Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Distress | Age | Antique a picture frame

I love the antique look of an aged picture frame. So I decided to take the project on, and make one myself.

It turns out, there are a few different ways to do it and a few different ways to say it: i.e. aging a picture frame, antiquing a picture frame, distressing a picture frame, making a picture frame look old.

Some use paint, wax and sandpaper. Some use paint, wax and steel wool. Some use paint and shoe polish. Some use paint, an old rag and a kitchen knife. Different techniques equal different results. Check them out before deciding on the look you want.

Through the maze of terms and techniques, I settled on a mix of my own because I had already painted my frames, so I was a little more limited.

Here are some of my Thrifty Finds' before's:

#1: Thrift store find: Framed French Bicycle Picture

#2: Estate sale find: Metal frames

#3: Thrift Store Find: Rectangular mirror

Step 1: Primer
We sprayed everything with primer to cover the previous color, and let it dry.

Next, we sprayed the top coat and let it dry. I chose a bright turquoise-ish sea blue. It looks a little more like robin's egg blue when it's dry.

We brought them home to dry thoroughly....where they sat for a week because I was too afraid I'd ruin them trying to antique them, if you want to know the truth. And then one day all of a sudden I figured if I ruined them I could always paint them again. And I got to work!

I used a block of wood covered with a piece of sand paper and started sanding spots on my beautifully painted frame. Yikes!

But behold, it worked!

The key to this look was the fact that the frame was originally painted black. When I sanded, I went through the blue, and the primer, which took me back to the original black.

Woohoo! Now I was more confident. I dare you to take away my sandpaper!

More block sanding for the mirror frame, but this time I also wiped it with black shoe polish.

Here it is after wiping it with black shoe polish.

Last project of the day, the metal frames.

First, I wiped black shoe polish on the frame, let it dry, and wiped off the excess polish.

But it just looked dirty, not antiqued. (sorry for the blurry picture)
So I pulled out my sandpaper (see how daring I'd become?) and roughed it up a bit, which gave it the perfect antique feel.

I love how they all turned out! Don't be afraid to try antiquing / distressing / aging your picture frames. If I can do it, you can do it. Especially if you find them at thrifty prices - less pressure! :)

Good luck!

Linked to:


  1. shoe polish! so cool i have never heard of that.
    thanks for stopping by over at love notes!
    {love} lauryn @

  2. I love finding great frames to give a makeover! Cute color too :) Happy Friday to you.

  3. How in the world do you know how to do all this stuff?!?! These frames are Adorable - I love the color you chose.

  4. Thanks for stopping by! Love your blog, and those frames! fantastic! My husband did our baby's furniture distressed and I love it!

  5. Love the frames. I am in the process of making a ton of stuff "shabby chic". I love the look after I'm all done.

  6. Would LOVE it if you would link this project up at my turquoise lovin' party going on right now!!

  7. Looks great. LOVE them. Such a great color!
    ~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking...

  8. Just stumbled on your blog, awesome! I gave you a wee link on mine coz I was inspired by you :P Thanks!

  9. They look great. Will try this out! Think I'll use a similar blue and do some baby pink to mix it up.

    1. Hi Lucinda,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! Blue and baby pink sounds so fun. I'd love to see it when you're finished!

  10. I'm wondering if you ever tried this with a plastic frame?

    1. Hi Connie,
      Forgive my late response! I have not ever tried this method using a plastic frame. Did you try the project? How did it turn out?

  11. Wonderful!
    quick question though,

    for the wooden frame, did you apply the shoe polish after you sanded it?
    Also, why do you need to cover the wood with a primer?

    I want to get big wooden letter and spell out my name, and i wanted to make it antique looking..

    1. Hi Dana,
      Thanks for your questions! 1) I did apply the shoe polish after sanding the small wooden frame.

      2) I wasn't sure whether the light blue paint would have been as bright and true if I just painted it over the black frame, so I used a coat of primer before applying the blue, to get the truest blue color before distressing it. If you're starting with a light color underneath, you may not even need primer.

      If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Good luck with your wooden letters. Sounds like a cute project! ~ Shannon

  12. Have you ever tried to do this with a plastic frame? I have one that I want to try but I'm scared of messing it up!

    1. Hi Aimee! I haven't tried doing this with a plastic frame. I know what you mean about being afraid of ruining it! I'm not sure plastic would respond the same way as wood, if you're thinking of using sandpaper. Good luck to you! I'd love to hear how it turns out!

  13. What does the black shoe polish do? Does it just add color to the frame or does it make the paint come off?

    1. I put black shoe polish on to give it a more aged look. It doesn't take the paint off. Sorry if it was confusing!

  14. That's such a beautiful frame. You have explained it so well that it became so easy to understand the steps.

    1. Thanks so much! Hope you'll have success if you try it yourself!

  15. Thanks for making this so easy to understand! I plan on using this tutorial for my DIY picture frame table numbers for my up coming wedding

    1. I'm so happy my tutorial helped! Hope your picture frames come together perfectly! :) Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  16. Nice project with antique pictures. Love the way that you have designed.

  17. Thank you for the simple and very helpful instructions What kind of paint did you use for your frames?
    I have a mirror that I want to paint this way that is wood with brown colored stain.
    I was thinking of a cream/off-white color, but I love the blue you used. Now I'm not sure of the color.

  18. Master Framing are the experts in framing in Sydney.
    We specialize in memorabilia framing, custom picture framing, canvas stretching and photo mounting.
    We have grown into one of the most competitive picture framers in New South Wales,
    offering a large range of picture frames and picture framing services.

    picture framing sydney


I'd love to hear what you have to say! Thanks so much for your comments! ♥


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips