Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to Transform a Thrift Store Frame

I have had several people ask which thrift stores to go to for frames. You can usually find a great selection at any thrift store that sells household stuff. You may have to dig and you may have to look past the ugliness and the scrapes and gross colors, but you can usually find some great ones! I prefer the wooden ones just because they look more expensive when you display them in your house, and they are generally easier to re-do. Today I'm gonna show you the easiest way to take a thrift store frame and make it wall worthy. 

Exhibit A: My frame.
Found at America's Thrift Store, Roebuck Parkway
Wooden. Scratched. Ugly.
But most importantly, it wasn't broken and it still had the glass and the backing. 

Exhibit B: Acrylic paint.
Found at Hobby Lobby, WalMart, any craft store

Before I started, I was undecided on whether I wanted to go green or blue.
And whether I wanted to use a paint brush or a foam brush.
So I tried both.

Put your frame on the edge of a shoebox or basket. This will make it easier to get everything painted without having to touch it, lift it, turn it, etc. 
First I went with blue and used the foam brush.
Advantages of the foam brush are that it is much quicker, it goes on thinner, and it leaves the wood grain marks for you to see, whereas the paint brush is the opposite. This is really just a matter of preference or whatever you have at your house. Won't make a difference in the turnout. However, if you do choose to go with the foam brush, I'd brush on one coat, let it dry, then do another coat, just to get the coverage you need so that your distressing marks show up (which I'll show you in a sec.)

See how you can still see the wood grain? (Using foam brush.)
This is after one coat. And since we are going to distress the frame with a gel stain,
go ahead and let this coat dry and then brush on another coat.

Now, after this, I chose to switch to green paint. So I did.

Sooo... after your frame is completely painted and the paint is DRY, you'll grab a bottle of this:
Exhibit C: Gel Stain
Found on the acrylic paint aisle at Hobby Lobby

You'll want to use your foam brush here.
Get a little of the gel stain on your brush, and sweep it into the corners and crevices (basically anywhere there is a line or where the wood pieces that make up the frame meet each other!) 
See how I did that here? 
Just brush it onto those lines/crevices/cracks.

Then quickly use a paper towel to wipe off what you just did.
That's right; wipe off the gel stain.
Don't worry, some of it will stick around and that's what you want.
Some of it may even REALLY stick around, like the gob of stain you see in the top right corner of my frame. But again, that's ok. It just makes it look even more distressed.
(Sorry the color looks different here; I took the finished product to a different room to make the picture.)

I really like the way it turned out and hopefully it will look just as great hanging in my stairwell.
I'm working on my wall gallery going down our stairs, so I'll post about it when I'm done!

Hope that helps someone out there! 
It's super easy!
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