If you’ve ever tried to refinish old picture frames you know the look is so gorgeous. As for me, I am such a fan of the distressed frames from O’Brien Schridde, whose frames I now own quite a few of, and more recently, the stunning array of refinished frames above from The Art of Chic on Etsy.
That said, my inclination is generally to buy great frames from artists like these, since I don’t always have the time to do major DIY projects. But if you want to refinish old picture frames yourself, here are a few resources to help you out. After looking at how easy some of them are, I may even give it a go myself. Whoa.
First things first: Buying the frame. Apartment Therapy offers 13 tips when buying picture frames for refinishing should you be shopping thrift stores and tag sales. I especially like the idea of bringing an image of the piece you intend to frame (or maybe a photocopy if it’s of value), and their smart tip to do a little research on artwork in the old frame before you throw it out — just in case oh, it’s a missing Renoir.
(Photo via DA Custom Frames)
If you’re not an uber crafter, Lovely Little Snippets offers a basic DIY for refinishing a picture frame with spray paint. You won’t get that same craftsmanship as if you’re using paints and old brushes, but it’s a time saver to simply distress the frame with sandpaper, then go right to work with a spray can — and her results are impressive.
Similarly, on Real Simple there’s a clear DIY to make over wooden mirror frames — but obviously any frame is fine. All it takes is a can of Krylon paint, two-inch masking tape, and 220-grit sandpaper.
There’s a very detailed DIY for aging furniture using milk paints at Design Sponge, and the tips can be applied to wooden picture frames too. The results are pretty wonderful, especially if you really like frames to look distressed.
Also at Design Sponge, a brilliant idea for a western-themed cowboy or cowgirl kids’ room: cover picture frames with western belts. It looks amazing and I love the texture of it — imagine it with the perfect black-and-white baby picture.
If you like the gilded look, at This Old House you can find a very specific DIY on How to Gild a Picture Frame. No need to look for real 24k gold leaf; you can use imitation leaf made of metal alloys.
Martha Stewart of course has a helpful video on refurbishing old picture frames with the help of Kevin Walker. (And I love that she’s saving the vintage prom photos for some other project.) Her main tip is clustering frames painted with colors all in the same family, taken from your existing decor.