April 22, 2013

My DIY Agate Art

You know I love rocks.  I have one of many childhood rock collections on display (okay, technically two), I've made jewellery from slices of gift shop agate, and more recently I mooned over some ridiculously expensive framed agate art.  I'd been waiting for the right agate slices to cross my path, to make my own agate art.  While shopping for a friend's bedroom makeover, I spotted a gorgeous set of large agate coasters, dyed teal (they photograph more blue) and trimmed in gold, at HomeSense.  I also spotted a grey set I regret not buying because they were only $19.99 for four.


This really is a super simple DIY project, but the secret is in the supplies:

The Frames:
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 each
Available at: Pottery Barn, 855-860-1079, www.potterybarn.com

The Glue:
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.


The How-to:
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.

66 comments:

  1. I love this Diy!!!I have some stones like those and I´ll try to do this because it is a wonderfull idea.
    Thanks for inspiration ;)
    http://xelinhadiy.blogspot.com.es/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I'd love to see your finished project :)

      Delete
  2. Fabulous project - love it and want to make my own set!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I definitely cannot stop staring at them and have claimed the seat at the dining room table with the best view of them as mine, lol.

      Delete
  3. Beautiful! They look so custom! I found some agate bookends at Winners and left them behind.. kicking myself now. These are such a beautiful blue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jane!

      We need some kind of community where we can ask other Winners and HomeSense shoppers to check their stores for something we want. Usually my stores get one or two of something and when it's gone it's gone. Imagine if we could ask folks in other cities to double check if they still have X item and ship it (in return for doing the same)? I think I need to go on Dragon's Den with this idea, lol.

      Maybe the agate bookends will pop up again? Let's hope whoever bought them returned them!

      Delete
  4. These are gorgeous! I recently added some gold edges to a set of plain agate slice coasters, and while they're great as coasters, I may just have to turn them to art after seeing this. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A friend actually sent me a link to your project and I pinned it right away - you did a beautiful job. They would look lovely framed!

      Delete
  5. Seriously, all I can think of to say right now is "you are GOOD". Your dining room is completely gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :D It's nice because we hung up the art when family was visiting so the (newly) pretty dining room even got some use. I am going to be honest: when it's just Hubs and I we don't really use it. But maybe now I will!

      Delete
  6. These turned out so nicely and look dynamite hanging above your new buffet! Home run!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks! It's funny how quickly that little area transformed - and it was all unplanned!! I stumbled across the hutch and the agate when I wasn't looking for either. Sometimes it pays to just go with the flow.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I'm lucky to have found such nice slices of agate dyed such a vibrant hue!

      Delete
  8. Everyone keeps saying these are gorgeous, but dude, THESE ARE GORGEOUS. So elegant and sophisticated. I love, love, love it! And I'm totally going to try it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! Your comment made me smile :)

      I'm happy they look sophisticated (especially because it's such an affordable project). I think the gold trim helps and if I were to find more agate slices to frame (because really, is four enough?), I'd try my hand at edging them because I think it gives them that extra something.

      Delete
  9. They turned out beautifully and I love where you hung them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amelia! I had people fighting me on the spot (Mom, looking at you) but after there was no other spot where they looked good I tried again over the cabinet and I just loved them there. They clicked for me and I trusted my gut. A week later - I still love them and go out of my way to pass by them!!

      Delete
  10. Love these! What a fab idea to frame the agate. They look stunning! I too like them over the cabinet with all the beautiful glass pieces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I thought you might like my Iittala glassware ;)

      Delete
  11. Dear Tanya
    I have been following your blog for a while - I always get excited when I find a "local" blog (I grew up in Ottawa, now live in Arnprior) and I must say I really admire your sense of style. I love your furniture choices and how everything looks so classy but homey. You are very inspirational. I followed your trip in Hungary and again have to say I love when I see a new post from the townhouse!
    Take care, look forward to seeing more -
    JoAnn

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Tanya
    Just a quick note to tell you that I really admire your sense of style and how you always seem to pull everything together - enjoy reading your posts and all your adventures thrifting! As someone who grew up in Ottawa and now live in the valley I get a kick out of reading local/Canadian blogs.... I subscribe via Google reader but will now get my subscription via my email - I don't want to miss any of your posts!!
    JoAnn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JoAnn, thanks for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment(s)! (Sorry - it seems like the comment section was giving you trouble. I've had to start approving comments because of some really inappropriate spam. I left both comments because they made my day!). Your kind words really mean a lot to me.

