By Helen, Whitewood and Linen
I have long favoured a chippy aged patina to my home decor preferring its time worn elegance to a more modern look. One item I am frequently on the hunt for when I am out thrifting for the home is an interesting old photo or picture frame. I am usually more taken with the detail of the frame as opposed to its colour since the latter can often be addressed with a tin of paint and some imagination. During a recent visit to a local junk shop I happened upon this somewhat garish gilt picture frame in a box full of tatty pieces. Not particularly old yet with the potential to look so, I snapped it up and took it straight home to the craft room to begin my work.
I love this easy and quick technique to age home décor using nothing more than simple paint and wax. It is a method which can be applied to so many items in the home affording them a new look. Ceramic vases and jugs, pots, bowls even glass objects can all be reinvented with a little paint and imagination. Here is how I used a beautiful chalk paint and dark wax to age my picture frame:
- Picture or photo frame
- Paint; I used Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Antique White, 175ml
- Wax; I used Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax in Dark, 125ml
- Old rags
- Soft cloth
Begin by ensuring you have a clean picture frame to work with. Wipe clean with a damp cloth if necessary; more challenging marks might benefit from a wipe over with a solution of white spirit.
Rust-Oleum’s Chalky Finish Furniture Paint can be applied directly to most surfaces, so go ahead and apply a thin first coat. When this craft is complete, you will still want to see a little of the gilt, so using an old rag or tissue, wipe away a little of the paint whilst it is still wet, in places where time might naturally erase the paintwork. Apply a second thin coat following the same technique. Allow the paint to dry fully.
Use the toothbrush to apply the wax to the frame sparingly, highlighting any raised details in particular. You can use a small artist’s paint brush to get right into any tiny holes if needed. I’ve used Rust-Oleum’s Furniture Finishing Wax in a great many craft projects in the past and know a little product goes a long way plus it stores well in its metal packaging so it should be around in your craft room for many future craft projects to come.
Allow the wax to air dry thoroughly and using a soft cloth, gently buff all over your picture frame blending in the wax as you go. You’ll notice a subtle sheen begin to appear on your frame.
Top Tip: If you apply too much wax for your liking to your picture frame, you can always remove it by using a small amount of white spirit on an old rag. Very gently wipe off the wax from the frame before reapplying a lighter coat.
Time to get creative with your home decor. Painted frames look wonderful grouped together and layered against a patterned wall. Placed alone against a plain wall, you could try adding a vase of colourful flowers or perhaps an unframed photograph tucked just inside a corner of the empty picture frame itself. Grand, empty frames look particularly striking standing on a wooden or tiled floor simply leaning against their backdrop. Another favourite way of mine to use an empty frame is to place a smaller, framed painting inside the empty frame itself. Double framing the single pretty painting if you like.
Since the purpose of my painted frame is to light up a dark corner of a sitting room, I’ve added warm fairy lights and a candle and simply tied a few stems of dried Ammi with string to the frame itself. A few tonal books complete the calm look I am after.
So, how will you use your painted frame I wonder? I look forward to seeing your ideas and don’t forget to tag us with #doitwithcans on social media!