I craft year round, but when fall opens the doorway to winter, I spend even more time creating than I do during the warmer spring and summer months. Part of it is the simple fact that I live rurally, and when the snow flies, the last thing I want to do is shovel a path to the car and drive to town on icy roads. Finding something constructive to do inside where I can watch the snow fall and keep my fingers from becoming frostbitten is high on my list.
One of my newest and favorite hobbies is working with memory glass and miniature frames. The Ranger Ink Company has created a complete line of various sized glass with matching frames that are easy to turn into miniature masterpieces. The glass, originally microscope slides I have been told, are pre-finished with rounded edges, and fit simply and easily into frames that are also sold by the same company.
What you put in the frames is what is so much fun though! I actually paint miniature portraits to encase in them, but your imagination is really your only limit. If it can be slid between the two pieces of microscope glass, and still allow the glass to fit in the frame, go for it! Pretty pieces of scrap sized scrapbook paper, photographs, dried flowers, or greenery, even collectible bits of ephemera. Do keep whatever you use as flat as can be. Inserting thick objects just will not work, especially as you go to insert the pieces of glass and contents into the frames. Keep it thin, and keep it flat is the best advice you can follow when creating your own memory frames.
Each framed piece can be done single sided or double sided, all depending on what you plan to do with the finished piece. For example, if you are creating an ornament, you might want to place pretty scraps of Christmas paper on one side, and a snapshot of a loved one on the other side. If you are making a keepsake necklace, and you have two kids, then put one on each side. I paint a portrait for one side, and then back it with a slip of pretty scrap paper that will match the colors in my painting, or I have been known to paint each side, so no matter which way you flip the frame, you are looking at a portrait. You can do the same with whatever you choose to put in them. One sided, or two sided, they look great.
Assembling the frames around the glass slides is very simple. Each frame has a simple to open strip that slides through a pre cut notch in one side of the frame. The strip is easily bent up and slid either into or out of the slit. Once the strip is out, you carefully fold open the sides of the frame and insert the two layers of glass and whatever it is you are inserting between the glasses. Next, close the frame ever so carefully back around the glass slides and contents. Slide the strip back through the slit and fold down. If you do not close it tightly, the frame will be a tad bit loose and this is not good. You want to be sure that you bend the strip down as tight as you can.
Once the frame is complete, you can then choose to use them as a necklace, ornament, or even as a fun addition to your keychain. If you want to create a necklace, they can be hung from a traditional chain, from colored ribbon that coordinates with whatever you have placed into the frame, or even on necklace cording sold in your craft store. For a keychain, finish them off with a simple key ring. Ornaments are easily made with a bit of yarn or ribbon. The only limits to what you put into them, or how you display them once they are finished, is only the boundary of your own imagination and creativity. If you have been wondering what to give that hard to buy for person this upcoming holiday season, be sure to check out the Ranger Ink Company memory slides and frames.