5 tips for painting & decorating unfinished frames

Hello again… Jes here from Mommy Envy. Pinterest is full of cute printables inside cute frames. I love using these MDF frames with fancy edges because they are customizable and it’s easy to change out the picture. I love decorating with pictures of my family and since we have young kids I am constantly putting new pictures in.

5 Tips for Painting and Decorating unfinished frames. Tips for styling your favorite DIY frames.

First of all you can get these unfinished frames at most craft stores. I ordered a bunch from Cut it Out Frames and then let them sit in a drawer for almost a year! There’s no need to be afraid to paint these frames. It’s so easy!

There’s no sanding or priming required. The first set of frames I painted were for my youngest’s nursery. My mom made the cutest quilt for him and I wanted the frames to match the fun colors. Tip #1 is to use acrylic craft paint. You will need paint 2-3 coats but 1 bottle will cover 2-3 frames depending on the size. You can find craft paint in pretty much any color and you only have to buy a small tube.

5 Tips for Painting and Decorating unfinished frames. Tips for styling your favorite DIY frames.

I just took the blanket with me to the store and matched up the colors. You can see more of this nursery here. It took me a while to configure the gallery wall and with a toddler in the house the frames inevitably got scratched from leaning up against each other. Tip #2 would be to condition the frame with a furniture wax or conditioner. I use a wood polish by Howard Cleaning Products that I picked up at Home Depot. It smells like oranges! I’ve done this to a couple of frames and I love the light shine it gives them.

I love the distressed look of having two layers of paint colors. For my distressed frame below I painted the first layer a dark grey color, let it dry, then painted an antique white on top. You could sand the frame in the places you want the gray to show through but tip #3 is to use Vaseline to create a distressed look. I simply brushed it on with my finger in between colors. Once the top color dries you wipe off the Vaseline with a paper towel.

5 Tips for Painting and Decorating unfinished frames. Tips for styling your favorite DIY frames.

These frames come with a place to hang them vertical or horizontal but I also love placing them on shelves. The pictures below are in my bedroom. If you are going to place these frames on a shelve then tip #4 is to make sure the edges will allow you to to place them on the ledge without tilting. I have to straighten the frame on the right constantly because it comes to a higher point in the middle.

5 Tips for Painting and Decorating unfinished frames. Tips for styling your favorite DIY frames.

You can put pictures or printables in these frames. You can place them on a stand or lean them up against other frames. My last tip is another styling tip. Tip #5 is I love layering the decorative frames with other colors and styles of frames. I have this small frame leaning up against a larger chalkboard. The frame on the chalkboard I painted with chalk paint.

5 Tips for Painting and Decorating unfinished frames. Tips for styling your favorite DIY frames.

Bonus tip! I love using acrylic paint because it comes in small amounts. Chalk paint works well too but when making your own you have to make at least a cup. I will use chalk paint on frames when I have left over chalk paint from a furniture project (like the green frame above).

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  1. Kierste, those painted picture frames are absolutely adorable! I’ve been looking to find some for my paintings, but I haven’t had much like. Maybe I should just hire you to make them, ha! I’m not as handy as you seem to be, so I’ll likely just find them at a store when I have time. Or, I suppose, I could have my daughter make them. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Hi, Lily! There’s a great online store called Cut it Out, and they have a ton of these darling cutout frames to paint for you or your daughter! :) You could also check at stores like Home Goods and TJ Maxx–they might have some already finished. Are you a painter? That’s so cool!!! xoxoxo

  2. I really like how you used number three with these. Having the frames look a bit older with the spots that look like the paint is wearing out, looks really nice! If I was to paint my own decorative frames, I would love to make the frame look like the last frame with the worn look.

  3. I love the frames! They are truly lovely and are great as a decoration for every room! I was thinking for something like this for the room of the kids and I think that making these frames will be a lot of fun! I am sure that the kids would love to help with the painting! I love making all kinds of DIY decorations and every weekend I am crafting and painting something new so I would definitely like to do this! Thanks for sharing! Greets!

  4. I agree that you should use a furniture wax on frames. I think those help to minimize visibility of cracks. I also think they produce a shine that makes the frames more appealing.

  5. Giving frames a distressed look can make it look really good, in my opinion. When customizing frames, I would love to get them all with a nice sort of look like that. I haven’t heard of using Vaseline to do it though, I’ll have to give that a try.

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