Easy At-Home Framing Projects

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know I’m a crafty girl, and you also know that I have a small obsession with old picture frames.  I pick them up at yard sales, thrift shops and other people’s basements (with their permission of course), and take them home to add to my stash.  Sometimes they sit there for months before I can figure out what to do with them, but they always get used somehow.

If you have old frames kicking around your house that you don’t know what to do with, here are a few ideas to put them to good use (and if you don’t want them, call me!)

1. A Facelift.

I had an old frame was in really good shape, I just didn’t like the dated oak color.  So I grabbed a can of red spray paint and gave it a new look.  I removed the wire and replaced it with a new sawtooth hanger.  It took no time at all (24 hours to dry completely) and cost next to nothing.


I popped in this photo that you know I love so much 🙂  I had the photo mounted awhile back and didn’t know what I was going to do with it.  Now with this “new” frame, I have a nice new piece for the studio – no glass needed. The bright paint color brings out the playfulness of the photo and compliments the primary colors the boys are wearing.


2. Frame The Unframed

I like the clean, modern look of canvas, but I also like the warmth a frame can bring.  So why not combine the two?

I had these two small canvasses hanging in the studio.  I found them a little bit small and kind of boring when I hung them on the wall, so I added the old frames over top.


I loved the chipped paint and color of the wood, so I left them alone.  I also like the weight of the frames because they compliment the depth of the canvasses so nicely.  This is a great way to jazz up any existing artwork you may have and breathe some new life into your room.

3.  Make Something Totally New

Remember, anything can become a frame, and frames do not have to be used just for photos.  Here are a pair of old cupboard doors that I spray-painted white.  I popped in a few cork tiles and I’m planning to get some cute pushpins and hang some old B&W photos in them.


The beauty of something like this is that the photos can easily changed at any time when you get tired of them.

Other Ideas:

Anything can be framed.  I like to frame my kids’ artwork (they LOVE this!), pages from expired passports, and maps of places we’ve been.  I’ve turned frames into message boards (insert a piece of scrapbook paper under the glass and get a whiteboard marker – voila!), bulletin boards and jewelry hangers.  I’ve also created this little picture hanger that I still love.  It’s great for holding all those little school pictures that everyone gives you.

Quick tip: after hanging your frame, put a little bit of sticky-tack under the bottom corners and push it into the wall.  Your photos will never be crooked again 🙂 

When you’re looking for old frames at thrift stores and yard sales, here are a couple of hints.  Don’t just look in the picture frame section.  Look at mirrors, artwork and even old windows and cupboard doors; lots of things can be turned into frames.  I’ve even used embroidery hoops to frame some of my kids’ old clothes.  If a frame looks like it will be too much work to bring it to where you want it, don’t buy it; it’s not worth it.  Plastic frames will work fine when they’re coated with an oil-based spray paint, but it’s usually easiest to stick with real wood frames.  Buy things that interest you and suit the style of your home, and remember that a can of spray paint can fix a lot of imperfections.

Pinterest is an awesome resource for framing ideas. just be sure to set aside many, many hours because Pinterest is a deep, dark vortex that will take over your life – trust me.  So much better than watching TV though, right?!

Good luck, and happy up-cycling!



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