This really is a super simple DIY project, but the secret is in the supplies:
- Agate slices (try Etsy, Amazon, or look for local gem shows or shops in your area)
- Square matted frames (mine are 5"x5" Wood Gallery Single Opening Frames from Pottery Barn)
- Gel Epoxy (designed for slippery surfaces like stone)
- Glue stick
- White cardstock paper and cardboard
For this project I found a really fabulous frame that makes the whole project look professional. What makes these Pottery Barn frames special is the impressive quality, particularly on the corners. So many other frames have a messy miter, while these are completely seamless.
Wood Gallery Single Opening Frames, 5 x 5”, Modern White - $25 eachAvailable at: Pottery Barn, 855-860-1079, www.potterybarn.com
You know I am a fan of LePage Gel Epoxy and have used it for a whole host of projects, including my agate necklaces and tile trivets. This time we bought one specifically designed for glass, ceramic and stone. Just to be sure, I glued the agate slices over a week ago and have had them hanging to be sure the glue holds. And it does (knock on wood)! Ask your local hardware store folks for their recommendation for the best epoxy or glue to affix agate slices if you're going to make your own agate art.
First I created a backing for the agate by gluing two sheets of white cardstock paper together and then to the cardboard backing that came with the frames. I kept the glue to the area behind the matting, in case it crinkled or stained the paper. I added some packing tape to be doubly sure, but I think this was a touch neurotic. It's tricky to photograph, but you can see the backing here:
Next I held up the agate slices to a light source to figure out where to apply the epoxy. Although it dries clear I wanted to be sure no gobs of glue would be seen through the less opaque sections of the agate.
I mixed together the two-part epoxy and applied it with a wooden skewer (toothpick works) to the most opaque sections of the stone, keeping away from the edge to avoid squishing epoxy out the sides.
I eyeballed the center of each matting and gently pressed the agate in place, wiggling it a little.
I very patiently waited a whole 48 hours before hanging the agate slices over the new dining room cabinet. I want to keep the surface of the cabinet clear, for use during dinner, but it needed something . . . the quirky placement of the agate slices below the pass through, and at eye level when folks are sitting, means they can be admired during dinner and they also add some character (and purpose) to the new furniture, creating a sweet little vignette and making everything seem more thoughtful and intentional. I love them!
The gold edge nicely incorporates the touch of gold I'm always craving, in the teeniest, tiniest portion - which I think is all I can handle - and the agate reminds me of Lake Superior. Over the years, with the additions of the new dining room painting, framed enamel art, mid-century cabinet, Shane Norrie pottery and now the framed agate slices, the dining room has become such a fun and lively space. Happy sigh.
P.S. The four frames for this project are courtesy of Pottery Barn, but I wasn't asked or encouraged to write a favorable review or gush. The gushing is all me, because I would definitely buy frames from Pottery Barn in the future. The "modern white" is a really crisp and clean white that I love. Even more importantly, the quality is first-rate and makes my other square frames look a little cheap. I'm actually thinking of ordering another set of four to replace my framed enamel artwork and elevate that sentimental art. The Wood Gallery Single Opening Frames comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, too, making them ideal for gallery walls. Pottery Barn is definitely DIY project-friendly too, offering amazing wall decor ideas and a guide for creating a frame display.
I shared this tutorial at the DIY Showoff.