Mantel Art

When we lived on Capitol Hill, we kept our copies of the free community monthly, the Hill Rag. The cover art was usually pretty good, and we thought it would be fun to frame them someday. So for an anniversary gift to one another a couple of years ago, I made this piece to rest on the mantle of our new house:


I made it in such a hurry that I forgot to take pictures of it during construction.

I bought a couple of pieces of molding from the hardware store for the facing and then built a 1.5″ deep frame to hold the glass above the raised magazine covers.

We cut all the Hill Rag covers to the same size (they were all irregularly shaped), used double-sided tape to adhere them to foam board, and then glued the foam board to a thin piece of stained oak plywood. I wanted the piece to have a ‘coffee and cream’ look (similar to our old corner cabinet) so it would blend in with our leather furniture and our honey oak floors.

I wanted the color of the artwork to really stand out from the dark backboard. Everyone uses monotone matting with a sunken focal point to give depth to a picture frame. I wanted to do the opposite, and I think we got the effect we were going for.

This angle lets you see the cover art a little better. Notice how the colors seem to jump off the oak.


The top row, from left to right, depicts:

  • Eastern Market
  • The Capitol at Christmas
  • Alfresco Dining on 8th Street (Montmartre?)

The bottom row, from left to right, depicts:

  • Baltimore Harbor
  • The DC Skyline
  • A Snow Day on the Hill

I still have a few dozen covers, so maybe we’ll make a sister piece when we move to a larger house.

Mantel Art
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2 thoughts on “Mantel Art

  • August 13, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Hey there!

    I almost flipped when I saw the Hill Rag in the frame. Are you still in the Washington Metro Area?

    • August 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks. We moved to South Carolina a few years ago. We still miss living on the Hill, though. It’s funny how all the inconvenient characteristics melt away when you look back nostalgically. We only remember things like Eastern Market on the weekends, shopping on foot, and the abundant, eclectic nightlife. We forget about the broken car windows, the traffic and the outrageous rent.


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