How to Paint Picture Frames | Repaint Photo Frames
By Natasha Hoover
Repainting Picture Frames
You know those picture frames you find at garage sales and thrift stores (or your own closet) that would be great "if?" Well, it is easy to overcome a 1970s paint scheme, chipping paint, or strange paint color by simply repainting them, yourself.
Lately, I have seen shabby chic items popping up all over the Internet. My chosen style is not quite shabby chic because I have used both pastel and vivid blues, instead of the traditional whites, but I love the way it looks. I decided to pull the frames out, repaint them and put them to use holding some of my favorite photographs. The project is amazingly quick, easy, and inexpensive - I wholeheartedly recommend trying it instead of throwing away old frames and buying new ones.
Prepare the Picture Frames for Repainting
First, remove any old prints, photos, etc. and the glass from the frames. Then, use some medium grit sandpaper on the frames to scuff them up a little so the paint will stick. After that, wipe them off with a damp paper towel to remove the bits of sanded frame and loose grit. Next, paint them white using a primer. If you do not already have primer sitting around, I recommend using white craft paint.
After the white base coat dries, rub wax along the frame's edges. I used a tea light candle, but any type of wax will work. Doing this allows you to easily remove some of the top layer of paint, exposing the base coat and giving that well-worn look.
Repaint the Picture Frame
Next, I painted the frames using the same blue paint featured in my DIY wall art tutorial, but you can use any color or type of paint you like. For a project like this, it is best to use a foam brush to ensure an even, brushstroke-free application of paint. Also, remember that applying several light layers of paint is better than slapping on one thick layer. The color application is smoother and the paint does not run down the edges and cracks when you apply several thin layers of paint. Just remember to allow the paint to dry thoroughly between each coat!
Finish the Picture Frame
After the final coat of blue dries, use the fine grit sandpaper one last time to carefully buff the wax off in order to reveal the white base coat underneath.
In only a few hours, mostly spend waiting between coats of paint, you can transform boring, unused frames into something fun that matches the rest of your décor. I already owned everything I needed for the project, but even if you had to buy all the supplies (except the frames) you could easily do it for $3, or less, because acrylic craft paints and foam brushes can be purchased for less than $1 apiece.
Shabby Chic Plastic Picture Frames
I know it sounds cheesy, but my motto is "perfectly imperfect" when it comes to projects like this. If you want something that looks factory robot perfect, head to the store. If you want something as funky and unique as you, pick up a paint brush and get going! I love my new frames and can't believe they're simple plastic frames I picked up for about a dollar.