10 New Molding Designs

Last year I expanded my ordering options with a line of hand crafted wood frames. After months of planning and designing I created two molding styles and framed one of my pieces using each. Those frames appeared in every 2018 festival I attended. People enjoyed the frames but the response was even better when they found out they were handmade. One of my goals for 2019 is to come up with at least two more options to add to the line. I’ve had some designs bouncing around in my head but really wanted to push my creativity so for the final list of 10 I forced myself to come up with 10 new molding designs.

While the idea was to design 10 new moldings, the details of each design are loose. You'll notice I left out dimensions and while I tried to exhibit the general colors I had in mind, I didn't specify the types of wood that would be used. I plan on experimenting with different techniques and wood species throughout the year which will hopefully lead to at least two new options so for now think of these as rough drafts.

1. You will find a lot of shadow box frames around town these days. The hard edges give a sharp contemporary look that doesn't distract from the picture. With a thin border, the frame creates a simple enclosure for the images. The thickness of the frame elevates the picture to really make it pop off the wall. I would like to use a darker species of wood but I could always stain the wood to bring it closer to black which would pair well with any image. I'm hesitant to use stain or paint on my moldings as I prefer the natural color and grain of the wood but other than using exotic and very expensive wood those are my only other options to create a black frame. In this specific design I've added a very thin layer of lighter wood to the side of the frame but that detail is not one I'm tied to. This is a style I would like to add to the lineup but the final design may vary.

2. This next design is similar to the previous one with it's hard edges and elevated photo but would be more of an accent to the image. The thickness would be about half that of the previous design but the width would be much greater. The frame was designed specifically for "Gallow's Pole" so I would ideally use a darker wood species with minimal grain to allow the tremendous texture in the photo to stand out. Using a darker wood like walnut I would place two small strips close to the inside of the frame and one more on the edge. This molding would receive my standard oil treatment to preserve the natural appearance of the wood and deepen the colors just slightly.

3. In all of my experimenting, I rarely come up with designs for an inset photo. While the edges won't be hidden behind the frame, the molding will extend further than the image by an inch or so. Similar to the first design, this molding is kept thin to keep all the attention on the photo. Again I would like to keep this molding darker, basically black, so it can pair with any photo. This molding is designed with a thin layer of lighter wood on top to add an extra border. This detail might limit the pairing options so a simple black frame would be ideal but for experimental purposes I threw it in.

4. I am a big fan of this next design but think it would be limited in its usage. This is a rustic design perfect for a photo like "Ramble On" or "Go Your Own Way" due to the use of barn wood. Reclaimed barn wood is widely available and has been used for plenty of frames with the current repurposed materials fad. My design sandwiches the weathered wood between two well sanded laminated strips of wood. Using a wood species with a color similar to the barn wood would be ideal but since barn wood can vary in color it's hard to speculate on which type I would use. I can say I would use walnut for the thin strips within the frame to add a slight detail that I think will accent the raised barn wood nicely.

5. Half way through the list it's time to think outside the box. I actually came across this idea on Instagram but the process hadn't been used for a specific project. Lime wax is often paired with oak due to it's grain patterns. The wax settles into the grain creating a unique appearance to the wood. For this design I would stain the oak black and cover with white lime wax. I'm fine using stain for this frame because the wax would still display the grain of the wood. I could leave it there but for this design I played around with the idea of cutting small indents into the molding to create a white line in the frame. The wax will fill any crevice so the resulting black and white lines around the frame I think would be a nice touch that could be used for any photo.

6. We return to the shadow box design for this next molding. This option would feature a darker wood like walnut with lighter options like maple layered in. The edge would be angled on this design to lift the photo off the wall. Keeping the natural color of the wood similar to the "Jethro" style on the website would pair this frame nicely with earth toned photos like "Songs From the Wood". I find myself drawn toward the darker moldings because I believe they accent my photos better. While my "Fleetwood" design is primarily maple, the light color doesn't pair well with a majority of my images. 

7. This design looks a little busy in the computer mock up but I am curious what it would look like in real life. Using two contrasting species of wood I would laminate them to create the molding leaving the darker variety as the top layer. cutting the edge at an angle will reveal the various layers while leaving a thick dark border around the photo. Again the picture will be raised off the frame. I think the dimensions will play a big factor in this option making it onto the website. The layering is meant to be a minimal aspect so the angle of the cut will dictate how much is visible from a straight on vantage point. I worry this may be too busy, especially with 9 layers but the point of this list was to experiment with design options. If this design ends up being no good I may develop some other designs from it in the future.

8. There are some very unique species of wood in this world. You can find black or almost white wood, as well as red, blue and purple wood. Some species have incredible patterns. This wood can get extremely expensive however as it is hard to find and typically coming from other continents. Above I have an example using zebrawood, snakewood and black and white ebony wood. I think if I ever made the decision to experiment with these rare woods they would only be used as an accent piece. The design I used for this frame is very similar in shape to my "Jethro" molding. The outside would be a black stained hardwood cut at an angle to add depth to the frame. Inside I would use one of these unique hardwoods before the photo floats over the inside edge. My major worry with using these woods is pairing it with the right photo. Some of these species can get extremely busy and while I want to highlight the exotic wood I also don't want to take away from the picture. These species can vary tremendously between cuts so I could be very selective to find slabs that have a pattern I'm looking for.

9. This design uses a technique I've seen used before using sticks. You take a bundle of sticks running in the same direction, squeeze them together as tight as you can and glue them together. Then I would cut them into strips so you see a pattern of rings. The resulting texture is busy but I think it could pair well with some of my many tree pictures like "The Wind Cries Mary". It's difficult to display my ideal design as the rounds would be much smaller, tighter and lighter in color. Using a lighter finish on the fresh cut sticks would help limit the distraction. Ideally I could use small enough sticks and pack them close enough together that someone would have to get close to see the details and from afar would just think it was a light border within the frame. The rest of the frame would be black and could potentially use the liming wax method I described in #5. For this design I added a light layer of wood to the outside bevel. With the texture of the sticks on the inside, I would like to use a wood with a lot of texture in the grain for this strip to tie the whole frame together. I've never tried this technique with the sticks but I think it could be used for some interesting effects.

10. For this final design I went simple. All of my frames to this point have been darker but I wanted to include a lighter option. While it isn't perfectly white on the mock up, the actual frame would be very close to it. I mentioned I didn't want to use stains in previous designs but for this one it would be perfectly fine. Dark stains like I would need to use to create a black molding hide the grain of the wood but using a whitewash stain will lighten the wood up while leaving the pattern of the grain. I made this contour at a slight incline leading up to the frame where again the photo would float off. I prefer to float my photos because I mount them to aluminum and acrylic. That presentation creates a rigid piece that I can work with in different ways compared to a simple print behind glass. This light frame would pair well with an acrylic mount as the soft edges would create a nice transition from image to frame.

I hope you enjoyed this final list of 10. Let me know which design you would like to see the most in the comments!


  1. A lot of great ideas! The main thing is matching the right frame to the picture. I’m liking number 5 & 6.

  2. This information is meaningful and magnificent which you have shared here about the photography. I am impressed by the details that you have shared in this post and It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. I would like to thanks for sharing this article here. promo agencies London


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

10 Most Popular Photos of 2019

2019 Year in Review

High Tide or Low Tide