Friday, June 24, 2011


The frame theme over on OMTWI a few weeks ago really excited me - because I’ve had this particular project on my to do list for a loooooong time.
What is it?  What is it???  You don’t know???  Just kidding.  It doesn’t look like much right now, but envision it like this:
Only with a lot more money in it.  Just kidding again.  With my frame, I wanted to create a fun and personalized bank for my son.  I got a large thrift store frame for 2 dollars and painted it black.  I had to use several power tools, a razor blade, balsa wood, mod podge, and houndstooth scrapbook paper in order to turn it into a viable money-saving machine.
I sectioned off three separate areas for my son’s different “funds” with balsa wood partitions.  Then I used vinyl to label them - tithing, mission and savings.  I’m excited for the opportunity this gives my husband and I to teach him valuable lessons about budgeting and saving his money.  
What I like best is that you can personalize this for anyone!  Saving money for school?  A wedding?  A big family vacation?  Just label the section on the glass appropriately!  You can even peel off the vinyl and change the labels if they are no longer applicable!
Not only that, but it hangs on the wall, front and center as a constant reminder of the importance of saving our money and setting financial goals.  And it looks cute and stylish, too!  It’s a bank that doubles as artwork!


A how to.  Of sorts.
Firstly, I know I say this all the time, but excuse these pics.  I know they are bad.  I forgot my camera and only had my phone camera to use since I had to do this mostly at my parents house to take advantage of their power tools.

shadow box or DEEP frame
balsa wood
some kind of saw
scrapbook paper (optional)
vinyl letter stickers

First, select your frame.  You'll need one that is either a shadow box OR is very deep.  When I say VERY deep, I really only mean about an inch or so.  That's how deep mine was and it was plenty deep.  You just don't want a normal frame where the back sits right up against the glass.  The actually width and height of the frame are totally up to you.  Also, it's really nice when you can get it for $2.  Boo-ya.

Oh, AND it's also nice if the frame is actually WOOD though not imperative.  It's easier to saw without splitting and cracking and it's sure easier to paint.  Yikes.  

Take it apart.  You'll only need the actual frame for this first part.

First things first - and I don't have pictures of this - measure how deep the frame is and how tall.  I chose to make my bank horizontal to allow room for three separate sections.  You can do that however you want.  My frame was about 1 inch deep and 12 inches tall.

Cut two strips of balsa wood to these dimensions to act as your separators.  If you haven't worked with it before, I'll let you know that balsa wood is extremely easy to cut.  You can just use a craft or exacto knife.  Just use a straight edge to help you out.

Now, measure across your frame on the bottom to decide where you want it to be separated.  I just made three equal sections and marked with a pencil.  Clamp your fame down.  Make notches on your pencil marks.  

I used a dremel tool, but that was kind of a last resort.  See, a small hand saw like a saws-all or a rotary cutter would be best.  But my parents were out of town and I had to seek the advice of my brother IL and the only thing we could find that would remotely work the way I needed it to was a Dremel.  I used a dremel bit that was specifically for cutting.  It worked fine, but I did have to clean up my cuts with sandpaper.

Back to your notches - basically, just cut into the frame on the top and bottom across the entire DEEPNESS of the frame.  Just adjust these notches as needed by testing out your balsa wood in them - start small and gauge out deeper or wider notches so that the separators fit very snugly.

Now, measure across the top of your frame on the OUTSIDE.  Make pencil marks about two inches long in the very middle of each section.  Clamp a straight edge to the top.  Using your saws-all or dremel tool in my case, cut along these three marks all the way through the top of the frame.  These are the slots for your change!

Paint your frame.  You may have already noticed in the above pictures that the frame a sort of purple-y blueish.  That was a failed attempt at painting which I did in the wrong order anyway, so I'd rather not discuss it.  Just do all the measuring and cutting first.  Then paint.  And don't paint an ugly color like that one, either.

Second time around, I went with a classic black.  Paint the separator pieces too.

Now, cover the cardboard back of your frame with scrapbook paper - or you could just paint it to match.  OR (And I just thought of this - dang it) you could actually put a picture of your kid in there - or three skinny pictures, one for each section.  Anyway, dress it up.  The back of my frame actually had these folded flaps that slid into the frame along the inside of all the edges, and I initially covered those as well, before I realized I'd have to cut the folds off because with the wood separators inside, the folded edges would never slide in.  So basically, what I'm telling you is make your back work for you - it needs to lay flat against the back of the frame.

Now, you just need to place your stickers.  Mine were vinyl and kind of fuzzy-ish?  But you can use whatever.  Just spell out whatever you (or your kid) is saving money for.  This way he can keep track of each of his little funds all in one place!  

The letters are actually a little more red than it seems in the pictures.  Who would put black and brown and gray together?  Yuck.

Now, just put it all together.  Slide the separators in, put the back on, latch the little metal flippy thingies down and hang 'er up!

Throw your money in there!  So cute!

Now he can watch his savings grow!

Ok, here're the confessions.  You knew there would be some, didn't you?  Well, first of all, NO.  This isn't actually hanging in bug's room yet.  I'd kind of like him to prove to me that a) he doesn't need to destroy everything in his path whenever our backs are turned and b) that he has enough sense to leave things that are GLASS alone.  Neither of which he has demonstrated yet.  This may wait out in the garage until he's 18 or so.

Nextly: alright, fine.  So the paint wasn't EXACTLY dry in these pictures.  So, yes.  Some of the money IS dotted with black paint.  And the back may be smudged as well.  So that's the problem with assuming things.  You make an a... oh.  Wait.  No, that's not the problem in this case.  The problem in this case was assuming my burlap project couldn't possibly measure up to the rest of the burlap projects (Did you SEE those projects??) and therefore assuming I did not need to make a frame project.  And then having to rush, rush, rush to get it done.  No time for paint to dry people.  I had a post to send in.

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!


Two Shades of Pink said...

This is a really clever idea...I love that it is such a great teaching lesson. I always wanted to do two piggy for saving and one for checking but I really like the tithing/missions element. And you are hilarious about the paint...I am so impatient (or late)and will style a photo shoot so the boo boos or unfinished parts are unseen. Shhh.

Michelle L. said...

This is really cool looking! And with the coins inside, almost industrial/steampunk. I'm sure li'l bug will get it before he graduates HS.

Emily @ RemarkableHome said...

Wow this is such a clever idea! I totally love it!

Emily @ RemarkableHome said...

Wow what a clever idea! I love it!

Beth said...

I love it! And...I knew it was yours. I guessed right every week, I should totally get an award for that right? Anyway, congrats on taking second on OMTWI! I loved all of your crafts (as I always do)!!

Unknown said...

I laughed out loud about your statement saying, "who would put black, brown, and grey together? yuck!" so funny. But really, this is a great project. Even if your son isn't old enough for glass in his room, however, you could still put it up in the main living area of the house somewhere. It looks so great and it would be a fun conversation piece!! Great original idea!!

4 Lettre Words said...

Kimberly! This is so AMAZING. I am totally doing it for the new house. (We move in about a month.) Brilliant idea, my friend!

Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely adorable idea! I LOVE it!!

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