Weekend Project: Shabby Chic Frame Refurb

August 16, 2017


Dear readers,

I have a thing for shabby chic frames. I just really like how they look, and I really, really like making them for my family photos or artistic shots. I think you will enjoy this tutorial because it is easy to recreate and doesn’t take a lot of effort. I think the most difficult thing I faced was deciding what photos I should put in these beautiful mint colored frames!

Here is the list of materials you will need:

Rust-Oleum White Primer spray paint

Rust-Oleum Ocean Mist (or whatever color you fancy) spray paint.

3M fine grit sandpaper

Various thrifted wood frames

I bought all the above frames from Goodwill in April, my brother works there so I got a great discount on everything. I think the two frames featured in the picture above are my favorite frames. I believe they were handmade. The base is thick hardwood, and the “glass” part that the picture gets pressed behind is actually Plexiglas. The Plexiglas has a little hole drilled in each corner where a decorative tack holds it onto the hardwood base. It looks like they were either unfinished, or minimally painted when they ended up on the shelf at Goodwill for $2.99 a piece. I can’t wait to have a lady-cave in my future home where I can make stuff like this. I LOVE this frame concept.

But anyways, enough gushing about the frames… Onto step one…

Step One:

I very, very gently weaseled the tacks out of their place. I was afraid I would crack or chip the Plexiglas and then I would truly be bummed out. I also removed all hooks and embellishments from the other frames that are not in the above picture. I always put everything into a bucket or bowl right away, that way I’m not wondering where the heck a tiny little nail went, then having to run to Walmart and get a new pack of nails for just one missing nail. Saves time and makes each DIY project less stressful by just keep everything together in one area. Perhaps this is a common sense tip everyone I know is already ingrained with, but sometimes when you’re distracted by little ones all day, important little things magically go missing.

Step Two:

I used my beloved fine grit sandpaper to sand down each and every frame I bought. Then I wiped them all down with a damp rag. I also went through and removed all the price tags and cleaned the glass really well. The price tags came off with glass cleaner after they soaked a little bit. If that doesn’t work I’ve used rubbing alcohol as well.

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Step Three:

Next step! Priming! I primed my shabby chic frames  with my usual Rust-Oleum White Primer. I sprayed the fronts, backs and every little crevice in between. I spray painted them outside on a plastic shower curtain liner. Shower curtain liners are so useful for home painting projects. I did not have Squeaks around for this project, she was at her dad’s for the weekend. If she was there I’d probably let her lightly spray on some primer. After the primer coat dried, I sanded the frames down again.

Little background on me? I’ve been divorced for almost three years now. My ex husband, his wife, and I get along really well these days. In the beginning it was so much harder, there was a lot of resentment on my end, and many other challenges to our co-parenting arrangement. Oh the fighting. I wouldn’t rewind time for a million dollars. However, if we can suck up our pride for the sake of our child, then I think anyone can. Squeak is a very well loved and happy little girl, and I also found a deep passion for blogging about, and doing, refurbishment projects and other fun stuff.

Everything happens for a reason.

Step Four:

So you painted the primer coat onto your shabby chic frames. Check.

You sanded out any little blobs and imperfections, like perhaps, if a leaf drifts in out of nowhere and dries to your frame…this happened to me.


Now it’s time to spray on some beautiful color. I chose Rust-Oleum’s Ocean Mist. I love the color, however, the above photo doesn’t really do it justice. It looks more blue above, but the finished photos are more seafoam green. Anyone who knows me, knows that seafoam green is my favorite color. In early 2000, my cell phone case was seafoam green. Go Tracfone!


Step Five:

Sand to damage your shabby chic frames. We want the white primer and the wood frame underneath to show through. The goal is to have some great texture, and lots of levels of color. This is why buying funky frames is so important. As you sand, any texture or pattern will be magnified and look incredible.

After this is done, you are pretty much in the home stretch with your shabby chic frames. Just reassemble your frames, pictures included, and hang them up on your wall! Actually, you should share this tutorial as well! Ha! Questions or comments? Please leave them below. I did this frame collage for my hallway and next I am brainstorming something for Squeak’s bedroom. I wish I could include pictures of the frames actually in my hallway, but the lightening does the detail no justice at all.

Shabby and chic (but mostly chic),

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All photos edited with love and Pic Monkey. Click my link below and start your free trail!

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