Always Buy Thrift Store Frames

If you’ve ever shopped for a picture frame in a typical department store you’ve probably been as shocked as I have. $30 for an 8×10? $75+ for a nice collage frame? No thank you. At your local Goodwill you can find picture frames for $1. Maybe $3. Framed art can be around $7-15 depending on the size. If you can look past the often dated art and condition of the frames, you can start to see potential. A little paint makes a huge difference.

I like to take things a step further. A framed art print or empty picture frame can be turned into a unique chalkboard (I’ve got 4 in my house right now) with the help of some chalkboard spray paint.

This is my favorite $7 mirror turned huge chalkboard. Right now it’s mostly artistic, but eventually I plan to use it as a part of a family command center 

Here are just a few of my recent frame-based projects:

I got this pair of vintage metal round frames for a grand total of $4. My sister’s new home needed some wall decor and she has a colorful, eclectic style so I painted them blue and framed some colorful scrapbook paper.


This 8×10 ornate frame was only $3. I used Americana Decor “Relic” chalk paint for the base coat, and Folk Art “Sheepskin” for the top coat. I made sure to only use the tip of my brush for the top coat to make sure the darker base coat showed in the crevices. A little sandpaper helped the gold shine through just a bit. I framed a piece of chalkboard scrapbook paper to create an Etsy listing for this one.


This plastic frame used to be gold and held a dated picture of a swan. I removed everything and wrapped twine around the screws that had held the backing in place. Add a few mini clothespins and this turquoise painted and distressed frame makes a great “country chic” note/photo holder. I gave this one as a gift for Christmas.



While brainstorming a gift idea for TwinDad’s niece, I came across this large wooden frame. The print inside detracted majorly from the potential of this frame. She was re-decorating her room, so a unique piece of wall decor was in order. After pitching that awful print and removing the backing (this frame had no glass in it), I painted the frame bright turquoise. Then I attached polka dot ribbon bows, paper flowers, and a burlap banner on which I stenciled her name. Not a bad transformation for a $7 frame.


Of course I’ve also scored some other pretty frames that I’ve used just as frames (my boys’ bedroom quote wall is made up of all thrifted frames). My most recent find was an already painted GORGEOUS and ornately detailed 16×20 frame that now holds my favorite wedding picture. What are some ways you’ve used thrifted frames?




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