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.

When the frame and the scrapbook page were completely dry, I put the page inside the frame, and put the backing on it.

Next I added two gold flower rub-ons, one in the upper left-hand corner and another in the lower right-hand corner to balance things out. Then I added gold rub-on letters to spell out “Maggie” along the bottom.

For this project, I used FolkArt® Home Decor Chalk Paint 34158 Grotto for the frame, and Mod Podge decoupage to seal the scrapbook page.

Want to learn about more creative crafting projects? Check out 10 DIY Craft Projects.



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