Framing my 3D Acrylic Paintings

I’ve always made my 3D Acrylic Paintings with the intention that they don’t need to be framed. In fact in a lot of cases I’ve deliberately made them bleeding over the edges so it would be difficult to put a frame on.

Recently though I’ve had a few people mention that they thought that my work would look better in frames which got me thinking about giving it a try, just to see what it would look like and if it actually did make a difference.

I took some of my work to the framer near to my studio to get their opinion and see what they suggested, plus get some quotes for prices.

It’s not that I don’t like frames by the way. I do think that the right frame can enhance a painting, making it look more finished and professional. I also think that the wrong frame can ruin one too though and sometimes less is more.





Out of the 2 that I’ve shown as examples above I think the most successful is the top one. But I don’t think it’s successful enough to change my mind about putting frames on my 3D Acrylic Paintings. Out of the people I’ve had feedback from so far they feel the same.

I’d love to know what you think too so please let me know by commenting below or email me

I look forward to seeing what you think

Till next time
Take care
Purple Faye x


About Purple Faye 3D Acrylic Paintings

Purple Faye is the business name for artist Faye Johnson. Working from her studio in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, each tactile, sculptural and unique 3D acrylic painting is hand made by her from scratch and features animals, buildings, cute characters, flowers and vehicles as their subject matter.

3D acrylic paintings start with the design being drawn onto a piece of cardboard that has been cut to the same size as the canvas to be used.

Working from photographs, especially if it’s something specific (an animal, building, vehicle or a commissioned design) pieces are also created from imagination too, cute characters (dinosaurs, mermaids, ballerinas and teddies) along with flowers and butterflies.

After the drawing is complete it is cut out and sculpted into layers using more cardboard. stuck down on the canvas and covered with modroc (plaster of paris bandages) to give texture and create a suitable surface to be painted. Acrylic paints are then used to paint on the sculpted cardboard and modroc surface once it is dry.

It is this technique that makes the painting stand out from the canvas making it 3D.

Work is available for sale plus you can commission order your very own unique 3D Acrylic Painting to be made specially for you.

Purple Faye first used the 3D acrylic painting technique at high school as part of GCSE Art. She then went on to study Fine Art Printmaking and Graphic Design followed by a Foundation Degree in Art and Design at Selby College then on to completing a BA (Hons) degree in Contemporary Creative Practice (Art and Design) at Leeds Metropolitan University.


Most recently seen at/taken part in:

Holmfirth Art Week 2015

British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) Harrogate 2015

Wakefield ArtWalk November 2015

Open Studios August & December 2015

Artworld Gallery Exhibition, Wakefield Ridings Centre August to October 2015

Artworld 2 Gallery, Wakefield Ridings Centre August to December 2014

Wakefield ArtWalk November 2014

Purple Faye Pop Up Gallery/Shop, Castleford, October 2012- April 2014

Kit Instructions

I wrote a blog post earlier this year about working on my “Make Your Own” Kits, if you haven’t read it yet you can do so here.

I’ve been working on the instructions to go in them, this is what I’ve got so far, if you have any suggestions of things to add/change etc then please let me know.


Purple Faye’s 3D Acrylic Painting

  • Tactile – Sculptural – Unique –

 Kit Instructions

 Suitable for: Beginners of all ages

(Children should be supervised)

Approx time to make: 3hr

(Not including drying time)


What you will need:

  • Blank canvas (included)
  • Cardboard

1 sheet for the main image and 1 for the layers (included)

  • Modroc (included)
  • Pencil (not included)
  • Scissors ((not included)
  • PVA/Craft Glue (not included)
  • Water (not included)
  • Sand Paper (optional, not included)
  • Paint Brushes (not included)
  • Paints of your choice (not included)

How to Make:

  1. Draw

Draw out your design onto the cardboard.

(Think about how big to make it in relation to the canvas so it’s not too big and doesn’t fit on or too small that you can hardly see it and it’s fiddly to cut out (unless you want them to be like that)

  1. Cut

Cut all along the outside edge of your design.

Decide which bits of your image are going to be made more 3D and cut these sections out of the main image.

Use the cut out bits as a template to make more of the same shape to layered up on top of each other.

(For example if you were making a 3D painting of a dog you could make the head more 3D than the rest by cutting the head away from the body, drawing round the cut out head shape onto another bit of cardboard then cutting that out so you then have 2 head shaped bits of cardboard to use.

This can be repeated as many times as you want so you get the desired thickness. )

NOTE: You may need to get more cardboard if you choose to do more layers than the provided cardboard will allow. The modroc included may not cover it all if the layers go too high so please keep this in mind.


Stick your cut out cardboard pieces together then stick it all onto the blank canvas.

NOTE: You may want to try positioning it on the canvas before you put the glue on so you’re happy with where it’s going to go.


Once the glue is dry lay the dry modroc over the top of the cardboard image to make sure it will fit.

Cut any overlapping modroc down to size, but keep in mind that the modroc will shrink slightly once it’s been put in water.

Dunk the modroc in the water for a few seconds, wring out some of he water then place the wet modroc back over the cardboard.

Rub the modroc to spread it smoothly over the cardboard.

If you have any off cuts use these to fill any gaps round the sides.


Leave the modroc to dry completely.

(It should change colour from greyish to white as it dries)

When it doesn’t feel damp to the touch it’s ready to be painted.

