Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spray Painting Picture Frames {a tutorial}

I have a huge wall of pictures that are all framed in wooden cherry frames


and since we’re recently added board and batten and repainted this room {again and again} the frames no longer go with the new look


{Napa style reds/mustards/browns meet fresh 2011 beachy look…NAH!}


{I tested a few black fames, too.}

So I have decided I need to paint the frames…and most likely they will be white.  But that’s another story for another day.

Before attacking these over-priced Restoration Hardware Gallery Frames with a can of spray paint, I figured I’d better practice on some less expensive frames first. {I only have one other spray paint experience…my mailbox!}

Enter: my son’s Ikea frames which are baby blue and don’t go with his new-found 7 year old style.


It was actually quite easy and I am confident in my abilities now to spray paint my photo wall frames! 

Here’s the how to:

Step 1:

Lightly sand your frames with 220 grit sand paper.  Don’t worry you sanding-haters, this is FAST! Just a few seconds per frame will do it. 


{No! That’s not my cell phone right next to me as I work…that’s a newspaper ad. I still have the ol’ flip phone and love it.}

Step 2:

Using a damp rag, clean off the sanding residue.


{Oh my word, are those age spots on my hands?}

Moving right along.

Step 3:

Lay your frames on something you don’t care about and make sure to do this outside…the fumes from spray paint are awfully toxic.  Also, best to do this on a perfectly calm day, no wind.


Unfortunately, I had one afternoon to complete this project while my son was away that I HAD to work under slightly breezy conditions…if that’s your situation, be sure to firmly secure your paper down so it doesn’t blow up over the wet paint.


Step 4:

Start a sprain’.


I used Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch Semi-gloss in black.


After 3 coats {4 in a few places} about 15 minutes apart, I was happy with the coverage.  I didn’t want any blue peeking through…not for these boy frames. Not when you see what is about to go in them!  And I find the semi-gloss a great finish for these frames.  It’s not super shiny at all, but has a nice sheen to it. Also, since these are not going to get much wear and tear {knock on wood, they are going in a 7 year old boy’s room} I don’t feel they need a clear coat on top. The sheen is perfect as is.

Step 5:

Dry the full 24 hours…just like a manicure, you’re bound to nick them if you break this rule.


Step 6:

Insert your photo and smile…now that was easy peasy!


I told you any blue peeking through wouldn’t work for this ‘lil project. 

But…when I paint my wall O frames to go above my board and batten, a little blue peeking through the white painted frames is gonna look so key-ute!

However, today it’s all about my darling son…he’s gonna love them!


And in retrospect, a few nicks here and there probably wouldn’t have hurt a thing!

linking up to this fun spray paint party!!

spray paint party


  1. mavis E. ButterfieldApril 13, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Wait, is he 7 already? How did I miss THAT?

  2. Thank you for such a fab. tutorial. I belong to our local camera club, we are in the process of framing our work to sell, to help raise funds. The info.has being invaluable. Thank you :-)

  3. wanted to learn how to spray paint a wooden frame and your description couldn't have been any better.

    Thanks for that :)

  4. Love the frames!
    Have you tried it with your restoration hardware frames?

  5. found this when searching how to paint frames to match. thank you for saying what paint you used. Makes a big difference when there are dozens to choose from!

  6. Thank you for the step by step tutorial with pictures. With your help I just refinishing antique frame for my baby nursery. :)


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