Turn an Antique Watch Case into a Shabby Photo Frame for Your Paperweight

Craft stores are carrying more and more metal embellishments that resemble small, antique parts and trinkets.  The "idea-ology" line by Tim Holtz is one of my favorites.  This line includes metal gears, frames, watch faces, and all sorts of other findings.

For this project, I wanted to use a few items from my personal junk drawer.  This is where I keep anything from scraps of paper, fabric, small metal pieces, broken costume jewelry, and any other baubles that can be used in my paperweight designs.

The photo above showed the items I used to create this paperweight.  They include the Heirloom Dome Paperweight Kit, an antique watch case, a scrap of lace trim, a printed photograph, some printed name banners, and some paper torn from an old album cover.

Each paperweight kit includes a pre-cut, self-adhesive mounting board.  I covered the board with a scrap of textured paper that had been salvaged from the cover of an old photo album.  Any paper that overlapped the edge of the board was trimmed with scissors.

If you have an original photograph that you don't want to ruin, scan the image into your computer and paste it onto a page in a desktop publisher or word processing program.  Measure the opening of the watch case and size your image to fit.  Use your program's drawing tool, draw a circle over the image (very slightly smaller than the opening of the watch case).  When printed, the circle will act as your cut line.

After you've cleaned the watch case to remove any dirt or dust, place a generous amount of glue in the center (not so much that it will ooze out from under the photo.  For this step, I recommend a tacky, liquid glue which will allow you to move and position the photo once it's in place.  I prefer Elmer's Craft Bond Fabric & Paper Glue because it's permanent, acid free, and remains a little flexible once it's dry.

After the photo is placed in the watch case, press down gently to evenly distribute the glue behind it.

I used an old wristwatch case, so I looped a scrap of lace trim through the metal loops that held th old band in place.  I applied some hot melt glue to the back of the case to prevent the lace from sliding back and forth.

The watch case was attached to the center of the mounting board with a generous amount of hot melt glue.  I pressed the case into the hot glue to keep it thin and level without being visible from the side.

The lace was trimmed, wrapped around the side of the mounting board, and set in place with hot melt glue.

If you're working with a photograph of a relative or someone you know, it's always nice to identify them.  Using Word, I designed a small name banner by creating narrow, long boxes with a name centered in them.  The boxes have a light gray border for the cut line.

The name banner was positioned at a diagonal over the lower edge of the watch case.  A small amount of glue was used to adhere the banner to the front of the mounting board, toward the edge.  The ends of the banner were wrapped underneath the board and taped down.

Because a fairly large, dimensional item was used in the design, the paperweight was assembled a little differently.  I placed the adhesive side of the bottom pad face-up onto a flat surface (above left) and positioned the completed design in the center of the bottom pad and pressed it down into place (above right).

The final step was to center the bottom pad to the base of the paperweight and carefully lower into place.  The edges of the bottom pad were pressed down to help ensure a tight bond.

If you don't have a junk drawer of your own, now is the perfect time to start a collection of trinkets.  It's amazing how much design inspiration can come out of a box of small tidbits!


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