Crafts Using Picture Frames

Recycled or inexpensive picture frames can be decorated and used to create fun new decor for your home. This is a guide about crafts using picture frames.

Crafts Using Picture Frames
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Frame and small can covered with twigs, for a nature influenced look.I used small twigs from my yard and using a hot glue gun, I added them a layer at a time until the entire frame was covered. Then I covered with a light coat of Mod Podge to seal it. Also, look at the little flower pot done to match. This was a small tin can covered in twigs.

Approximate Time: 2 Hours


  • hot glue
  • old picture frame
  • twigs and sticks from the yard
  • Mod Podge


I used small twigs from my yard and using a hot glue gun, I added them a layer at a time until the entire frame was covered. Then I covered with a light coat of Mod Podge to seal it. Also look at the little flower pot done to match. This was a small tin can covered in twigs.

By Sharon from Lakeland, FL

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Decorate a Picture Frame

Decorate a Picture Frame

Uses for old wooden frames that are missing glass. These tips are from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas here.

Decorate a Picture Frame

Decorate a picture frame using paint and found objects. You can decorate a frame with a nautical theme by painting a lighthouse and birds on it. Then hot glue on some found objects like seashells to complete the project.

Make A Table Tray Or Collage

You can put a thin piece of wood in where the glass goes, paint the whole thing and make a tray. Small frames make nice trays for your dresser or the bathroom, and large frames make nice serving trays. If the frame is really thick and strong, you can add handles from the hardware store to hang on to.

If the frames are nice, it also looks neat to do a collage of empty frames on a wall - different shapes and sizes. The woodwork of the frame becomes your "art".

By QueenBeeCrafts


You could paint some plywood with black board paint, attach the frame and then hang it near the pantry as a notice/shopping list board.

By Wolnut

Use For Children's Artwork

When my kids were little, I use to take the old frames and frame their artwork and put them by the pictures on the same wall and as they got older I would put their best papers from school in the frames to show off. They were also able to take the frames and decorate them to become "different frames" on our walls.

By Ginny

Earring Holder

If you staple window screening to the back of the frame, they make a great holder for earrings. Simply hang on the wall and organize!

By Kathy

Get Glass To Use As Frame

An Arts and Crafts store like Hobby Lobby sells glass made for photo frames. If you know the measurements for the frames, you can buy new glass pieces for them.

By Renee

Make A Papermaking Screen

Try a search on making paper. I have never done it but one easy method that I have heard of is to blend scrap paper with a little water to a fine pulp and then using a screen (a.k.a. one made out of an old picture frame) lay the mush out, squeeze it thin and let it dry.

By Kwaurio

Yard Art

A lady in our local garden club used an old barnboard picture frame in her landscaping. She set it up on a stand and planted an assortment of annuals and perennials behind the stand. This "picture" was the talk of the club when we toured the yard and looked great.

By Valleyrimgirl

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I have glued smaller frames onto larger ones and then painted or stained them. This technique makes for an interesting frame!

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Photo frame decorated with sea shells.Ever collected shells at the beach or just admired their natural beauty? Frames decorated in shells are always distinct (no two shells are the same), stimulate personal or collective creativity, and evoke a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere for years to come.


  • shells: enough to cover entire frame from personal collection OR purchase assortment from local craft store (i.e. Michaels) or online
  • frame: any wooden frame (4 x 6 inches is sufficient) NOT distressed or old
    You can find wood frames priced under $4 available at local Walgreens
  • glue: white or all-purpose
  • damp cloth/towel: clean and large enough to wipe frame, glue spills, and/or hands


