10 Things to Do With a Plain Picture Frame

The DIY experts at HGTV Magazine show you how to make a boring white picture frame as pretty as a picture with these tricks.
By: Jessica Dodell-Feder

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Start With the Frame

A few of our favorites: White Lacquer Emery 2.5" x 3.5", 4" x 6", and 5" x 7" frames, $2 to $3, worldmarket.com; Malden Wide Linear 5" x 7" frame in white, $12.50, aifriedman.com; Nyttja 5" x 7" frame, $4 for a set of 2, IKEA stores

Stick On Fun Tape

Buy patterned washi tape that's about as wide as your frame. Cut four pieces to cover the frame, then press each down firmly, overlapping the corners. Tape: FunTape in argyle, $5 per roll, ginkopapers.com

Options Galore

If you find a pattern you like that’s thinner, just use two strips side by side. Make a mistake? Just peel off the tape and start again!

Put Down an Overlay

Paint the frame with yellow craft paint, and let dry. Cut a white foam overlay into four strips. Attach to the frame with clear-drying craft glue, like Aleene’s Quick Dry tacky glue ($3, craft stores). Paint: FolkArt acrylic paint in yellow lemon, $2 for 2 ounces, joann.com; Overlay: O’verlays Harper 2" trim, $3 per foot, myoverlays.com

Add Flowers

Paint the frame green. Paint the outsides of four toilet paper rolls various bright colors using craft paint. Let dry, then lightly flatten the rolls and cut into 1/2-inch pieces to create petal shapes. Attach the petals with clear-drying craft glue. Paint: (frame) Americana acrylic paint in bright green, $1.50 for 2 ounces, joann.com; (petals) Americana acrylic paint in bright orange, bright yellow, Bahama blue and baby blue, $1.50 for 2 ounces, hobbylobby.com

Dot It

Press pencil erasers into a multicolor ink pad. Stamp the frame, starting with a few dots at the top and adding more toward the bottom. To prevent smudges, coat with a clear acrylic sealer, like Krylon Crystal Clear ($6, craft stores).

A Rainbow of Colors

Use one pencil eraser for each ink color. Be sure to use an ink pad that’s safe on wood. Ink pad: VersaColor Multicolor in limone, $7, tsukineko.com for buying info

Wrap It in Yarn

Put a dot of craft glue on the back of the frame and stick the end of a ball of yarn to it. Wrap the yarn around one side of the frame. (We suggest starting on the inside-upper-left corner.) Snip and glue the end to the frame’s back. Repeat on all sides, leaving the corners bare. Yarn: Koigu Premium 100% merino wool, $15 for 175 yards, purlsoho.com

Gold-Leaf It

Brush adhesive, aka sizing medium, onto the frame. Following the package's directions, apply sheets of gold leaf to the wood. Brush off any excess, then coat the frame with clear acrylic sealer. Gold-leaf kit: Speedball Composition gold-leaf kit (includes adhesive, leaf and sealer), $11, dickblick.com

Stripe It With Straws

Cut paper straws into equal pieces about as wide as the frame. Attach them with clear-drying craft glue. Straws: Summer Sunshine Stripey Straws, $4 for 20, shopsweetlulu.com

Add Metal Detail

Paint the frame with blue craft paint, and let dry. Arrange two sizes of metal washers around the frame. Once you’re happy with the design, attach the washers with clear-drying craft glue. Paint: Martha Stewart Crafts satin acrylic craft paint in surf, $1.50 for 2 ounces, Michaels stores; Washers: Crown Bolt zinc-plated flat washers, $5 for 100, homedepot.com

Glue On Letters

Paint the frame and a mix of chipboard letters with two shades of blue craft paint. Let dry, then arrange the letters on the frame. Once you're happy with the placement, attach the letters with clear-drying craft glue. Paint: Matte acrylic paint on (frame) blue medium and (letters) blue light, $2 for 2 ounces, dickblick.com; Letters: 1 1/4" Lowercase Chipboard letters, $3 for 26, hobbylobby.com

Belt It

Use a utility knife to cut an old belt into four pieces to cover the frame, trimming each end at a 45-degree angle to match the frame’s mitered corners. Attach the belt with heavy-duty craft or hot glue. If your belt won’t completely cover your frame, paint the frame first with brown craft paint, and let dry.

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