Ideas for Painting Wooden Picture Frames

Tami Mason

Decorative picture frames can be substantially higher in price than a basic, wooden picture frame. Painting your own wooden frame with decorative paint effects is a cost-efficient way of livening up both the frame and the room it is situated in.

Painting a wooden picture frame will brighten the whole room.

This is an especially good technique if you live in a rented property, where there may be restrictions on painting the walls or changing the floor coverings. There are lots of different paint effect techniques to use.

Antique/Distressed Effect

Antiquing is the process of aging a surface to create a time-worn appearance. If a modern or new looking picture frame would appear out of place in a room with older furniture and decor, antiquing is a handy but affordable technique. This effect is created by sporadically rubbing beeswax over the frame, especially around the edges and corners--all the places where an older antique picture frame may have taken small amounts of damage over the years. Once the frame is painted, this top coat will not sit on top of the areas that have been bees-waxed and this is what creates the antique effect.

Marbling Effect

To create a marble effect, layers of veins and marbling are applied over a light color base coat. After painting the wooden frame with a light base coat and allowing to dry, an oil-based paint is applied in a slightly darker grey color. While this coat is still damp, a sponge creates a marble effect. The random veins that appear naturally in marble are painted on by hand. Finally, a natural sponge softens and lifts areas on the frame and a clear gloss varnish achieves that real marble effect.

Stippling Effect

Stippling is created by dabbing wet paint with a stippling brush. (A very stiff bristled brush.) Unlike antiquing or marbling, this effect is not a reproduction of another material, but is a way of adding texture and interest to the picture frame. Although this is a really quick and easy effect, it is also very messy. One or two base coats of a chosen color are painted onto the frame, followed by a topcoat in a slightly different color or shade. While this coat is still wet, the stipple brush is dabbed into the paint all over the frame, creating the stipple effect.

Rag-Rolling Effect

Rag-rolling gives an effect similar to that of crushed velvet. After painting the frame in the color of choice there are three different ways to achieve this effect: dabbing a paint-saturated rag over the frame, rolling a paint-saturated rag across the frame, or rolling a dry rag across the wet paint on the frame. Depending on the colors used, the finished piece can create different effects. For example, if blues and whites are used, the finished effect could appear like a cloudy blue sky. If oranges and reds are used, the finished effect could appear like flames.