Thrift shop picture frames can be remade into stylish, striking frames for your favorite pictures. Alternately, the frames can be made into works of art in their own right and a simple picture placed in the center.
Choosing a thrift shop frame doesn’t just save you money. It can be a great way to recycle. Plus, they can make unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. The trick is to pick out a sturdy frame in good condition.
There is no right or wrong way to recreate a frame. The trick is in picking the right frame. Here are a few things to look for when selecting a frame from a thrift shop.
You will need:
Soap and water
Stain or sealer
Paint in the color(s) of your choice.
Medium Grit Sandpaper
Fine Grit Sandpaper
Two Short Nails
Picture Hanging Wire
Clear Spray Polyurethane
Consider the size of the piece you want to frame. Measure it well. If you are going to frame the picture with a mat be sure that you allow for enough space.
At the thrift shop look at frames that are the right size. It may also be worth it to look at pictures that are still framed. Often, these are only a couple of dollars more than the empty frame. If it is something that you like why not buy it? The picture can be used for another project or discarded.
Make sure that any frame you purchase is sturdy. Unless you have a good bit of experience in redoing frames a flimsy, unstable frame is not a good choice.
When you get the frame home you want to clean it well. Brush off any extra dust from the frame. Wash it with a cloth lightly damped with soap and water. Pay special attention to the corners or detail on the frame. Let the frame dry thoroughly.
If there are deep dents in the frame you can fill these in with the wood filler. Let the filler dry completely before sanding.
When dry, sand the thrift shop frame with medium grit sandpaper. Take care to sand any area that was touched up with wood filler level to the surface. When finished, wipe with a tack cloth.
You are now ready to paint the frame with sealer, stain or to paint it. If you are using sealer or stain you are almost finished. Apply the stain or sealer according to the directions on the container. Let dry.
Drips or overspray will be permanent. Always paint or stain in a well ventilated area. Be sure that the area is protected with newspapers and wear old clothing.
If you are painting:
Apply a coat of primer to the entire thrift shop frame. Spray primer is easy to use and coats well. Primer can also be painted on. Allow to dry. Repeat.
Sand the primer with the fine grit sandpaper. This removes brush strokes or drips from the spray paint. If you sand down to the wood grain reapply the primer, let dry and sand again. This helps get the frame ready to accept the paint.
The next coat is the coat of paint. This is called the base coat. If you are painting a design on the frame it is also called the base coat. Again, apply two coats of paint and allow to dry thoroughly in between. Sand the thrift shop frame again with fine grit sandpaper to remove brush strokes.
At this point you can either leave the frame in a plain color or paint designs on it. Either is fine. Which you do depends entirely on your likes and dislikes.
When the paint is dry apply a coat of clear spray polyurethane. Let dry. Repeat.
To the get thrift shop frame ready for hanging here’s what you do.
Turn the frame on its front on either a padded surface or old quilt. This helps protect the frame and the surface underneath.
Use the yardstick to help you mark two dots on the thrift shop frame with a pencil. Make these straight across from each other on opposite sides of the frame. The yard stick will help you make sure the dots are level. Gently hammer one nail in each pencil dot. Do not nail them all the way in. Be sure they are sticking out. Cut your picture frame wire with the wire cutters and wrap one end on each nail.
Use the picture frame wire to hang the thrift shop frame on the wall. Stand back and admire your handiwork. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone you know.
More ideas on refinishing thrift shop finds can be found at:
Repaint that Stool
Source: Personal Experience on thrift shop frame makeovers.