July 1, 2011

How to Repair a Gesso Frame

Never pass up a damaged Gesso frame or mirror 
Here's an easy way to repair it

 This mirror was missing gesso in two areas

You will need two products

1) Clay that hardens when baked, available at craft stores

2) Epoxy putty, found at hardware stores

Step 1  Soften the clay and apply it over an area of the mirror similar to the area where the gesso is missing. 

 Before applying the clay use a brush to apply a light dusting of powder or corn starch so the clay will not stick.

Like this...

Lets Try that again

Like this

Step 2 Bake your molds in the oven according to package instructions.  You now have a rock hard mold. 

Step 3 Mix the epoxy putty according to package instructions and put a blob of it in the area where the gesso is missing

Step 4  Dust the hardened clay mold with powder or corn starch, then put the mold over the epoxy putty blob ( wonder what the technical word is for blob?) and push down

Now lift your mold and let your epoxy putty dry

Then paint

Here's the rope finished

And Here is the flower finished

It's not perfect, but you can come pretty close

I hope I haven't bored you to tears!  

If you have minor repairs, see my 
previous post on gesso repair

Edit: I get many emails regarding how to match the old paint...I hope this helps

Matching paint is where the artist in yourself will have to come out.   I actually take my frame with me to the craft store, then I search the little craft bottles of paint to get the closest match, when I find one that works I put a dab of the paint on the frame.  Since the fames are old they are often dull and darkened in places from age.   So, I often will dab a little darker color on top.....It is kind of like a mad scientist thing...Will it be perfect...No, but stand back to look at your frame after you paint it, I am sure you will get close enough to fool the eye

Happy Creating!


Joining Miss Mustard Seed


karen hess jewelry said...

Carol, you are amazing!! I can't tell you how much I love your blog. You share so much with us and it's such an inspiration for me. I wish I could visit Orange Tree Antiques and meet you, and shop! But it's a "fer piece" from Tucson, AZ!! LOL Have a wonderful and happy holiday weekend!

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

You didn't bore me to tears... I thought this was very helpful!
And your frame turned out great! Makes perfectly good sense... Now I have a framed painting with gesso missing and I can make some repairs myself.
If and WHEN I get around to it...I'll post and tell everybody about the magic I learned here at the Polka Dot closet!
The CAT looks happy with your work too.
have a great 4th, Pat

Anonymous said...

I wish I had saw this years ago,, I needed this then,, I wish i was in your area,, I would love to go to that sale,, beautfiul cat by the way,, just lovely.You are so smart, you are my crafty hero, i'm always telling my hubby of your talents, you come up with the best stuff!

DeeDee said...

I so wish I had seen this about a week ago..I got rid of three of these mirrors..... wha a great tip... thanks for sharing it

and you can house sit this plant it is very easy.. water once a week...lol

thanks for the visit

Unknown said...

thanks so much for the tutorial goodness knows how many of those I have passed up at auctions but the cat is the best part he/she couldn't wait for her bed to be finished could she?

Dolores said...

What a clever idea. As the old saying goes "Necessity is the mother of invention." Enjoy your blog so much. Have a great weekend.

Debbiedoos said...

I would have never gessoed that is what it was called. That is a great tip, because I have passed them up because of this. Thanks Carol. Have a wonderful Holiday weekend.

Ido said...

Thank you for this great tutorial, you never know when you'll need it. Love that kitty!!
Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Ruby Jean said...

Oh, Auntie Carol.... You truly are my FAVORITE Aunt... About 3yrs ago when we were celebrating your Niece's : ) Birthday here at the house...Somebody had knocked my Gesso frame off the bathroom wall breaking off the corner edge...I haven't had the heart to throw it away... And then there's YOU!!! and there is now hope for my frame... I showed it to my son who is my Clay guy and he is excited to try it...So I will be sure to post about it.. : )
First I need to get the Epoxy Putty.... Too Bad I can't just walk down the street and go digging through your drawers... : )

Have a Wonderful Independence Day!!!
Big Hugs xoxo

Teri said...

wow, who would of guessed!
thank you for sharing this info.
it will come in quite handy.

Laura Bright said...

I can always appreciate a pet showing up in the pictures. My dog loves to get his tail or nose in most of my shots. :)

Sherry@Back2Vintage said...

You always teach us so much! I knew this kind of repair could be done, but I had no idea what products to use. Thanks for the tutorial!!!

Kimberly said...

