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Repurposing Frames: Crafting Custom Frames on a Budget

I love hunting for treasures at thrift stores; old framed pictures are some of my favorite finds. Often overlooked, these pieces offer incredible potential for customization.

Transforming old frames into custom creations is not just a budget-friendly endeavor; it's a source of immense satisfaction. This DIY project is a testament to your creative flair, breathing new life into items that might otherwise go unused. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you create stunning, unique decor pieces that you can proudly call your own.

Materials You'll Need

  • Old frames (wood, metal, or plastic)

  • Latex gloves

  • Sandpaper

  • Paint or stain

  • Paintbrushes

  • Metallic wax

  • Glue (hot glue gun or strong adhesive)

  • Picture hanging hardware

  • Protective finish (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Transforming Frames

1. Select Your Frames

Start by choosing frames that catch your eye, focusing on interesting shapes and sizes. Don't worry about the current color or finish; those are easy to change. The key is to see the potential in each piece.

2. Prep the Frames

Disassemble each frame by removing old pictures, glass, and backing. Sand the surfaces to remove any rough spots or old paint, creating a smooth base for your new finish. This step is essential for ensuring the new paint or stain adheres properly.

3. Paint, Stain, or Buff with Metallic Wax

Now, it's time to give your frames a fresh coat of paint stain or metallic wax. Choose colors that complement your decor and fit the look you're aiming for. Bold, solid colors can modernize a frame, while distressed finishes add vintage charm. Let the paint or stain dry completely before proceeding. You can also repurpose the matting by painting it.

5. Reassemble the Frame

After decorating, reassemble the frame with its glass and backing. If the original glass is missing or damaged, replace it with new glass or acrylic from a craft store. Make sure everything fits securely.

6. Attach Hanging Hardware

If the original hanging hardware is missing or inadequate, add new picture hanging hardware to the back of the frame. This will ensure your custom frame is ready to hang and display your artwork or photos proudly.

(In this project, I removed the glass from a $20 picture I picked up at Goodwill and then buffed it in antique gold and gold leaf Rub n Buff on the frame. I also painted over the print and matting with white chalk paint before attaching the framed print that my client already had to give this a high-end custom look for a fraction of the cost.)

Final Thoughts

Repurposing frames is an enjoyable and cost-effective way to personalize your home decor. With a bit of creativity and effort, you can turn old, forgotten frames into standout pieces that enhance your living space. So next time you stumble upon an old frame, don't discard it—reimagine it into something uniquely yours. Happy crafting!


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