  1. Determine whether finished frame will stand or be wall-mounted so shell design isn't upside down. Make sure frame is clean. If necessary, use a damp cloth or towel to remove dust or other particles. Place frame on its back (photo side up) throughout entire project.
  2. Start the design process by outlining the frame with various shells. DO NOT use glue at this time.
    Tip: Use the larger shells first as a foundation from which you can add layers and patterns with smaller shells, as well as fill in gaps.
  3. When the outlined layer of shells is placed on the frame, pick up one shell at a time to glue. Hold the shell upside down while squeezing the bottle of glue. Make sure the shell is completely coated as it is pressed onto the frame.
    White and all-purpose glue will dry clear as long as you don't use dirty items (i.e. cloth, fabric, hands) to wipe up excess splurges.
  4. When all of the shells are glued on the frame, allow for sufficient dry time to begin gluing further layers.
    Dry Tip: Lightly wiggle a couple of shells approximately an hour later. If any shells shift (remember, just a gentle touch), wait at least another hour and test again. Note: Using excess glue will take shells longer to dry.
  5. Once the last shell has been glued, give your frame ample time to dry. Dry time will vary based on the number of layers, amount of glue used, and other factors. Use the Dry Tip (above) or for a more secure bet, wait at least 6 hours (or overnight).
  6. Finally, your frame is dry! Carefully turn it over and remove the backing and sample photo. Clean the inside of the glass, if necessary. Place an image that best signifies the meaning of your new frame. Your image doesn't have to be limited to a photo; it can be anything from a drawing, postcard, magazine cutout, etc.
  7. Carefully put your frame back together and place it in a location that you can admire it from.

By Nancy

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I am trying to decorate a plain wooden photo frame with sand and shells collected from a special holiday. I intend on covering the plain wood with sand and then placing the shells on top of the sand. Has anyone got any ideas how this might best be done?

Deb from Cleveland, TN

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To avoid dust, I saw a product in the craft store that can cover basically anything. It looks like it's a plastic coating. It's not thrifty but it would solve the dust problem.

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This old picture frame was going to be trash until I thought of painting it and adding some extra "Happy New Years" confetti to it. I slapped on some glossy varnish and now it looks fantastic. A frame decorated with confetti

Approximate Time: 10 minutes without drying time


  • old picture frame
  • black craft spray paint
  • handful of metallic confetti
  • white glue
  • clear, glossy craft varnish
  • paintbrush
  • tweezers


  1. Start by cleaning and lightly sanding the frame if it's wood or metal. Plastic should just be cleaned. I used an old "I Love Mommy" frame that looks pretty, but was scratched and discolored, as shown here."
  2. Original frame before decorating.

  3. Make sure the picture frame is dry. Spray an even coat of black paint on the frame and let dry. Repeat if needed.
  4. Find any kind of stiff, plastic confetti. I used "Happy New Year" metallic confetti. Brush a tiny bit of glue to the back of the confetti and use a pair of tweezers to help place it on the frame.
  5. Push the confetti flat and let dry. Repeat process for each piece of confetti you want to use. This will make the confetti stick, but it won't stay there long. That's why the next step is varnish.
  6. Apply a light, even layer of clear varnish over the frame. Pay close attention to the confetti and make sure to get on, around and in the nooks of each piece. Let the varnish dry.
  7. Add second coat and let dry. This glues the confetti on from the top as well as the bottom. Now it'll stay put.
  8. Put a picture in your new frame and enjoy!

By Aysha from Boise, ID

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Renew and refurbish old picture frames, even rusty metal ones, with acrylic paint. Try mixing silver paint with different colors for unique results. For wooden frames, use Gesso to glue lace or lacy seam binding around the edges for a carved look before painting.

Use one color and let it dry, and then top with another color, wiping off most of it for an antique look. You can even paint old mat board with acrylic paint.


  1. Experiment with different colors that work well with your picture/photo.
  2. You can spray with clear acrylic to give further protection, and add a shiny look.
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A frame with decorations from a junk drawer, such as a key.

Turning boring picture frames into works of art doesn't take much more than some paint, glue, a junk drawer full of odds and ends, and an imagination! Revamping a picture frame is an easy project that you can complete in an afternoon (drying time included).

What you'll need:

  • A store bought picture frame of any size, or a picture frame that you're bored of and want to jazz up
  • Craft glue
  • Acrylic paint or nail polish
  • Mod Podge/Acrylic Medium
  • Miscellaneous junk drawer/craft items, including: buttons, beads, wire, newspaper, old watches, old keys, shells, beach glass, old earrings, photos, stamps, negatives -- the list is endless.

Look at your boring, plain picture frame as a blank canvas, with limitless possibilities.

It's wise to plan out what kind of theme you'd like your frame to have before you start the project. What do the odds and ends in your junk drawer spell out? Rustic country style? Gothic? Outdoors-themed? Loud and colorful, or subdued?

