Make your own artwork by refinishing and hanging old frames and filling them with whatever grabs your fancy.
Multiples in paintings provide punch. Take the same approach with frames. Here, an assortment of different frames is pleasing to the eye, even when empty.
Start by stacking frames that catch your eye. We picked up frames at thrift shops, yard sales, and curbside on big trash pickup days. Don’t turn up your nose at freebies or cheap plastic, friends—even faux wood frames can be enriched.
If you use these creative art ideas as a stop gap measure, while looking for your ideal masterpiece (perfectly acceptable and understandable), we think that you’ll grow attached to what you assemble and you’ll see that what passes as good art can be as flexible as the soft tip of a paint brush.
Don’t let a boring image, such as this uninspiring art print, turn you off. Look at what’s surrounding it.
Paint the frame with one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Antibes Green. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® is easy to apply, as it requires no prep. Pick colors that work with your overall decor.
To get this vintage look, lightly sand some of the edges once the paint is dry. This works beautifully on a carved frame like this one. Even a $2 resin frame will work if it’s got good texture. After a coat of paint, it can look like a hundred bucks.
A metal feather takes on artwork status when framed on the wall. The metallic shimmer brings out the gilded highlights in the sanded frame. If your frame didn’t start out gilded, get the look by dabbing a bit of gold paint on a brush, wiping off excess on a paper towel, and lightly painting onto raised areas of your frame. Work some gold paint into recesses and wipe with the paper towel.
Armorial pieces found at a flea market were ours for $1. Dated to some, but full of possibilities in our eyes.
With two coats of Annie Sloan’s Pure White paint and a bit of sanding around the edges, a forgettable piece can become an interesting shape when added to an art arrangement. The white finish brings sophistication to the dimensional texture inside of the piece.
We found a pair of oval frames at Goodwill for just $3.
The larger, metal frame got a coat of Annie Sloan’s Aubusson Blue with a little bit of sanding around the edges, and the smaller oval frame got a couple coats of Pure White. Instead of the dated prints that came with them, we stenciled a design right on the wall with gold paint, then used the smaller and larger oval frames together to contain the design.
The second we saw this old basket at a flea market, we knew it would be the perfect round shape to help fill out the wall grouping.
The design inside was fading, so we spray painted it gold. (Tip: Silver paint would be fun too; or both—try masking sections off).
The backside got painted too. That way if you want to add a really colorful accent, you can easily flip it over and hang. We used the same green and blue as the frames to help tie together the arrangement. Pink pops up in smaller accent sections to help balance out the color scheme, as well as a darker shade of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Aubusson blue mixed with some black. Use a small paintbrush, water down the paint slightly so it glides on easier, and follow the texture of the basket. You don’t have to paint the whole thing — just a few sections at random create an interesting design. The geometric design on the edges of the basket was interesting, but we wanted to bring it out. So, we painted over what was already there using Aubusson Blue darkened slightly with black paint.
When you create a color scheme, choose colors that work with your overall decor. Use an existing element, like an embroidered pillow, to help guide your frames’ palette. Play with pillow textures, prints, and colors as part of your overall composition.
Add in neutrals. Use metallics to create sparkle and shine. Bring in small amounts of black, or a darker color, to help ground the palette visually.
Pick up dimensional items like our vintage bird figures and metallic feather, all picked up for a song, were mounted within the picture frames. Apply them directly to the wall or layer them on papers.
Produced by Katie Leporte
Photos by Adam Albright
© Caruth Studio