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Frugal Framing Ideas: Easy Ways to Revamp Thrift Store Finds

updated Apr 14, 2020
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(Image credit: Food52)

Framing art is notoriously expensive, no matter if you’re ordering a custom frame online or picking up a standard-size one from your local store. But if you have a little imagination (and some gold leaf lying around), revamping vintage frames is an affordable way to give your art a good home. Pull out the spray paint and unroll the wrapping paper, these vintage frame refreshes will inspire you to build yet another gallery wall.

To refresh an older frame but still pay homage to its vintage charm, layer on chalk paint in two different colors, and then use sandpaper to create a distressed look. Read the full how-to on Martha Stewart to learn how to seal the frame and give it a matte finish.

(Image credit: Free People Blog)

Before the Free People Blog glitzed up this mirror with gold leaf, it had a boring wooden frame that wouldn’t make us look twice. Read the how-to, then go ahead and add some glam to all your vintage finds. Get inspired by these 15 gilded projects ideas.

(Image credit: Food52)

Food52 shows us that sometimes the only thing you need to make a thrift store frame feel fresh again is to throw away the old sun-bleached matting and turn the frame into a floating frame. Here are 12 of our favorite things to display in a glass frame.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

To unify a mismatched set of thrift store frames, take a tip from Design Sponge and cover the original mats in vibrant blue fabric.

(Image credit: Dans le Lakehouse)
(Image credit: Dans le Lakehouse)

Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse proves just how transformative a simple coat of white spray paint can be. Check out the post to see how the same trick worked on a larger painting in Tanya’s office.

(Image credit: Stacie Flinner)

A Midas touch brings a large vintage mirror back to life. Follow the instructions from Stacie Flinner, then lean your masterpiece casually against the wall.

(Image credit: Brooklyn Berry Designs)

To give an ornate mirror a playful paint-dipped look, Brooklyn Berry Designs first spray-painted one-third of the frame gold and then gave the rest a chalky coat for contrasting color and finish.

(Image credit: Pocketful of Posies)

To give ugly thrift store frames a facelift, Cat from Pocketful of Posies revamped them with a two-step system. First, she spray-painted the frames, then she hand-painted the mats.

(Image credit: Little Green Notebook)

In case you haven’t noticed by now, gold makes almost every frame look a million times more glam. We can all thank Jenny from Little Green Notebook for discovering the easiest way to gild a plain frame: Pick up a gold leaf pen.

If you’d rather just buy a frame than DIY one, shop our 10 favorite sources for cheap frames.