First, think about what kind of base you'd like. It could be as simple as a couple of coats of acrylic paint. Alternately, if you have some old newspaper, rice paper or magazines you'd like to get rid of, you can create a decoupage paper base using acrylic medium. To do this, make a stockpile of paper cuttings. Paint a small area of your frame with acrylic medium, and place a cutting on the area you've painted. Paint some medium over the paper, and begin to smooth it down with your finger, removing all air bubbles that may have formed. With your finger, 'wrap' the edges of the paper around the inner and outer edge of the frame. Continue in this manner, covering the frame with paper, and give the entire thing a coat of medium when you're done.

Remember that before you add any sort of base or embellishment to your frame, you should remove the backing and glass first!

To give your frame an antique metallic finish, combine about 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon of gold or bronze acrylic paint with 1 tablespoon of acrylic medium, and paint 1-2 layers of the mixture over a decoupaged or light-colored frame.

Once your base is dry, you can begin to add embellishments. This is the perfect opportunity to use up those keys whose locks are long forgotten, or that jar of single buttons.. A neat use for an old watch is to gut it with a small screwdriver and pliers, and glue its inner clockwork to your frame. Or -- string some beads onto some craft wire, and wrap the wire around the edges of the frame.


Simple tacky craft glue is ideal for a job like this one, because it's flexible but very sturdy and dries completely clear.

Once your embellishments have been added, you can decide whether you'd like to go over the entire frame with a coat or two of acrylic medium, to protect your creation.. This isn't always necessary, but if you've glued small beads or photos to the frame, the medium will help keep them stuck on.

Lastly -- it's important to put a special photo in your frame, and display it in a prominent place! You've created a work of art, and it will definitely draw compliments from houseguests.


© 2005 - ThriftyFun

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To make a quirky picture frame try varnishing favourite sweets, jelly babies or licorice, all sorts look quite colourful, then glue them to a cheap picture frame. I suppose you could do the same by varnishing cookies, but make sure who-ever you're giving it to knows it's not really edible!

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Lay the picture frame flat. Decide on the type of design you wish to use. You could use a pencil to draw the outline of the design first, if desired. Position the self-sticking rhinestones on the frame. Insert your favorite photo and you're done!

pink frame with name created from stick on rhinestones

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I went to Michael's Craft store and bought those plain wood frames for $1 that you can paint, I also bought some cute kid decals for decorating them. It was simple, just painted bright fun colors on each side with acrylic paint and a sponge brush. Then I used lettering decals to put their name. I did one of each of my grandsons, and have a grand daughter arriving in 2 weeks, one more to make!

By Linda from Bellevue, N.E

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This is a simple cute picture frame that can be used to decorate your home or to be given as a gift. I made a few for my house and gave one as a gift.

two pet themed photo frames

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Personalized FramesBy Eva Marie Stasiak

These personalized frames are great gifts! They can literally be for anyone because they are personalized. I enjoy making them for my daughter and with children for their parents on Mother's and Father's days.


  • Frame
  • Water
  • Paint / Spray paint
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paint brushes
  • Decorations
  • Sealer
Personalized Frames


Once you have gathered all your supplies select the color you would like to paint your frame. After removing the glass and backing of the frame; paint or spray paint it. For the best results use two coats of paint, and let dry for at least 2 hours.

Next you will want to paint on any personalization or wording. Do all your painting before you glue on any decorations, this keeps your work surface flat. Again let your frame dry before continuing.

Personalized Frames

After your paint has dried you should spray the entire painted area with a sealer. You can use a satin sealer or glossy sealer to add a shimmer to your art. This will increase the life of your frames paint job.

The last steps are to lay out any decorations you would like to attach to the frame. Lay everything out first to ensure it all fits and looks the way you like. Then hot glue them into place. Personalized Frames

Let the frame dry for 24 hours before replacing the glass and adding a picture.


RE: Personalized Frames

Pretty and easy thank you. (03/21/2006)

By meoowmom

RE: Personalized Frames

These are really neat! I might try some of these. Thanks for posting the directions! (03/21/2006)

By rainwolf

RE: Personalized Frames

They look great! I think that I could even make one of those frames. I will look forward to making one. Thank you for such clear directions! Best wishes (03/22/2006)

By Sheri

RE: Personalized Frames

Awesome - good project idea, I love it! (03/25/2006)

By wdyjsu

RE: Personalized Frames

Real pretty, I love it when someone gives good ideas with a picture. Thanks (04/01/2006)

By nmcl

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Crafts Home Decor DecorationsSeptember 21, 2012
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