint away from the tape to avoid paint seeping beneath the edges of the tape, and allow each coat to dry for 20 minutes before going on to the next. After the final coat, remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still wet and discard it. Allow the paint to fully cure for 24 hours.
Come back the next day and reapply the tape to finish the triangle pattern. You’ll end up overlapping the triangles that you painted the day before with tape, which is why you needed to let the paint cure overnight. Repeat the painting steps and then remove the tape while the paint is still wet. Discard the tape and allow the paint to cure for another 24 hours.
To finish, clip your portrait onto the newly decorated wood board using a binder clip and then hang it on a small finishing nail or thumbtack hammered into the wall. I think we’ll be enjoying this one for years to come—thanks Leonora!