Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Ugly Frame- a Makeover Story

 So what did I do with my free time all last week? A TON I tell ya!!

-First of all, I finished painting my living room walls and ceiling.

-I took my girls to the park several times for a picnic.

-I sorted through every space in my home and reduced everything we owned by 1/3. 

-With all the stuff I pulled out to get rid of, we had a huge yard sale and made a pretty penny.

-I weeded for hours and hours. I'm still not done. UGH!

-I made some very nice meals for my family which have been poorly neglected the past few weeks.

Then I spent time making over this frame from my local thrift store.

To me, this frame was hideous before with years of grime, horrible gold paint and green velvet trim. I had covered up the velvet in the photo above with masking tape to prepare it for painting.

First things first. I had to clean it. I used an old toothbrush to really scrub out all the little crevices and wiped down the rest.

Then I painted it. I used a vanilla color. It took nearly 100 coats to cover it all! Okay, more like 4, but with all those  crevices, it seemed like a lot more. I did my best to keep it smooth and to not fill up the grooves with paint. If I were smart, I would have simply spray painted this. But I like using what I have, and I have LOTS of craft paint.

I already liked the plain cream color, but decided to give it a little more dimension with some dry brushing.
These are the colors I used to paint the frame and to dry brush it.

To make the detail stand out a bit, I dipped my brush in the tan paint, then wiped most of it off on a paper towel before lightly brushing it over the raised parts of the frame. If I got too much, I quickly wiped it off with a damp towel I had right by me. If it wasn't dark enough, I added more.

When I was finished with that, I covered it with a matte varnish. This is the one I had on hand, and it was too thick so I added a few drops of water. I don't know if it was the water or the reaction to the other paints or the finish on the original frame, but this varnish reacted with something and changed my frame. I'll show you in a minute what it did.

Next I needed to do something about the ugly green velvet. I could have painted it, but it would just look like painted velvet. I thought about covering it with a cute ribbon. Then I saw some burlap in my sewing room. It was a perfect match!

I cut the burlap into strips the width of the velvet.

Using a paintbrush and glue, I applied the burlap strips to the frame, making sure to miter my corners.

As the paint dried and over the next several hours, I noticed the varnish was turning blue! At first I was mad, but then it grew on me. In fact, it perfectly matches my newly painted living room! What luck.

I cut myself a photo mat and mounted my beautiful family picture from my favorite photographer and now I have a perfect $5 fit for my new coastal theme living room.

Okay. To be honest, all these things would have been done whether I was online last week or not. The only difference was that I noticed that after a few days, I stopped mindlessly wandering over to the computer several times a day and wasting precious time. I will now do my best to keep this habit on check. I love creating things and sharing them all with you and seeing what all of you have done as well to get inspiration, but it isn't beneficial if it detracts from my family.


  1. Amen...I need to take some time off too. Very inspirational thanks Deborah!

  2. This is super cute! Any helpful hints or tutorials on cutting your own photo mat?

  3. Just beautiful...and so much better!

  4. Hi Deb, I'm your newest follower! That was such a cute makeover on the picture frame. I was so surprised when I saw the original frame, I think I have a pair of them in the basement, minus the green trim. If I didn't have to buy and plant tomatoes today I would go right down there and grab them. Maybe tomorrow though. Anyhow, thanks for posting that. I love what I've seen so far on your blog, especially that cake! I plan to look through lots more of the blog later, looking forward to it! If you get a chance come and visit on my new blog, which I just started up this week. I hope to meet lots of new friends and hopefully inspire others like you have done for me! Julie

  5. Ahhh! So cute! I absolutely love it! xoxoxo

  6. Dear Julie (from Ric Rac and Polka Dots),
    Just stopped by your blog and it is lovely. Good luck getting started! Thanks for visiting me here in my little corner of the world.

  7. Dear Deborah,
    I am so excited you visited me! Thanks so much for visiting and for commenting. Now, I have to tell you that my husband is NOT going to be happy I found your blog, as I have been trying to talk him into painting the bedroom furniture for a couple years now. It is dark wood that I want to paint creamy white, shabby looking. Your pictures just give me more to work with as far as convincing him it can be done, and turn out beautifully! I'll let you know how it goes!

  8. Julie,
    If you are planning to paint some furniture, I would recommend checking out this how-to first.


  9. Oh! I love the new frame! Thank you for sharing!