      Ottawa is a great place to have grown up in! Such a beautiful city. I really should dedicate a few posts to shopping and living here. Maybe readers who are more familiar with the city, like you, could chime in with suggestions. It seems I find a new city or trail or shop every week!

      Delete
  13. Love this idea! I'm always so inspired by your posts! I'm definitely going to try this if I'm lucky enough to find some agate slices. And thanks for the tip about Pottery Barn frames. Most of my frames are exactly like your other frames, but it might be nice to upgrade. The smooth miter does make a difference to the overall look, especially for something as glam as this project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pottery Barn had these on sale, too, at the time of making this project. This size is a bit more money (double the ultra cheap Ribba frames from Ikea) but the difference is HUGE. I've never seen such a nice corner - I think they might apply the finish after assembly, but I'm just guessing. I'm so happy I got to test them out, because it's not something people can tell online.

      Good luck with finding some agate! There is lots around online but also gift shops at museums often have them and home decor stores seem to stock agate coasters right now because they were trendy in the high end stores. Agate slices are having a moment, so I am sure you'll find some!

      Delete
  14. Tanya, this is beautiful. The framed agate on their own are lovely but perfect for above the cabinet with the Littala glassware. The colours coordinate beautifully and look so elegant- agate and glass play especially well together- so sparkly, I feel like a magpie.

    Really, an all-round success- perfect colours, perfect location and perfectly elegant. Love it! Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First of all, thanks!!

      I am a total Magpie too!! I would fill this cabinet with glitter if I could (and if it wouldn't make me look insane). I try to hold back on the sparkles and shimmer do Hubby doesn't go blind, but I do love the shimmery glassware with the pretty rocks with this project. It's low key fancy.

      It was hard to photograph the agate because it is facing a window and the light glared, but they really do glow and gleam! I am having a friend over for dinner tonight and it will be a challenge to focus on our conversation and not just stare at the agate (which I did a lot last week, when my parents were visiting and we had just hung the agate, lol).

      Delete
    2. haha! that's a funny image of you trying to stayed engaged while looking lovingly over your friend's shoulder at your agate art.

      Delete
    3. I couldn't do it! I sat with my back to them and encouraged her to sit facing them. I caught her eye wandering!! But I was focused, lol.

      Delete
  15. They turned-out beautifully and look gorgeous over your new buffet!! You turn-out some really gorgeous stuff ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thank you! Sometimes I take awhile to plan/execute projects but that helps because I normally end up with projects I like :)

      Delete
  16. Those are gorgeous! I think this may be one of my favorites of your DIY projects.

    ReplyDelete
  17. this is really one of my favorite projects you've done! I really love this. it looks very custom and fits great in your beautiful home. great job tanya!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much!! I'm really happy with it. It doesn't look like it's handmade, which is sometimes a nice quality of a DIY project!

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. Thanks! The gold trim, as hard a time as I have incorporating gold, is what makes them, I think.

      Delete
    2. Where do you buy your gold dipped agate slices? (is the gold foiled on to the stone?)

      Delete
    3. I bought them at HomeSense (it's like a HomeGoods for American readers). I think they were dipped because the edge is smooth and uniform. Amazon has lots, and sometimes you can find a great gem show on for a weekend.

      Delete
  19. What a lucky fund for only $20! And fab way to show them off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard people find them at Gem Shows for $2 a slice - so I'm searching there next!

