If you’re eager to make a change in your home, look to your picture frames. Whether you have an old frame that could use a little touch up or you’d like to customize a new picture frame to match your color palette, a fresh coat of paint is a small change that can have a big impact on your home décor.
Painting Wood Picture Frames
Painting a wooden picture frame is much like painting any other piece of wood furniture. You’ll need a few items:
- Wood picture frame
- Sandpaper (60 and 120 grit)
- Tack cloth
- Paint brushes
- Natural oil-based primer
- Natural oil-based paint
Before painting a wood frame, you need to prepare the surface. All wood picture frames from Frame Destination are finished, some of which are also painted; if you are purchasing a wood picture frame from Frame Destination specifically to paint in a specific color, opt for one that has a natural finish such as profile S30 or profile 501.
Remove all parts of the frame, such as the glazing, if still attached. Next, use the coarse sandpaper (60 grit) to remove the existing paint or finish; move to the finer sandpaper (120 grit) to smooth out any rough edges. Using sandpaper to remove the finish and smooth it out allows the paint to better adhere to the wood.
Using the tack cloth, wipe down the frame. Tack cloth is slightly sticky and will remove any dust and sandpaper particles that have settled on the frame.
Apply a coat of primer, which does exactly what its name suggests: it primes the frame to receive the next coat of paint, allowing for better adhesion and brighter colors. After you’ve primed the frame, you can begin to paint. There are numerous types of paint available, including acrylic, latex, alkyd (synthetic) oil paint and natural (e.g. linseed) oil paint. Natural oil paint works best on wood picture frames, as it dries slightly softer and can thus expand and contract with changing temperatures.
Oil-based paints take longer to dry than latex paints, so let the frame sit undisturbed for at least eight hours. Apply the next coat of paint after you are sure the paint has dried. You can also paint wooden frames in a shabby chic style, which requires just a few more materials.
You can also spray paint wood picture frames. Spray paints are commonly oil-based and will provide more even coverage — just be sure to spray paint in a well-ventilated area and protect the surface on which you are painting.
Painting Metal Picture Frames
Unlike wood, metal is a nonporous material, which makes it more difficult for paint to adhere; you will notice paint more readily flaking off of metal objects as opposed to wooden ones. The materials you need, however, are similar:
- Aluminum picture frame
- Grease-cutting dish detergent
- Wire brush
- Sandpaper (80 and 120 grit)
- Self-etching primer
- Spray paint
Preparation is key when painting a metal picture frame. First, clean the frame with a grease-cutting dish detergent to remove any oils and let dry completely.
Once it is dry, use 80-grit and later 120-grit sandpaper to lightly abrade the surface. If the surface seems to have oxidized or has an old coat of paint, make sure to first remove this with a wire brush. Once sanded, clean again with water and detergent; finally, let the frame air dry.
Painting bare aluminum (i.e. a metal frame that has not be anodized) may result in a longer-lasting paint job. With bare aluminum, you can simply use a self-etching primer, which uses chemicals to score the surface of the metal for better adhesion. Anodized aluminum, on the other hand, has a layer that prevents paint from adhering to the surface. You certainly try — using the same self-etching primer — but note that the paint may not stick well. Frame Destination metal picture frames that have not been anodized include, but are not limited to:
- Nielsen profile 117A
- Nielsen profile 127
- Nielsen profile 225
- Nielsen profile 24
- Nielsen profile 33
- Nielsen profile 37
Use spray paint on the metal picture frame, as this ensures an even finish. Let each coat dry completely in between coats.
Painting old picture frames or creating a custom color picture frame is a fun and easy do-it-yourself project — all it takes is a little prep work and paint.