I never would have dreamed of this. I wish I had read this several years ago before I threw out an antique oval frame that was missing some of it's edgings.
I couldn't have done this nice of a job I'm sure! I so appreciate you sharing your tutorials. I find them very helpful.
Happy Canada Day!

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Carol,
Why didn't I think of that when I passed up a gesso frame the other day with chips!
I'll never do it again.



I'm "crying" because you get so much DONE!!
Funny kitty...
Wish I was down there to visit your shop..nice discount!
Happy 4th!
deb :)

BECKY said...

Wow! I have passed up a lot of those, Carol!! You just amaze me! This is fantastic. Won't pass up any more for sure!

Wish I could head over to your mall this weekend, but too much work to do here! Hope your sale goes really well! :o)


Gina said...

Seriously? You are just full of knowledge & creativity Carol. You have no idea how many times I've passed up frames that I loved because they were damaged. Who knew?

Rona Gregory said...

You clever bunny! I see the cat agrees with me!


SueBee said...

How do you know all this stuff??!!
I will just bring my mirror to you!!OK??
Happy 4th..
I'm off to visit Anita in Montana on Monday.
Tell her I'm coming, I can't leave comments on her blog.

Debbie said...

Bored?? Are you kidding? This is fantastic. I have decided that you are the most informative and inspirational blogger in blogland. You always break it down in doable steps.

I love this.

Debbie said...

You need a blog button. I would love to post it.

Ginger said...

Carol you are so clever. Who knew? I can't even tell where you repaired it after it was painted. Love your creativity. Happy 4th

Lululiz said...

Thank you for such a very clever tip!

Jenn said...

So smart!! I never new it was called Gesso, thanks for the tutorial and Happy 4th!

Emreen said...

Wow !! This is such an informational post...!!

Happy 4th of July !!

Laurie Brown said...

Cool! I've never turned down a gesso frame, but have been limited to just painting over the missing part. Now I can fix the bloody things!

But really, shouldn't the cat have a big lace bow? ;-)

Char said...

You are such a genius my friend. If I ever need any help with anything, I am coming to you!!
Have a happy and safe 4th, Char

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial...very informative. I always come across frames with minor and sometimes not so minor damage, this really helps. "Blob" is a technical term I use all the time, easy to understand and right to the point.
I hope your sale this weekend is a huge success.

Vicki said...

Carol you are so clever! Love the cat picture. lol

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

What a great tutorial!! I saw a frame like this at my local thrift store just the other day that had some missing pieces and I left it of course. Re-thinking that now that I know it can be fixed! Thanks!

Crystal @ Ordinary Days said...

Wow, I am impressed! That took some skills!! :) The end result was great. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Helen's Decor said...

Thanks for posting this info. I have a mirror that might be needing this treatment very soon. I'm a new follower and would like for you to visit my blog, too. Thanks, Helen

Jedbel @ The Pear Tree Cottage said...

Thank you for visiting my blog :). I enjoyed reading some of your posts and am glad I found your blog!

Carol Salisbury said...

OMG Carol, That is fantastic!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Wow that is just awesome. What a great tip! I have discarded pieces before because I didn't think they could be repaired.This is so great to know.

Decor To Adore said...

I hope I am lucky to find a mirror such as yours.

Love the cat and the repair.

Have a happy 4th of July!

Bring Pretty Back said...

carol! YOU NEVER STOP DO YOU!!!!! heehee!!!
Have a PRETTY day!

Becky Ransom said...

I felt like I was reading a great novel that was going to have a GREAT ending! AND IT DID! I just bought this wonderful frame from Germany that is missing a piece. I will try this as soon as possible. I had already thought of the oven dried clay for a mold, but did not know how I was going to get plaster of paris poured inside? Now I know to use the blob of putty. What a wonderful idea!

Shabby Jen said...

absolutely awesome and LOVE LOVE LOVE pointing out the cat part. I loved it and I will be using your instructions.

Kathy said...

That is a great post, I have several mirrors and frams that need a little repair. It actually looks easy, easy enough to give it a try. Your photos and instructions are super.
Thanks, kathy

Meadowsweet Cottage said...

My new old mirror and I both thank you for this hint!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thanks again for this! ♥

Unknown said...

That is incredible!! I got the most amazing vintage mirror I can't wait ti repair now!! A BIG THANK YOU!!

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Ellie Rhodes said...

This is the best. I have referred this page multiple times on social media including today on Instagram. The directions are clear and easy for anyone. You have helped so many people.