How to Upcycle a Modern Picture Frame & Mount

This Guide was written by Charlie Miller for Upcycle My Stuff.

This is a painting that hung in my Grandmother’s house.  It was professionally framed and matted many years ago probably in the 1980s or 90s judging from the style. I like the painting and want. to hang it up as a memento of my Grandmother but I’m not a fan of the gold frame and brown mount/matting.

Old picture frame Upcycle
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

There is nothing wrong with the frame or mount except that it matched Grandma’s home decor not my own.  All my other paintings have silver frames with a white mount/matting. This guide describes how I upcycled this one to match.

Materials Needed:

Step 1: Create a new mount

I chose to create a new mount rather than buy one ready made as my painting wasn’t a standard size. I could have bought one made to measure but that would have been quite a bit more expensive.

The first step is to remove the picture and mount/matte from the existing frame and use the old matte to create the new one.

Place the original mount/matte on a piece of card stock in your desired colour – I went for classic white.

Using an exacto knife cut your new matte (the card) to the same dimensions as the old one. A large ruler may be helpful to keep your cut line straight.

I originally tried painting the old matte white…I don’t recommend this method as it looks messy and the matte paper got very warped.

Step 2: Paint Test

paint test on modern picture frame
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Step two is to do a paint test on the back of your frame. 

On the left I tried a test patch of only silver. On the right I tried a coat of white paint under the silver.  This way I knew that I needed a white coat to cover the gold colour of the frame before painting it silver.

Step 3: Paint

Modern Picture frame Upcycle
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Step three is to start painting! Acrylic craft paint dries very quickly so this is a super quick project. I took the frame apart to make it easier to paint. I did two layers of white paint and two of silver. The picture above is the frame after one silver coat. I didn’t bother painting the inner lip of the frame (as you can see from the photos it’s still gold), as it won’t be visible when I put the frame back together and I know the glass picture and mount fit well in it as it is so I didn’t want to add a layer of paint and mess with the way the picture sits in the frame.

Step 4: Layer of Gloss

Upcycle a modern frame
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

After applying all the paint coats and letting it dry, I applied a layer of gloss to protect the paint.  Acrylic craft paint can chip very easily so this coat is needed. 

Picture Frame Upcycle Project
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I used triple thick gloss however I found it too thick so next time I would use regular craft project gloss. The gloss also dries super fast.

Here is the finished piece!  This upcycle took less then an hour!

Picture frame Upcycle
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Written by Charlie Miller for Upcycle My Stuff

Looking for more upcycling inspiration for modernising your decor? Try our list of Pink Me Ups – Upcycling Ideas to Add a Pop of Pink to Your Life

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