NOTE: You may want to gently sand down the dry modroc to get the finish that you require


Choose what paints you want to use, I like to use acrylics, and paint your masterpiece

NOTE: You may want to varnish it once the paint has had enough time to dry but it isn’t necessary to do this.

I’d love to see what you’ve made

Email me a picture to


Show me on social media:


Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest – purplefayeuk


What do you think? Anything I’ve missed or could do better?

I really appreciate your feedback so let me know 🙂

Till next time,

Take care,

Purple Faye x

5 Top Tips for using Modroc

1. Don’t be scared

(It can be intimidating using it for the first time, but don’t worry just get stuck in and see what happens)


2. Don’t use it if you don’t like getting messy!

(That’s part of the fun anyway though)


3. Mix a bit of PVA glue in with the water to help the plaster of paris stick.

(Should stop it being so crumbly when you paint on it which is very helpful)


4. If you’re impatient use warmer water to speed up the setting time.

(and if you’re a bit timid or have a big bit to do at once, use cold to slow it down)


5. Make sure you leave it to set and dry thoroughly before painting it.

(it makes life a lot easier if you do, just means you have to be patient)


If you have any other questions about using Modroc please feel free to ask 🙂

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What I did with the joblot of 8″x10″ Blank Canvases

Here’s the list of the first 3D Acrylic Paintings I made.

(Using the joblot of 8″x10″ blank canvases I bought specially after my first attempt)

#1 “Flower” Made in May 2008

#2 “Leaf” Made in May 2008

#3″Spiral” Made in May 2008

#4 “Sunbeams” Made in May 2008

#5 “Raindrop” Made in May 2008

#6 “Ploughlines” Made in May 2008

#7 “Eye” Made in June 2008

#8 “Plus Minus” Made in June 2008

#9 “Pawprint” Made in June 2008

#10 “Cartwheel” Made in June 2008

#11 “Wasp” Made in June 2008

#12 “Butterfly Leaf” Made in June 2008

#13 “Bug Leaf” Made in June 2008

#14 “Moon Clouds” Made in July 2008

#15 “Sun” Made in July 2008

#16 “Plus Minus 2” Made in August 2008

#17 “Squares” Made in August 2008

#18 “Boob” Made in September 2008

#19 “Bum” Made in September 2008

#20 Bellybutton” Made in September 2008

#21 “Nails” Made in September 2008

#22 “Eyebrow” Made in October 2008

#23 “Sideboob” Made in October 2008

#24 “Kiss” Made in November 2008

#25 “Fluffy” Made in November 2008

#26 “Sideboob” Made in November 2008

As you can see I only used 26 of the 30, by the time I got to them I was itching to try a different size so I saved the last 4 and some bigger canvases for my 3D Acrylic Paintings instead.

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1st Attempt at 3D Acrylic Painting

This is the first 3D Acrylic Painting that I made in May 2008.

After completing my education in 2006 (school, college and University) I spent the next couple of years not really making any art just trying to find employment in the creative industries. But unfortunately I kept coming up against the age old problem of needing experience but not being given the chance to get any. So after a while of feeling sorry for myself I decided that I wanted to be able to enjoy making art again, even if it was just to be as a hobby.

One day after finding the “Scarab Beetles”,that I made for my Art GCSE, I got thinking about how much I’d enjoyed the technique of making it and that I wanted to try it again.

I didn’t want to over think it too much after spending so much time feeling like I was doing anything so I decided that since I liked the idea of doing an abstract flower close up I should give it a go and see how it went.

I was so pleased with the outcome that I bought a joblot of 30 8″x10″ blank canvases and made it my project to experiment with the technique differently with each one.

Flower #1 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
Flower #1 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
Flower #1 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
Flower #1 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
Flower #1 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
Flower #1 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye

3D Acrylic paintings by Purple Faye

Made up of layers of cardboard, covered with modroc (plaster of paris in bandage) then painted with acrylic paint and varnished to help protect them
Ready to hang, no frame needed
Signed, titled and dated on the back of each

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Itten’s Colour Theory

If you have ever been to an art class then you will probably be familiar with the work of Johannes Itten. Especially this book:

itten elements of color

I won’t go into it too much but I thought it might be interesting to touch upon, especially in relation to my work.

I find it interesting anyway and it’s helpful/useful to know.

So first a bit of back story about me Purple Faye:

When I went to Selby college, in September 2000, to study a Graphic Design BTEC, I was given a list of things that I needed to get in preparation for the course. Along with all the drawing and painting materials the main thing was the book “ITTEN: THE ELEMENTS OF COLOR” by Faber Birren (see book cover above). It basically became the foundation for all the work I did on the course and subsequently.

College Work

Johannes Itten was considered to be one of the greatest teachers of the art of colour in the modern times. Born in 1888 near Thun, Switzerland, he devoted over 5 decades of his life to the instruction of the visual, psychological and esthetic mysteries of colour.

The most well known and recognised of these instructions is probably his 12-part colour circle, designed in Weimar in 1921, which organises colour from the primary with the complimentary colours opposite  (see below)

I don’t think there is an art student who hasn’t had to create their own version of this, mixing the paints correctly in order to get just the right shade in the right place. Or the 12 steps of grey and colour hues grid either.

It can seem tedious but it is worth having a go at and practising as it is a useful skill to have.


I’ll leave it at that for now, but I may come back to it at some point.

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