Wood has a whole range of decorative possibilities, explored by creative minds across thousands of years of woodworking – and today marquetry wooden picture frames are one of the more attractive results. Ancient wood art techniques provide some of the inspiration for these designs. At the same time, cutting edge technologies make them affordable enough for anyone to display their pictures in these striking frames.
Marquetry involves fitting pieces of different colored wood together to form a pattern or mosaic on the surface of a wooden object. Wooden picture frames with marquetry designs – or the related “intarsia”, where entire chunks of wood are fitted together like a puzzle, rather than surface slivers of veneer – can incorporate many different designs, from simple geometric patterns to illustrations to abstract modern patterns.
How Marquetry Is Used In Wooden Picture Frames
Most wooden picture frames made in a marquetry style are fairly small. In fact, most are photo frames specifically, with an opening designed for the typical photo sizes of 5″ by 7″, 4″ by 6″, and 8″ by 10″, with the “eight by tens” representing the largest size usually available.
Since wood comes in many different tones – and can easily be stained to feature colors that do not occur readily in nature, such as blues, greens, or yellows – marquetry allows the creation of everything from highly detailed geometric designs and elegant Celtic knot work to big, bold, slightly garish patterns of checkers or stripes.
As with all other wooden picture frames, there is a large range of quality and prices for them. Because of this range, you get what you pay for, but even the cheapest frames are sure to be eye-catching and stand out from the ordinary. This, of course, does not mean that marquetry frames are suitable for every kind of picture. Simple checkerboard, marbled, or herringbone frames may cost as little as $12 to $15, while sleek designer frames from Italy can cost $50 to $100 or more.
Intarsia Wooden Picture Frames
Among the many thousands of ways that people have thought of to craft wood decoratively, intarsia is closely related to marquetry and is sometimes used to make wooden picture frames, too. Intarsia work usually costs more but is well worth the extra price for those who want extra durability. Instead of thin pieces of veneer being glued onto a plain wooden backing to form a pattern or mosaic, the design goes all the way through the thickness of the wood.
Intarsia is often made by gluing together many thin rods and other shapes of wood so that their ends form a pattern or picture. The block of wood produced in this way is then sliced into layers to make multiple copies of the same pattern. Simpler intarsia is a wooden “puzzle” cut out of various kinds of wood and glued together. This produces a blockier look but is quicker and cheaper than the extremely painstaking design work used in the other method.
Some intarsia wooden picture frames have intarsia pictures already inserted in them – in effect, they are framed wooden tapestries to hang on your wall. There are plenty of frames, however, with an open space in the middle and a rabbet cut to house the glass, art, and backing that you choose to display in your home – providing an artistic flourish to your wall or mantelpiece when you set up your favorite pictures there.
If you choose intarsia or marquetry wooden picture frames, you’ll find that the detailing these processes add to the frame will provide a special touch to that favorite photograph. These approaches are especially appropriate when an event such as a wedding, birth, or graduation is involved.