Upcycling Frames

13 Jun

This is a problem I have waaaaay too often: Say you’ve got your hands on a gorgeous new photograph or print (from White Pepper Portraits, perhaps?) you want to put up immediately. Super excited about it, matches the room, just wanna stare at it all the time. But how to display it properly? What frame to use that’ll live up to and enhance the beauty of the image you’ve chosen?

There are TONS of gorgeous frames out there—so many in fact it can be really tough deciding which one to use. But if you want a cheap but still attractive alternative then you can always go the DIY route and upcycle an existing frame.

Thrift stores, antique shops, and garage sales are excellent sources for old frames. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you hate what’s already in the frame. Don’t let that distract you! Look for interesting shapes, embellishments, and little details that’ll look nice once you’ve fixed up the frame.

Now, onto the upcycling!

One of the easiest ways to upcycle an old frame is to slap a coat of pretty paint on it. Just look at how Jessica of How About Orange was able to transform a tacky gold frame into something much more wall-worthy by using a little spray paint:



Pretty impressive, right? Once you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to finish with a coat of clear semi-gloss to keep the frame looking fresh and new.

If you’re working with an otherwise plain, unembellished frame, consider using a faux finish to add some oomph. Do you have a bottle of Elmer’s glue around the house? If you do–and you probably do–you can use that to give your frame a crackled finish like this:

Paint a base layer on your frame in one shade and then brush the entire thing with Elmer’s glue. Once it’s dried for a few minutes but is still sticky all you have to do is paint a thin layer of contrasting paint on top of the glue. As the glue dries it’ll create little cracks in the paint. Simple as that. Ann of Make The Best Of Things has a more detailed tutorial you should check out if you decide to go this route.

Another option is to distress a wooden frame so that it has a worn, shabby chic look. Aurioll of PrettyCraftyThings has an excellent tutorial that makes this faux-aging process easy-peasy. All you need what you is what you see below — your wooden frame, two shades of paint, a wax candle, and some sandpaper.

The Necessary Materials

Now, if you can’t find a suitable frame to work with and you’re handy with a saw, by all means make your own frame! This is a great idea if you’re working with an image that doesn’t quite fit the traditional frame sizes available (4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc.). You can adjust the measurements to fit your needs which is just awesome all around.

If you want to create that distressed wood look for your custom-built frame without the aforementioned faux-finishing, poke around Craigslist for free wood from old barns or fences. I see listings like that in the free section of the Austin Craigslist all the time. Here’s some inspiration for you via lickskilletcreations:

lickskilletcreations frame

Made from a white fence by LickSkilletCreations via Etsy

Got any good ideas for upcycling frames? Leave ’em in the comments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: