I hope someone can help me! I am wanting to create a bezel setting
for one of my watercolor paintings (it's really small!) for a piece
I’ve created silver “picture frames” for some of my miniature oil
paintings on copper, which are designed to be either worn as jewelry
(pin/pendant) or hung in a shadowbox. You can see what I’m talking
about in the first four items heRe:
What I found in the course of this project (once I had overcome the
oil-on-copper challenges) was this:
You need a way to non-destructively remove the painting from the
frame in order to clean/repair/maintain the frame or painting. I did
this by using a slightly thicker-than-usual gauge of fine silver
bezel wire to create a 4-sided bezel that doesn’t go all the way to
the corners. This provides good support for the piece, but also has
the gaps you’ll need when opening the bezel (makes it easy to get
that acrylic fingernail underneath it to raise it). Fine silver is a
nicely flexible metal that doesn’t harden all that much when
burnished, so it’s not going to break on you when you have to do
The frame needs to be very much designed for each painting.
Working in metal (rather than wood) requires a tighter tolerance in
the way that the frame’s mechanics function in contact with the
painting. Each one was modified or customized specific to the
painting inserted in it.
For oil (and particularly oil-on-metal) paintings, you don’t use
glass over them, so luckily I didn’t have to tackle that. However,
for some other projects I did look into this. Some sources you might
want to consider for small-but-sturdy optical-quality glass: Watch
crystals (if you’re working round, these can be a blessing) and lab
slides (available in a couple of different sizes). Glass can be cut
fairly easily, but be sure to wear very good eye protection when
doing it as it can chip and fly about.
The paintings that have a separate metal support behind them (a
silver plate behind the copper painting) were much easier to work
with and finish on the back than the others. Assuming that your water
colors are on paper, you’ll need to figure out how you want to
stabilize the back of them in a way that won’t show through the
paper. For example, you might use a piece of silver with white gesso
(or black or gray) on the side backing the painting.
Hopefully, this will give you some direction to explore. Have fun!