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6 Things to do with Old Frames

Photograph from Little Havana in Miami, FL

If you, like us, tend to collect (or hoard) old frames but never seem to get around to actually doing anything with them, don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Here are a list of fun DIY ideas to try at home.

Glossy Frames

Light catches the detail on this black mirror.

Dull frames take on a new life with a glossy finish. Try this on frames with intricate details. The glossy finish will reflect light off of the various surface changes highlighting all of those sweet moments. For a smooth glossy finish, we recommend using a high quality trim paint such as PPG’s Advantage 900 or Benjamin Moore’s Advance Waterborne Alkyd.

Distressed Frames

Lightly Distressed DIY Frame

This is by far the easiest frame DIY. If you’re worried about messing it up, don’t be! After all, the final product is supposed to look a little messy. Try experimenting with different methods: layering different paint colors, sanding, dry brushing, waxing, glazing, etc.

Whitewashed Frames

White Washed Mirror that Retails for $600.00

Similar to distressing is the process of white washing. This can be used to add some visual interest and texture to wood frames while keeping the over all color scheme light. A white washed finish can be created with either paint or stain.

Dipped Frames

DIY Originally Shared by Domino

Picture frames are supposed to be used to put on display the image behind the glass. Dipping the frames partially in paint, however, creates mystery around the image and leaves the viewer’s mind to fill in the blanks and adds a bit of artistic flair to your home. Just be sure to choose a color that complements the image you are obscuring.

Bonus tip: Save paint by taping a line and painting the frame as opposed to dipping it. Sand with extra fine sandpaper between coats and use a paint with excellent flow & leveling properties such as Benjamin Moore’s Advance to give as smooth of a finish as possible.

Color Block Frames

Art Installation at 21c Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky
Artist: Brian Paumier

Break out the color wheel and get creative with frame and mat board colors by using bold color schemes inspired by the image. Here are some popular color schemes you can try: complementary, triadic, analogous, split complementary, monochromatic and tetradic.

Backless Frames

These backless frames retail for $28.00 – $58.00 on Anthropologie

Let your wall color shine through by creating backless frames. This can be as simple as removing the cardboard backing and adhering your image straight to the glass. We recommend using frames with a stapled back to hold the glass in place. Adhere your image to the glass using clear removable adhesive dots or washi tape depending on the look you are going for.