DIY: An Angkor Apsara Framed With Scrapbook Paper

The children in Cambodia are adorable. Spunky and smiling. They like to practice their English with you.  They ask you if you’re from “Caleeefornia” or “Washington DeeeCeee.” We say “Chicaaago,” and they say “ooooooh, where’s that?” And then they get into their sales pitch! Everything seems to be “One dollar, one dollar.”

There are also introspective children perched among the Angkor ruins, drawing:

Cambodian Girl Drawing a Picture at Angkor Wat

We purchased a drawing from a young, quiet sensitive-looking girl years ago when we visited:

Angkor Apsara via India pied-a-terre

I recently rediscovered it. I found a long slim rectangular frame for it. The frame has been sitting around unused because it’s a difficult shape to deal with:

Long Slim Rectangular Frame Placement

Where I got it, who knows. I pick up frames that were custom-made and  returned to Joann, Michaels or Hobby Lobby, then priced at a steep discount. This must be one of those.

The drawing and frame are both slim and long, so I thought there could be a creative placement.

I didn’t want a plain solid color matte. I thought a subtle pattern could complement the drawing. Scrapbook paper is perfect for adding some pattern to frames. I played with scrapbook papers in purple, orange and gray-green:

Testing Different Colors of Scrapbook Papers

… and finally settled on purple.

So here’s the steps:

  1. Cut chipboard to fit the frame, to make a strong stable backing (I used three passes of an exacto knife and that worked fine to cut a thick chipboard I got at Dick Blick’s).
  2. Cut a matte to frame the image (more about how to do this below).
  3. Cut scrapbook papers to cover the matte.
  4. Attach the scrapbook papers to the front of the matte with acid-free scrapbook tape.
  5. Attach the image to the back of the matte with acid-free scrapbook tape.
  6. Assemble all the pieces in the frame.

What about glass? You can use glass or go glass-free. I’m taking my frame to the Michaels around the corner to get glass cut to fit the frame.

Now about cutting a beveled edge on a matte with no math involved …

If you think you want to cut your own mattes (because framing is expensive!) just get a matte-cutting tool. Folks, these photos show the first time I ever cut a matte with a beveled edge! It’s that easy! Just follow the directions that come with the matte-cutting tool. I made a sweet beveled edge, so proud!

DIY Picture Frame Matte Cutting

So to measure placement of your image … this usually involves math. I’m not great at math. So I found a way to measure placement and cut the matte without using much math. Here’s what I did:

  1. Cut a piece of paper that’s the size of the cut-out you need around your image. It should not be the exact same size of the paper your image is on. The cut-out should be smaller than your image’s paper, so the edges will be tucked behind the matte when you’re done. I cut a piece of paper the same size as the apsara drawing paper, then I trimmed 1/4″ off the top and bottom. So the edges of the drawing’s paper would go behind the matte by 1/8″. (Okay that is a little bit of math, but it’s on a ruler, so it’s visual and easy to follow!)
  2. Place this piece of paper you just cut out onto the side of the matte where you need to cut. (The directions for my matte cutter said to cut on the back of the matte.) Simply place the paper where you want your image to be in the frame. Because your matte should be the same size as the inside of your frame, this is an easy way to figure out placement:

Cutting a Picture Frame Matte With No Math

  1. Cut around this piece of paper with your matte cutter.

Cutting a Picture Frame Matte

Cutting a Pictur Frame Matte

It’s as simple as that! No math! Just play with shapes instead.

Next, because I wanted to cover the matte with scrapbook paper, I used the paper cut-out guide again to cut the scrapbook papers to size, so they’d fit around the apsara image:

Covering Picture Frame Matte with Scrapbook Paper

And here’s my final result:



Shared at:

A Diamond in the Stuff | Chic on a Shoestring Decorating | Craft-O-Maniac | DIY Showoff – That DIY Party | DIY Sunday Showcase | Home Stories A to Z | House of HepworthsI Gotta CreateI Heart Nap Time | It’s Overflowing | Ivy & Elephants | Mop It Up MondayNap Time Creations | Project Inspire{d} | Remodelaholic | Savvy Southern StyleSkip to My Lou | Strut Your Stuff Saturday | Take-A-Look Tuesday | tatertots & jelloThe Crafty Blog Stalker | The DIY Dreamer | The Shabby Nest

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

8 Replies to “DIY: An Angkor Apsara Framed With Scrapbook Paper”

  1. Nicely done! It’s really beautiful. When I run in to people selling things this unique I’m hard pressed not to go crazy buying everything. Bought a few prints of Istanbul from the grand bazaar, and maps of Saudi also. Love having unique things like this on the wall, mostly because I love the creative framing process! Next time (after I’m back in the US and read to frame these) I’ll ask for your suggestions!

    1. Thank you Andrea! The price of this was printed in pencil on the back – $8. I don’t know how long it took the girl to draw it or how that translates into family income for Cambodia. Wish we’d found more things like this there. There were LOTS of pre-printed postcards being sold by children for “only one dollar.” I SO want to go to Istanbul and the Grand Bazaar …

  2. Lovely painting. We’ve seen many of these younger kids or adults selling paintings around Angkor Wat. One guy told us that he wasn’t allowed to sell anything around there and that’s why he was hiding behind a temple (where we found him). The police gives him big fines for that. We bought 2 paintings as well. Is yours also made of rice paper? They were all lovely!

    1. Hi Claudia! I did notice at some temples, all the sellers were well outside the temple, along the path to the temple entrances or off to the side. Which is nice for the tourists so you’re not bombarded by them. There were so many children selling alone at the smaller temples – makes you wonder who are they selling for, is it really for their families or someone else? I’m glad you got some paintings too! I don’t think mine is on rice paper, or else I don’t know what rice paper is! It is a thicker paper.

      1. That could definitely be rice paper. When you fold it and after a while unfold it, the paper is still ok? That’s what he showed us a hundred times. Otherwise we couldn’t buy anything because they were so big.

        I know what you mean about the children. Let’s hope they sell it for their own family and not for someone else.

        PS: everything is still 1 dollar. That made a lot of things even more expensive than Vietnam.

        1. My painting is small so it was never folded. But I think it would crease if I folded it. I’d love a big one though!

          We have the funniest story about the kids selling in Siem Reap – so many seem to sell the same postcards. One CUTE boy with a baseball cap on backwards came up to us in town and wanted to sell postcards to us (for one dollar of course!). We had already bought the same postcards. So my MBA husband started teaching him a “product differentiation” lesson. He actually used those words! When the little boy realized we weren’t going to buy the postcards we already bought from someone else, he said “you made me mad!” and stomped off. He really didn’t appreciate the product differentiation lesson. I almost bought the same things from him because he was so cute, and he tried so hard.

  3. I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven’t already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday’s at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday! I would be honored if you join us! Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *