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A couple of months ago I was out at a couple of garage sales, and I came across this beautiful carved wood frame, for only 10 bucks.

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Some of the corners were a little beat up, but its nothing a little makeover wouldn’t take care of…

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I’ve love the styling of the french provencial era, and I wanted to create a wall of painted, distressed and vintage looking frames to display as art.   I had my big focal piece, but now all I needed was about 8-10 more frames.

A couple of days later, I came across a HUGE box of bulk 25 gorgeous but gently used frames at a garage sale, for only $25!!   And these were no dollar store frames, either.   They were all in the 5×7 – 8×10 size, with thick ornate frames.   They weren’t actual antiques, but they could certainly be made to look like antiques.

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When I went up to buy them, the guy who was selling them says to me in a really sarcastic “What on earth are you going to do with all of these frames?”  I said “I’m going to paint them all the same color, distress them, and display them as art, on a big feature wall.”  He stopped in his tracks and was like “Oh, wow…   thats a really good idea.  I wish I had thought of that before I listed them for sale!”

Too late buddy, too late.

Things you’ll need:

  • A collection of frames – get as many different shapes and styles as you can, it adds to the unique aesthetic.   The quantity needed will depend on the area of the wall you are filling.   This is a perfect way to reuse old frames you have around the house, or grab a good deal on Craiglist
  • Paint brushes – fine tip through medium sized – I went through 4 or 5 on this project, but if you only have a few, you can just wash them out
  • Americana Chalky Finish Paint in your favorite colors – I used Primitive for the grey frames, and a 50/50 split of Yesteryear and Treasure for the Teal frames
  • Gold Gilding or Gold Spray Paint (if you want gold to show through the distressed areas)
  • American Clear Wax
  • Couple of rags or sandpaper for the distressing
  • Scissors
  • Nails/hooks for hanging any frames that lost their hook when you removed the backing

 

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Step 1:  Gilding or Spraying the Frames

I love the look of gold peaking through a vintage color, so I gave all of the frames (except for the big one) a couple of thin coats of gold spray paint, so that when I sanded some of the chalk paint away, the gold would show through.

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Step 2:   Paint the Frames With Chalk Paint

Painting the chalk paint on was a super easy process as the paint goes on super smooth, and dries very quickly.   You can’t really mess this step up (which is why I love this type of paint so much).   I made sure I got some paint down into the crevices, because I was going to be distressing the more raised up areas and wanted those to show more gold, with the grey color in the deeper parts.

Most of the frames were done in Americana Yesteryear color, which is a beautiful light gray color – perfect for the French provencial look.   I kept out 6 frames to use as pops of color, which I covered in a 50/50 mix of Americana Primitive (teal), and Americana Treasure (cream).

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I probably shouldn’t have to mention this, but its an important tip.   If you have a young child in the house, like say, a 2 year old, don’t keep the paints where little fingers can reach them, otherwise you may end up with a whole other type of artwork on your hands.   🙂

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Step 3:   Sanding – VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE TUTORIAL HERE !!

Now I want to share something critical I learned in this process, in case you are doing these yourselves.    WET SANDING WITH A DAMP RAG IS AWESOME!!!!    Dry sanding with sandpaper on these frames, not so much.

I made the mistake on a few of the white frames, of letting them dry for too long, so that I could not distress them with a wet rag.   I had to go at it with sandpaper which was a very painstaking process – too much pressure and you sand all the way to the wood (and lose the gold peak through), too little pressure, and you don’t see any distressing.   I spent about 2 hours on the large frame and ended up re-guilding some of it and redoing the paint so that I could wet sand it and get the right look.

Don’t make my mistake!!   You only have to wait about 15 minutes after applying the Americana chalky paint, before you can then take a damp rag, and wipe in the areas where you want to distress – it looks more natural, doesn’t ruin the gold gilding underneath, and takes minutes instead of hours.   This way looks much better, and is WAY easier!!

 

This is me, reapplying some gilding after I sanded a bit too much off, and black was peaking through instead of gold.

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Step 4:  (Optional) Stenciling

DecoArt makes some great stencils, so if you want to give a shot doing your own artwork, I painted directly onto the glass for one of my frames (because someone had super glued the glass to the frame).   You could also insert a canvas print and stencil onto that as well.

 

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Step 5:   Remove the backs of the frames, with scissors

 

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Step 6:  Add hanging hardware (if necessary)

When I cut off the backing of some of the frames, the hanging mechanism was attached to the piece that I cut away.   In some cases I could just hang the frame directly on a nail in the wall, but in a few of the cases, I had to add a hook to the back of the frame, to hang it with.

Finally I hung them all up in my living room, which has lots of turquoise accents.   So the little pops of color looks great!

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This is a Sponsored post written by me, on behalf of DecoArt.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint is available in Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, A.C. Moore and other stores. Visit the DecoArt Chalky Finish website for more chalk paint ideas and inspiration.

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