Getting distressed picture frames is easy. Some paint and antiquing glaze make this a quick project to do in a single afternoon.
Years ago, my grandmother sold her house to my uncle and moved into an apartment. This meant paring down her things. She moved most of it into the building behind the house. The rest, she dispersed among her children and grandchildren.
Of the many things I received were these mirrors in wooden frames. They have intricate engravings, but a dark stain hid them. Here’s a photo of what they used to look like. (Note: I took this in 2012, before I had the photography thing figured out.)
I’ve had these frames since about 2010. I actually decided I was going to change them in 2012-2013. In that time, I’ve primed, painted, and primed again. I could not decide what to do with them.
Once I refinished my cabinet, I thought staining them in Weathered Oak would be pretty. But I didn’t want to have to save off all that paint, plus the stain underneath. And sanding around the engravings seemed difficult. So I was wandering around Lowe’s a few days ago and happened by some antiquing glaze. I’ve been wanting to antique my dining table (more on that at another time). I thought this would be the perfect way to test it. So I grabbed it and picked out a spray paint (Valspar Color Radiance in Riviera Dune. Finish doesn’t matter, but mine was flat.)
It took six years, but I’d finally settled on a “look.” And it only took a day to get done. It was messy, but so easy.
How to Get Distressed Picture Frames
- spray paint (Valspar Color Radiance Riviera Dune, found at Lowe’s)
- drop cloth
- antiquing glaze (I used Valspar, found at Lowe’s)
- lint-free cloths
Step 01: Clean the frames and then spray paint. Follow the instructions on the can.
Step 02: Now the fun begins! Dip your rag in the antiquing glaze. For a frame this detailed, I put a good amount on my rag and then shoved as much as I could into crevices first. Then I used the clean end of the rag to wipe the excess and spread the wax around. You can go back over areas you want to make darker. Just don’t scrub or you could ruin the wax you already put there. Let the front dry and then do the back. (Or do the back and then do the front. Either way.)
Voila! Distressed picture frames. You can add more coats depending on how dark you want it.
Isn’t the difference amazing?
Once the wax dries, you can put the piece back together and hang it up.
A few tips before starting:
- Be sure to test the paint and glaze on a spare piece of wood before committing. I just use wooden shims for paint.
- If you’ve never antiqued anything before, go with a lighter paint than you think you want.
- I recommend wearing gloves. Though wax is easier to remove from skin than stain.
I put these in my entryway.
Now I need to find something to cover up the breaker box they’re sitting next to…. Ugh.
I love these distressed picture frames, though. It brings out the age and uniqueness of the mirrors. And it takes WAY less work than stripping and restaining would have. I’ll be keeping this in mind for future projects.
So what do you think? Do you have any decorations that could use some antiquing?