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Spruce up your living room with a rustic TV frame

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This article was originally published in the Winter 2015/16 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

It’s hard, even for us, to pretend there are no TVs in cottages. But do they have to look so urban? Give your flatscreen TV a more cottage-cozy look with a dead-simple wood frame. It’s rustic enough that you won’t need mad carpentry skills or fine lumber. For a small TV, I used three cedar 1×6 fence boards, ripped down the middle. Use your judgment here—you may need more wood, cut in wider pieces, to suit a larger screen.

Cheap ’n’ cheerful adjustable luggage straps hold the frame onto the TV.

1. Cut four lengths to make a simple rectangular box, sized to slip over the outer frame of the TV with a 1/8″ gap all around. You may need a cut-out along the bottom to accommodate the TV base. Use carpenter’s glue and brads to secure the corners, and check that the box is square.

2. Cut four more pieces with mitred corners, picture-frame style, sized so this frame’s inner dimensions match the TV screen. Assemble the frame on the wooden box with brads and glue, squaring it up again.

3. Your TV has an infrared sensor for signals from the remote. Most sensors look like a small plastic lens located along the bottom edge of the screen. Drill a hole (at least #/4″ dia.) in scrap wood. Hold this piece in place over the sensor—to confirm that you found the sensor and that the remote’s signals can still reach it. Got it? Drill a hole in the frame.

4. Finish the wood as you like—I experimented with a traditional woodburning finish. It’s fun to do and creates a crackled, grainy texture. Using a propane torch, outside and away from anything flammable,

I swept the flame over the surface in several passes. When it was charred a rich brown-black, I coated it with spray polyurethane to set and protect the delicate, powdery finish.

5. Finally, attach luggage straps (from the dollar store) to the back of the frame and a few felt furniture protectors inside to avoid scratching the TV. Now you’re ready for the big game or a good cry. Maybe both.

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