Published: 10/06/2015 13:10:37

How to Give an Old Picture Frame a New Lease on Life

Do you have a tired old frame that's looking like it's had better days? Are you a fan of the old adage 'waste not, want not'? There's no need to throw away something that still performs the function it was intended for, just because you're getting bored of the sight of it. Why not spruce your frame up a bit and give it a new life? There are several ways you can do up an old frame, whether it's wood, metal or even plastic. Whether you paint it, polish it, add something on or take something away, you'll soon have your old frame looking like new.

Cleaning and Repairs

You'll first need to clean your frame and make any repairs. How you do this will depend on the material your frame is made of. A soft, damp cloth is best to use for cleaning, no matter the material. If it's a wooden frame, your main tools for repairs will probably just be sandpaper, wood glue and perhaps a hammer and some nails. Scratched and dinged-up metal frames are a little harder to fix-up, but they can be sanded, buffed and polished.

Get the Paint Out

One of the simplest ways to spruce up a tired frame is to give it a lick of paint. You might just want to varnish your wooden frame, but you could also paint it a completely different colour in either matte or gloss. If you have a piece of artwork in mind to frame, you might want to pick a complementary colour. Painting your frame doesn't have to be just one colour though. Get creative with stencils, stamps, or paint some details freehand if you're handy with a brush.


In addition to, or instead of, painting your frame you can add just about anything you want. Use a hot glue gun on wood to get sticking, whether it's beads, jewels or other embellishments. You can even just use stickers or patterned sticky tape, which is easy to peel off and reposition if you make a mistake. There are all sorts of things you can recycle to turn into decorations for your frame, from toilet roll tubes to plastic milk containers.


Turn your wooden frame into a metal one by overlaying it with gold-leaf (or silver or metal). It's a cheap way to make your frame look a little more sophisticated with minimum effort. Apply the gold-leaf to the frame (follow the instructions on the packet) and brush off any excess, then use acrylic sealer to coat it. You might even want to make your frame look like an antique by using a crackle glaze or another ageing technique.

So there you have a few ideas to inspire to rescue that tired old picture frame you have sitting in the garage or the loft, gathering dust, or the one hanging on a wall that you've been meaning to change for ages.