Self-Framing Wildlife Plaques

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Project by Keith Fenton posted 04-23-2013 03:53 PM 2898 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started this series of “Self-Framing Leaf Bordered” Wildlife a couple months ago and have been adding to it ever since. I plan to keep making them until I have at least 50 so this will be an ongoing project over the next year or two. :)

The animals in the portraits are (in order): Moose, (Grey)Wolves, Kodiak Bear, Screech Owl, Roe Deer, Monarch Butterfly, Grouse and a Whitetail Deer.

I really like using the bevel cut to recess the inner portrait which gives this “self-framing” effect. It works well, is easy to do and makes effective use of your wood. These are really fun to make, especially when it comes to cutting the inner portrait. I find it really cool how only a handful of cuts can make such a detailed portrait. Most of the inner portraits were very quick and fairly easy to cut.

I made them about 8” X 10” in size but did also make the pattern linework in a 10.5” X 13.5” size. This is the biggest I could fit on 2 sheets of normal printer paper but also works out to being close to the upper limit of what I find to be fun to cut on the scroll saw. (Also finding hardwood wider than 10.5” starts to get harder and more expensive.)

The backers were cut from 1/8” Baltic birch plywood and then stained with DecoArt Americana acrylics and all but the black ones have been mixed with DecoArt Staining & Antiquing Medium in order to convert them into a semi-transparent stain. I’m not too keen on the bright green background I used on the bear and roe deer, and also not a fan of the oak I used on the bear. Oak is not something that I use very often and after this project, I think I will keep away from it for this type of work.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

21 comments so far

View indgreg's profile


302 posts in 2090 days

#1 posted 04-23-2013 04:28 PM

very sharp nice projects

-- greg indiana

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3032 days

#2 posted 04-23-2013 04:48 PM

Keith those look really nice

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View scrollsaw's profile


13032 posts in 4029 days

#3 posted 04-23-2013 04:55 PM

Great job.

-- Todd

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3042 days

#4 posted 04-23-2013 05:07 PM

All of these are very nicely done. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3201 days

#5 posted 04-23-2013 05:21 PM

Very cool pieces

-- Dreaming patterns

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3478 days

#6 posted 04-23-2013 06:36 PM

keith, these are really great, i love wildlife and these would be fun to do, you did really well , just like your partner, your skill level just keeps getting better and better.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View byrdman61's profile


56 posts in 2067 days

#7 posted 04-23-2013 07:45 PM

I hope to start making the collection in the future. Well done, Keith.

-- byrdman61 Slc, Ut

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3752 days

#8 posted 04-23-2013 07:54 PM

Excellent work Keith.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 04-23-2013 08:26 PM

very nice Keith!
I, also, don’t like using oak much. I find I like it a bit better if it is stained, but I prefer almost any other material.

View byrdman61's profile


56 posts in 2067 days

#10 posted 04-23-2013 08:49 PM

Keith, I am wondering what is your dislike of oak for use on the self framing projects?? I have to make three of the sf Santa`s before my two sisters and an aunt get here for a visit. I have already made one in walnut. The other two my sister and aunt requested red oak. I bought some 1/2in qtr-sawn red oak to do the other two. I am just about to start on them. Should I not use this and try to talk them in to using a different wood?? Thanks for all that you do and thanks for your help. P.S. Tell Sheila a hello for me please.

-- byrdman61 Slc, Ut

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 3095 days

#11 posted 04-23-2013 09:09 PM


Since these are 3/8” to 1/2” thick, you shouldn’t have any problems with breakage due to the oak’s open grain. (With oak any thinner than this, the open grain tends to have weak spots that will break when you cut fretwork into it)

The reason why I don’t like it very much for this type of project even though brittleness is not a problem, is because the oak grain tends to interfere and detract from the look of the scrollwork.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View byrdman61's profile


56 posts in 2067 days

#12 posted 04-23-2013 09:17 PM

Understood. Thank you Keith for your quick response also. This QS Oak was expensive ( for me anyway ) so I will go forward as planned. The walnut SF SAnta looks really good. I will post them all when they are finished. Thanks so much for your valuable advice Keith. Sleep well my friend.

-- byrdman61 Slc, Ut

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3097 days

#13 posted 04-23-2013 10:42 PM

Hi Keith,
When something like these are created, the creator (Design and construction) really speaks of how accurate are the details and how he loves the nature. Among all the six, I like the brown and green background. It is very realistic. As I look much longer, the separation of the frame objects, magnify the inner objects. The butterfly is the most delicate of all.
Excellent job and keep posting projects.
Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3851 days

#14 posted 04-24-2013 01:19 AM

nice work. Now, a flushing pheasant and a covey of quail???

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 3095 days

#15 posted 04-24-2013 01:48 AM

And a partridge in a pear tree? :)

I will surely do a pheasant and I imagine a quail as well in time. I dunno about a covey though (learned a new word today), the more subjects I put in the portrait, the less detail they will have.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

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