      Delete
  20. Ok, you"ve inspired me! I have had two similar agate pieces sitting on my desk for months with the intention of doing the same thing you did. Yours came out so beautiful! I think I'll gold leaf my edges, I love how yours looks. And! Those frames are on sale right now, cha ching! Thanks for the great tutorial, your townhouse is looking so refined, great job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so excited you will be framing your agate slices!! So fun. Definitely gold leaf the edges. I don't even have a lot of gold in the townhouse, but I love the look on the agate. And yep, those frames are on sale! Sweet timing :)

      Delete
  21. Ooh I LOVE this! Definitely one I need to do for my living room. I would also *love* to link to your project in the Daily DIY if you didn't mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel,

      Thanks :) You may absolutely link to this project! Let me know if you'd like me to email you any of the photos, too, or you're welcome to snag one from the blog. Send me the link when it's live because I'd love to share with my readers!
      (dans.le.townhouse@gmail.com)

      Delete
  22. Wow. I mean wow! I love agate and have been looking for a cool way to display them. Awesome. I also really like the pic of the pottery ban frames all lined up. Do you know how one could make the leafy looking one? You know those framed dried up leaf pictures with their veins showing. I tried miserably to make it on my own...ended up with some crusty brown lead crumbs :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I think the Pottery Barn leafy pictures are actually prints, not real leaves. I only remember drying leaves as a kid, but I'd check Pinterest because I'm sure there are some fresh and modern tutorials.

      Delete
    2. Aaah. Makes sence. Thanks!

      Delete
  23. How very elegant! So glad you included cardstock and cardboard in your supply list as they gave me a reason to share your post via All Things Paper on FB. :) I will be on the lookout for agate coasters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for sharing my project on your Facebook page!! Something fun might be to find more neutral coasters (like the grey set I regret not buying) and backing them on a fun patterned or textured paper!!

      Delete
    2. That idea sounds like it would be gorgeously handsome too!

      Delete
  24. I just found your blog and scrolled through the DIY page; This one's my favourite so far. So great that you've found a way to include agate in your home decoration. I feel like I would mess up if I tried it myself but it looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, but I promise this is really easy!! The secret is in the epoxy - I use that stuff for everything from repairs to making jewellery!

      Delete
  25. Absolutely stunning! This truly blew me away. I wanted to let you know that I featured it on my blog today as part of a roundup of unique framed art ideas! Check it out here: http://justagirlandherblog.com/unique-framed-art-ideas/ . Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    ~Abby =)

    ReplyDelete
  26. These are lovely. Could you tell me if these frames are shadowboxes? Or are they regular frames but just deep enough to handle the thickness of the agate? I have some agates and really want to try this but want to be sure the frame will fit. I am so hopeful mine will look as good as yours--they are for my dining room, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Whitney, thanks! These frames are not shadow boxes really, but they do come with a little spacer that keeps the glass a few mm away from the matting (you can see it in the photo if you look close - a little off-white strip). Having said that, I have seen other people try this and use regular frames. I would take a slice along with you when you go to buy frames. If in doubt, Ikea ribba frames can be used as shadow frames or regular frames and are super similar to these ones. I'm so excited for your new dining room art!!

      Delete
  27. I don't know how to comment correctly because I don't have a url. I am just a reader, not a blogger. But I wondered if the frames were shadowboxes since they have to be deep for the agates? They are just beautiful and I am so impressed with your work. I would love an answer if possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Non bloggers are always welcome and no url needed! These aren't shadowboxes but there is a spacer that keeps the glass away from the matting a tiny bit. I'm happy you like them :) Ikea makes a similar frame that would work well too, it is a shadow box (called the Ribba). Hope that helps!

      Delete
  28. Love! I hadn't seen your project until after I had done mine, could have used the epoxy tip! I used a thin (ish) foam board as my backing and it worked well. My agate slices were actually coasters and had the rubber "legs" on them. I kept them on. Much harder to glue but I like the added depth. Overall yours look much better tgan mine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Using foam board is an excellent idea. I wouldn't sell your project short - I think the little rubber feet would add a nice bit of depth and maybe even let a little light through. Such a fun project, isn't it? I enjoyed assembling these.

      Delete

You've made my day! I love hearing from you.
Unless you're a spammer. Spam commenters, you're out of luck: I approve each and every comment, so don't waste your time here :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...