Skip to Content

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 – Modern Picture Frame

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 than an hour!

Picture frame Upcycle
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Written by Charlie Miller for Upcycle My Stuff

how to upcycle a modern picture frame mount

How to Upcycle a Modern Picture Frame & Mount

Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Update an old fashioned picture frame using paint and card.


  • Acrylic paint in white (optional)
  • Acrylic paint in your desired colour
  • Clear gloss/glaze
  • Sheet of card stock large enough to cut your mount out of to match the size of the existing mount 


  • Small paint brush
  • Exacto knife


  1. Create a new mount from the white card using the old mount as a size guide
  2. Test out different craft paints on your frame if needed.
  3. Paint the frame with your chosen paint, doing an undercoat if it is dark to begin with.
  4. Apply a layer of gloss if desired.

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Upcycling A to Z - Upcycle My Stuff

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

[…] Somehow we all end up with a plethora of picture frames, some gorgeous, some plain and some down right dated. A little spray paint makeover can work wonders to harmonise the look of your picture frames. But what about when it isn’t just the frame that needs updating? We have a short and sweet how to guide from our resident contributor Charlie Miller all about how to update a modern picture frame and mount to match your decor. You can find it here. […]

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Instructions