I found these picture frames at a local thrift store. They ranged in price from $0.75 to $1.50. I decided to get them and see what fun I could have with them.
1. I sanded them down to remove any deformities. Since they were second hand they had many scratches and dings in them. Some may prefer to keep these to give extra character. I was looking for a more uniform look and since they are all different frames, I wanted them to all have a newer look.
2. After sanding, I applied a base coat of white paint. You can use a primer or just regular white paint. I have not found much difference. If you are using the frame on a table top or a high traffic area, primer may keep the paint sticking to the wood longer than white paint will.
3. While waiting for the paint to dry I cleaned the glass in the frames. Since the frames were mostly older, they had a thick film of dust on them. You can use a glass cleaner to clean them but I have found that a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part cider vinegar works very well without streaking.
4. I painted a base coat of black (or color of your choosing). It will take more than one coat to cover the wood completely. If there are unpainted spots on the surface this can lead to peeling and it will not look proffessional.
5. While the first coat of paint is drying I used my die cutting machine to cut out the images. For image size, you will measure the glass of the frame and decide what size of image you would like from there. If you are going to use patterned paper, I find it is best to use very subtle patterns. If you cannot resist a strong pattern, try alternating the prints. Use a bold pattern for the background a faint pattern for the design. Using a bigger pattern paper for the cutout can be distracting. It can also make it so the pattern on the paper is lost.
If you do not have a die cutter, you can use pictures of flowers, or birds, or free stencils for download online. After you have the images of your liking, take the glass from the frame and trace it on the back of your background paper. If you have a square or rectangular picture then you can just measure and cut with a paper cutter. After you have the traced image on the back of your patterned paper, cut it out.
6. After the first layer of paint is dry, you will want to paint a second coat. Make sure you cover it well. I have often just tried covering the spots that didn't get covered well the first time but inevitably, I always miss spots. I like to use a nice even layer so that the paint doesn't gather in one spot or dry unevenly.
7. After the second coat is dry, I like to take another color and gently dry brush it over the detail work on the frame. This makes the detail pop and gives it more visual interest.
8. Once the frames are completely dry, assemble and hang.