I am a collector of frames. I pick them up at thrift stores, garage sales, and basically anywhere I can find them! A family member was about to get rid of some, they didn’t match my decor, but I took them anyway because it’s pretty easy to paint picture frames.
A couple of weeks ago my family had the opportunity to be a part of two great friends getting married. My husband and I were in the wedding party and my oldest was the ring barer. I knew I wanted to do something really special for them and I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head for months so I thought I would share my process with you.
But first let’s check out this cute ring barer!
Uh! So cute!
Ok back to how to paint picture frames. I started out by collecting picture frames from thrift stores. I make sure to pick out frames with half price tags on them. Check out what your local thrift store does, mine does one color a day and Saturday all but two are half off. I’ve been going once a week lately to find the perfect one to use as a wedding gift. If you don’t have a specific gift or date in mind just stop in occasionally and take a look. I happen to hit the jackpot on this trip! You can check out my other tips for decorating your home on a budget here.
Once you have the frame you want to paint you will need to take out the original picture or painting. Mine was a print with a mat. You might have to do some cleaning up after taking of the back paper. I had to clean off glue and pull out nails. Be very careful with the glass. I was able to make it all the way to Hobby Lobby before mine shattered. You just never know if there’s a weak point. Plus the edges are super sharp. I’ve had some fun cuts from these projects.
I use a homemade chalky finish paint. You could probably use a flat latex paint too but I had left over paint from another project! Bonus! Now you need to decide what type of finish you want on your picture frame. I chose to completely cover the frame so I was generous when applying paint (but being careful about drips). But I could have dry brushed, which is a fancy way of saying lightly dip your brush (maybe even brush off excess on a paper plate or towel) and then lightly brushing the detail work. Kind of like the top part of the picture below when I was running out of paint on the brush. Either way would have looked great on this frame!
Once you have the amount of paint you want on the frame. You can start sanding. I applied 2-3 coats of paint which is typical for a lighter color. I do very little sanding – 1. because it’s no fun and 2. I like just a little distressing. You can see what sanded and unsanded parts of the frame look like. See how the detail work pops?
The last step for finishing the frame is to apply furniture wax or paste. For items that won’t see a lot of use I like to use a furniture conditioner call Howard’s Feed N Wax. You can pick it up at Home Depot. I apply it with a shop towel and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before wiping off the excess. There are other ways to protect your painted furniture too!
The hardest part for me was picking out the mat! I took my photo (printed at Costco) to Hobby Lobby. I picked out the matt and for an additional fee the put it all together for me. They put a pretty paper backing on the frame and attached the hanging hardware. It was so nice to have it done and take it home!
Do you have a piece of furniture you’ve been dying to paint but don’t know how? Are you worried it’s going to be too much work? Do you have questions on how to get started, what you will need, and if it’s even worth the work?
Your Guide to Painting Furniture will take you through the process of finding furniture, making your own chalky finish paint, and how to use paint your furniture. Plus my tips on protecting your painted furniture, basic repairs, and tips for picking out paint colors!