Reworking Artwork Frames

One of the things I really dislike about our home is the hideous mauvey pink color of the countertops and tub surround in the master bathroom. Personally, I don’t think things this expensive to replace should even be available in anything but neutral colors. This color was very dated and old when the bathroom was remodeled in the late 1990s before we purchased the house. It is unfortunately in good enough condition that is doesn’t make economic sense to replace it with the cream color I’d rather have. So, I do my best to make it look more like light burgundy by putting a lot of burgundy accessories in the space – towels, candles, and burgundy in the pictures on the walls. The picture I had over the large tub was shabby, and needed to go. But finding a replacement wasn’t easy because of the size.  So, when I saw this stunning magnolia at the thrift store, I had to buy it to replace the other one.

This and That at From My Carolina Home

I love the picture, and the burgundy background will fit nicely with my decor. But, the gold accent on the frame was not my cup of tea.  I am not a fan of metallics, and this wasn’t actually guilded, it was painted.  I wanted more burgundy, so I decided to paint it. I set up two sawhorses in the workroom in the basement, and put the picture on them.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

I taped off the creamy white part with green painter’s tape to keep it clean.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

One corner of the frame accent piece was broken, so I needed to fix that.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

I didn’t spend a great deal of time on this part. I used spackle to fill in the hole.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

Filling in the space with a putty knife, I let it dry and then added a bit more to make the corner appear the same as the rest of the frame.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

I allowed it to dry for a day, then painted the gold part with burgundy wall paint. This is the color of our guest room, so I have a small jar for touch ups.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

It didn’t seem dark enough on the frame, so I put a second coat on the next day.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

It still wasn’t the color I really wanted, so I mixed up a wash of acrylic paint in a darker shade, adding a bit of black to the burgundy. I brushed that over the top of the other coats which darkened the color and added a bit more depth.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

Peeling off the tape, the contrast is really good now, and it picks up the burgundy in the picture well.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

Compare that to the original gold accent, and it just looks so much more dramatic with the contrast in value.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

Plus, hanging in the bath, it helps tone down the awful countertop and tub surround color.  BTW, we’ve used this tub only a handful of times.  On the mountain with our well, it takes almost 30 minutes just to fill it with water.  Why the previous owners decided to put such a massive thing in the bathroom with our low water pressure is beyond comprehension.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

So what did I do with the other picture? Well, I put it out in a garage sale and didn’t get any interest, even when I lowered the price to just $25. The frame and glass was worth that much! Anyway, it didn’t sell, so it went to the basement to await donation. Then I got a re-print of my favorite all time painting, Andrew Wyeth’s Wind from the Sea after the original was donated to a museum for the Looking Out Looking In exhibition. I had this print my college days, and it hung on the wall in our home for a couple of years. My dad badgered me into giving it to him, then his idiot third wife threw it away instead of giving it back to me like I asked him to do if he ever decided not to hang it anymore.  I say idiot because that original print is now extremely valuable. I have wanted to replace it for years but it is rare and collectible now, not something I could afford until the re-print was issued. The print without the white edge would fit the frame, so I decided to cut it down and use the frame instead of buying a new one.  Careful measuring and cutting, measuring several times to be very sure it was correct, and using a paper designated blade on one of my rotary cutters, I got it cut to size.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

I mounted it in the frame, then set the whole thing on the sawhorses, preparing to paint over the silver marbled edge when I noticed that it was bubbling up in a corner. Pulling on it a bit, it was found to be an overlay, not even glued down, and underneath was a really nice creamy white!

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

So all that had to be done was to carefully pull it off, and use a box cutter to cut the edge where it went under the gold painted accent part of the frame.  There is still a tiny edge of silver inside the gold braid, but it doesn’t really draw attention, so I left it there.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

I may eventually paint that gold in a soft green to better match the print, but for now it is fine the way it is.  It isn’t a metallic gold, so I don’t mind it as much.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

It went on the fireplace wall in the dining room for now, but I think I’ll move it to over the bookshelves.  When we use the fireplace, the wall above it gets hot as these are ventless gas fireplaces.

Wyeth Wind From the Sea framed

One more look at the magnolia.

Frame DIY Projects at From My Carolina Home

Have you ever re-worked frames on your artwork?

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22 thoughts on “Reworking Artwork Frames

  1. Rosemaryflower

    Oh I LOVE painting frames. I should send you some photos of the frames I made for Lizzie;s wedding. I had three at each table of engagement photos, and also wedding photos of parents grandparents and siblings.
    I love doing this sort of thing. I have not moved on to furniture, but my sister has.
    Have a fun Friday. I am having the wild and wonderful 2.5 year old Sarah over for a few exhausting hours

  2. debdevo

    That magnolia print is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! AND, I am so glad you got rid of a toxic print that only gave you bad memories…that was totally the right thing to do!

