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“Mr. Army Wife’s Manned Up Picture Frame”

New House, New Walls

The beginnings of a Gallery Wall

The beginnings of a Gallery Wall

This is a wall in my house. It’s on the landing between the first and second floors where my beautiful wife has decided to hang picture after picture of our lovely family. There are pictures of her, pictures of me, pictures of our parents, our niece and nephew and even our pets. It’s a nice little gallery of photos from our life together, but there is something I don’t quite like about it.

It’s the picture frames. Don’t get me wrong, the frames are good and all, but they are frames that I had no hand in picking out. Someone else bought them. I don’t know if my wife picked them all out, or if we received some as gifts, but I do know that as I look around my house, there is not one single frame that I would have bought had I been told to pick out a frame.   I think it has to do with the flowers on one, or the hearts on another, or the blue and white cloth covering a

I have no idea where these came from

I have no idea where these came from

pillow on a frame. Needless to say, as nice as all these frames are, they just really aren’t my style.

So, of course, I had to do something about it. This is my house too and my style needs to be represented. Now, I could go out to my local frame shopping store and buy something that I like, but where would that be. I don’t think I could find the frames in those big box stores. I don’t think they sell them at my favorite hardware stores, and unless they are by the potato chips and soda in the supermarket, I will never find them at the grocery story.

Nope, I wasn’t going to be able to buy one. I was going to have to make something that would suffice on the wall of my abode. I was going to have to figure out how to make a frame that screamed, “MR. ARMY WIFE LIVES HERE!” After all, this is my house, and my gallery wall too. So I set out looking for what I could do to make this frame more me, and what followed became a Manned Up Picture Frame.

Being a responsible man of the house, I decided I wanted to use something I had laying around the house to make my frame. In the living room I saw a trifle bowl full of wine corks that my wife and I had collected for the past year or so. That would be interesting. However, I have other plans for those corks so those weren’t available. Mixed in with the corks though were beer bottle caps. My mother had bought me a Beer of the Month club membership for Christmas so there were several different types of caps in the bowl. Perfect, this will be my frame.

My Bottle Cap Collection

My Bottle Cap Collection

Mr. Army Wife’s Manned Up Picture Frame

Materials

1 Flat wood Frame you don’t care about. I bought one for $1 at a thrift store

Notice how the frame is flat.  This will help adhere the bottle caps.

Notice how the frame is flat. This will help adhere the bottle caps.

Bottle Caps (enough to cover the frame)

Needle nose pliers

Rubber Mallet

Flat Metal Surface (I used the back of an old road sign)

Construction Adhesive (Look for something that will work on metal and wood.)

 

Instructions

  1. Once you have your frame picked out and your bottle caps picked out you will need to flatten them. To do this take your pliers and work around the edges of the cap pulling them out as much as possible. Different caps are manufactured in different ways, which will cause some to be easier to flatten than others. Work around the caps as much as possible to bring the edges pointing out rather than pointing down.
Using pliers pull the lip of the bottle out.  If you look closely you can see how the Sam Adams lip is out instead of down.

Using pliers pull the lip of the bottle out. If you look closely you can see how the Sam Adams lip is out instead of down.

  1. Place the metal caps face up on the top of the flat metal surface and strike them hard with the rubber mallet. It will take several strikes to flatten them completely. Again because of the nature of the caps will cause them to flatten in different ways. I think that’s part of the charm.
A regular Hammer would work too, but the metal on metal contact could scratch the caps.  The rubber mallet is better.

A regular Hammer would work too, but the metal on metal contact could scratch the caps. The rubber mallet is better.

  1. Once flattened, lay the caps out on the frame in the way you want them. Remember you will be overlapping the caps slightly. Also, working from the inner portion of the frame to the outer portion of the frame will help build a better look.

    Lay them out in an overlapping pattern you like.

    Lay them out in an overlapping pattern you like.

  1. Once you have laid out your design, apply a small strip of the construction adhesive to the frame and then apply caps. I tended to work in 5 to 6 inch strips of adhesive at a time. Repeat until you have all your bottle caps attached to your frame.
  1. IMG_0444For a few minutes you will be able to slightly move the caps around to make them more even around the edges if necessary.   Allow the frame to sit over night to harden completely.
  1. Put on your wall and ENJOY!!!
Mr. Army Wife's Manned Up Picture Frame

Mr. Army Wife’s Manned Up Picture Frame

When my dear wife saw the frame I could tell that she had mixed feelings. Of course, it is going on the wall and after some thought she actually decided to put our initial inside the frame on BURLAP!!! I think the burlap will go along nicely with the bottle caps. Burlap and bottle caps? That’s definitely Mr. Army Wife’s Manned Up Picture Frame.

 

“Mr. Army Wife” is Steve Mason, spouse to an Army Captain.  Check out other thoughts and musings from Mr. Army Wife at www.misterarmywife.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/misterarmywife.  Got suggestions for other things that need manning up? Let him know! 

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