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October 04, 2012

DIY Gilded Frames

I am not allowed to buy any more frames.  It is a self-enacted rule.  I have more frames than I'd ever need.  They are various styles and finishes... most of which I've grown tired.  Of course.  When looking for inspiration for decorating our house, I started flipping back through photos from our honeymoon in Italy.

I loved our hotel in Florence, Hotel Lungarno.  The decor was so lovely - comfortable, but elegant.  I love the white slipcovers on everything, the walnut antiques and the... gold gilded framed art.

So, I decided to take my collection and attempt to transform them into aged, gold frames.

The only room that has frames complete with 'artwork' (aka photos...) is our bedroom.

I love family photos in the bedroom - above the chair I have this photo of Emma that I took in the Boston Public Gardens.

Hello Sweet Girl : )

Then by our bed I have two photos that I call "Before & After." 

One at our wedding, our first married couple portrait, and one with Emma - our first family portrait. 

Here is a close up of the treatment of the frames.  I started by spray painting them gold, then brushed on wood stain tinted polyurethane.  After it dried, I rubbed it with steel wool to take the shine off and weather it in places.  I love the irregular and imperfect nature of this project - as we saw in Italy, the more rustic and battered, the better.

These were the paints I started with - I ended up using the Heirloom White on the frames in Emma's room and the Rust-Oleum Bright Reflective Finish Gold (the one all the way to the right) for the others.  The other paints had too much glitter and didn't look authentic.


To matching!

Here is the PolyShades I used - Mission Oak in Satin.

The frame on the left has just been sprayed, and the frame on the right has been sprayed, then brushed with the tinted poly and rubbed with steel wool.


  1. I'll definitely try this - I recently spray-painted a white Ikea frame gold, but have been unhappy with the flat/dull colour...adding the woodstain adds so much more character!

  2. This is perfect for inexpensive dollar store frames! I like a great find!

  3. This post is perfect timing. We just moved and all of my frames are in a box. I've noticed how mismatched (and out dated) they are. I love the idea of the gilding.

  4. I just did this with our living room gallery wall! I went through the same phase, and wanted all white and gold trimmings. It came out so pretty, but I didn't use that minwax, which I am now thinking I may have to use this weekend :) Thanks for the tips!

  5. Very nice and what a beautiful family.

  6. Anonymous8:45 AM

    This is genius!!!

  7. Great advice! Your family's perfect for the camera too!

  8. I'm not sure I see which frames you used the Heirloom White on... are there pictures of those? and are they just a white base with the brown stain rubbed on? The pictures seem to show gold frames only, but I would love to know how the white looks.

  9. Hi Jenny - where do you buy your frames? Just wondering if I should get different frames, or if you purchased all of the same kind of frame from a particular store? Thanks! - Heidi

  10. I randomly found your blog this morning through your living room rug. I've enjoyed looking through it at your beautiful home! I'm getting ready to do a gallery wall in our living room and this will be perfect for my frames.


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