  3. Donna Weeks

    Beautiful job with the frames. Finding framed art in yard sales and flea markets, and then repurposing them is a great way to be creative. I like to create chalkboards with accented frames, tablescapes with mirrors inside 8×10 or 11×14 frames accented with seasonal decorations on top of the mirror, and personalized frames for favorite quilt blocks. Thank you for all your inspiring posts. I always enjoy reading your blogs.

  4. Vicki

    If you are an Andrew Wyeth fan, be sure to read A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. It’s about the subject of his most famous work, Christina’s World. Loved it!

  5. Linda B

    Nicely done, Carole…I feel odd that I have never seen that painting by Wyeth. Just lovely. And just want to affirm you in your decision to get rid of something that spoke negatively to you each time you saw it. I have not really heard anyone talk about it, but I too got rid of lots of things that every time I touched them or saw them I was reminded of some unpleasantness. It did not matter how valuable or lovely they were, the association was toxic and it was so nice to pass them onto someone else who would enjoy them. I love being surrounded only with things that “spark joy”, as Marie Kondo would say (the Japanese Art of Tidying up). Your posts are always lovely!! Thanks!

  6. Diane P.

    The frame with the magnolias turned out so well….it”s just BEAUTIFUL. Great glad you added the extra acrylic paints. That made this picture “pop”.

  7. catsandroses

    Love that magnolia picture and it looks 100 times better with your painting efforts! It’s amazing how a frame can so dramatically change the appearance of a picture for the better (or worse). I’ve used wall paint accents on several frames in my bedroom, to match the blue of the master bathroom walls, as it really ties it together so well. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do on some of my ‘canvas only’, no frame paintings that I have, as I don’t want to add a heavy frame to them. Glued a velvet ribbon around the edge of one, to hide the staples, but am looking for other ideas, too.

  8. Wow these turned out great! I have not tried it, but it is a great idea. Especially for people who like all their frames to match, you could just paint them all. TFS!

  9. Yes, isn’t it wonderful! I have a group of framed mirrors too, some of them are old & one or two got broken – your right a little spackling & paint works wonders! You’ve given me a great idea to re-do my magnolia picture frame (which I also picked up at a thrift store)- thanks, Susan

  10. sharon schipper

    I’ve even done my own framing when we had access to the hobby shop overseas. I’ve repainted tons of frames. I haven’t hung my family photos in the new house because the roof leaked in our rental home when we first moved in a few years back, and of course my framed pictures were on the table waiting to be hung right where the water came in! I have bought new mats, and the frames are fine. I saved all but one of the large portrait photos and I just need to decide where they should go. I plan on painting all the frames matt black I think, and maybe on the stairs wall… thanks for reminding me of another project waiting to do! the frames go with the mail box waiting to be painted I think, sigh! You are so motivating!

  11. Carole,
    Fabulous jobs!! I love that magnolia print. Best of all though – that you got of that picture that brings you distress. It didn’t sell because others can feel the bad mojo! And since you are so handy, you know you can get paint to change the color of those tiles? Home Depot or Lowes – ceramic tile paint – boom. You’re done. No more pink. It is easy – you just need good ventilation. Or there are repair services that fix chips in ceramic pieces like bathtubs that will spray everything that needs an uplift in just a matter of an hour. You’d never know it was any other color. ~smile~ Roseanne

  12. Better Homes & Gardens had a short article once about creating a photo wall for odd spaces, and I did that along the stairway wall in our family room. Their brilliant idea was to use the same color of paint on every frame, allowing you to repurpose what you had into a cohesive whole. It really worked well in that space, and ever since I’ve not hesitated to buy my frames at the mission store and strip or paint them to go with my project.

    1. Hit the wrong button! The magnolias are stunning, and your paint job to get rid of that gold was perfect! Amazing how adding a little black to paint can work wonders.😄

  13. The magnolias are beautiful and your reworked frames look amazing. My hubby sometimes does that to fit his pastel paintings. Love the curtain blowing at the window print too…beautiful.

  14. Joni

    I can see why you patiently waited for the Andrew Wyeth! I truly believe that you should only surround yourself with things that bring you pure joy. The magnolia print is beautiful.

  15. Monica Kostak

    You did a beautiful job on the frame. The floral design is pretty and matches well. We are living in our first home we had built 28 * years. I had the MAUVE Jacuzzi (4×5 foot) tub and back splash WITH matching counter tops too. The tub and counter top has since been replaced, and the mauve carpet (yep that too) ) i once had for flooring replaced 3 x over. Mauve was once in. I’m sure it will be back again 🙂 Still my favorite color. 🙂

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