Photo Frame Makeover

Cheap photo frames repurposed into bright and cheerful creations make perfect office desk accessories.

| Fall 2015

  • It’s simple to transform a plastic frame that looks cheap into a work of art with a little chalk paint and rub-ons.
    Photo by Linda Smith

Searching the basement for something simple I could paint, I found a cheap-looking black plastic photo frame that was missing the glass. I figured I’d give it a coat of chalk paint and see what happened. I liked how it turned out, so I designed a scrapbook layout to go inside it. It seemed like it was missing something, and I didn’t have any stencils small enough to add a chalk-painted design to the frame, so I added some rub-ons instead, to give it some flair.


If your frame has glass and/or backing, go ahead and remove it. Next, use a rag and glass cleaner to clean the frame, and then set it aside to dry for a few minutes.

Using a foam brush, give the frame a coat of chalk paint, and let it dry.

As mine dried, I noticed it looked a little streaky, with some of the black plastic showing through. At first I didn’t like it, but when it was completely dry, I decided the streaks gave it some character, so I stopped with one coat of paint. You can certainly add a second coat, though, if desired. If you do, be sure to allow at least two hours of drying time between coats.

While the frame was drying, I found some colorful patterned scrapbook paper and a photograph of my dog, Maggie. She always loved — and most of the time demanded — being the center of attention, so I thought I’d keep the design simple, and give her the spotlight. I glued the photo onto a piece of orange cardstock, which I cut just a little larger than the photo. Then I centered the whole thing on the patterned scrapbook paper, and glued it down. Next I added two coats of decoupage to the whole thing, since the frame didn’t have glass. If your frame has glass, decoupage is not necessary.

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