If you can’t resist a good thrift store find, you’ll love these fun ways to upcycle picture frames. Grab a pile of thrift store frames – you can freshen them up with paint, or turn them into something else entirely.
Uses for thrift store frames – Creative ideas to inspire you!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got tons of old, mismatched picture frames scattered round your house. I just can’t resist buying a good frame when I spot one in a thrift store! And I’m notorious for swapping out our wall decor all the time.
I’ve found all sorts of random frames for super cheap over the years, but they usually need a bit of a makeover. They never match, and they rarely go with anything else in my house. But if there’s one thing I love, it’s a good excuse to get my craft on!
How to repurpose and upcycle picture frames
There are all sorts of ways to upcycle picture frames so they match the rest of your home’s decor. Whether you use paint, fabric, glue, or whatever else you have on hand, there’s sure to be a method that works for you. You’ll end up with stylish, upcycled picture frames that bring a bit of personality to your home.
1. Create a distressed farmhouse vibe
I used chalk paint to create these distressed wooden picture frames. It gives a shabby chic vibe that looks perfect in any farmhouse-style home.
Use a combination of rubbed wax and sandpaper to distress the paintwork as much as you’d like – either just a little, or a lot! You can also add different colored paint underneath the white, which peeks through the distressed areas. It’s a lovely effect.
Here’s the complete video tutorial:
2. Use mismatched frames to make a gallery wall
If your thrift store picture frames don’t match, don’t worry! Give them all a quick coat of paint so they’re a bit more cohesive, and the different shapes and patterns will be just the right amount of variety to create a really beautiful gallery wall.
I positioned my gallery wall along my staircase, as it’s a large, and otherwise unused, bit of wall. I love looking at my family photos every time I head upstairs!
3. Add a touch of elegance with gold leaf
These gilded picture frames from Atta Girl Says look stunning. They’re beautiful and elegant, and truly look like antiques – even though they’re made from cheap thrift store frames! Just add some gold leaf to really bring the old frames to life.
You can then use the frame for your family photos, or make a DIY tarnished mirror to put inside, in keeping with the antique feel of the frame.
4. Use a frame as a door wreath
I love this picture frame wreath from DIY Inspired. It’s made from a cheap plastic picture frame, upcycled with pretty ribbon and some fake flowers. I love having a wreath on my front door, as it makes me smile every time I get home – and it makes any visitors smile, too.
Best of all, this simple wreath is really easy to change up for the various holidays throughout the year. Just add a new coat of spray paint, and some themed flowers or other decorations, and it will be transformed for each season!
5. Layer up thrift store frames
If you don’t have the space for a full gallery wall, these layered frames from Country Design Style are a fun version that take up much less room!
First, paint various thrift store picture frames with a cohesive color scheme I love this version with different shades of gray and white…. such pretty neutrals! Then just glue them together to create a fun design.
As much as I love neutral colors, I’d also love to see a similar layered frame painted in bright colors for a kid’s bedroom!
6. Add a mirror instead of a picture
If you don’t need any more pictures on your walls, thrift store frames work really well for mirrors, too. This repurposed picture frame from Confessions of a Serial DIYer needed resizing and painting, but ended up making the perfect frame for an old mirror (which was also found at a thrift store!).
Finding new ways to use old things is a great way to save money, help the environment, and create beautiful, one-of-a-kind items for your home. And it’s fun too!
7. Create a personalized sign for your home
Fill an old frame with wooden planks (or paint sticks or wood shims), and you’ve got the perfect base for a sign to hang in your house.
This wooden sign from Christina Faye Repurposed simply says ‘hello’, but you could personalize it with any text or graphics you like. Perhaps there’s a word that really resonates with your family – or you could display your family name!
Whatever you choose to add, the bold white frame and wooden background make a really striking sign.
8. Frame 3D items!
If you really want to think outside the box, why not frame something 3-dimensional! These framed bottle vases from Thrifty & Chic are definitely unexpected, but they create a really eye-catching focal point to hang above your mantelpiece. Just hang a small glass bottle from the top of a frame with a piece of string, and add a single flower. So elegant!
And you don’t have to stop at framing vases. Framed 3-dimensional faux flowers or succulents would look really cool too!
9. Use an old frame to organize your life
Frames don’t need to be purely decorative. This magnetic organizational board from The House Of Smiths is a great way to keep your home free of scraps of paper, receipts, memos, and anything else that would otherwise be littering your worktops.
Just mount a metal grid inside an upcycled picture frame to create a magnetic surface that’s perfect for keeping everything tidy!
10. Frame your jewelry
This is such a gorgeous way to not only keep your jewelry neat and tidy, but to display it too. We buy jewelry because it’s beautiful, so why wouldn’t you want to look at it every day?
To make this framed jewelry storage from Monaluna, just screw some hooks into a piece of wood, and mount it inside a thrifted frame. Add a lick of paint, and you’ve got all the jewelry storage you need! I love the little wooden tray at the bottom, too, for smaller earrings or rings, which don’t need to take up a full hook.
11. Use picture frames to create extra storage space
If your home is lacking in storage space, or you need somewhere special to display your favorite knick-knacks, try using old picture frames! These DIY frame shelves from Shanty 2 Chic look great, and they’re super practical too. It’s a great way to use old thrift store picture frames, even if they’re mismatched.
Just add a little extra wood behind each frame to make a flat surface for storage, and paint the frames the same color to make a cohesive set.
12. Transform a frame into something else entirely
Some wooden frames are just too beautiful to hang on a wall. If you’ve found a frame with a great texture, which you want to be able to touch every day, using it to make a tray is a great idea. This DIY wooden tray from Anderson + Grant is a lovely way to use a wooden frame in a way that lets you appreciate it every single day.
Just add a wooden base to the frame (even better if you use reclaimed wood!), and you’ll have a stunning wooden tray. Not only is it something practical and truly useful, it’s also a great way to make the most of the beautiful pattern in the wood.
13. Use a frame to store your sunglasses
This framed sunglasses storage from Krystle Desantos is a simple craft that you can make in mere minutes! Just add strips of ribbon to your favorite thrifted frame, and you’ve immediately got the perfect place to hang your glasses.
If you use lace ribbon, you can also display your earrings, by threading them through the holes in the lace. Simple but genius!
14. Make useful bathroom storage
The bathroom is one of those rooms that just seems to collect clutter – various bottles and jars, washcloths, candles, and whatever other decorations you’ve collected over the years. I love this framed bathroom shelving unit from The Inspiration Board. It’s a great way to make your clutter look deliberate!
The little cubbyholes in this unit are perfect for storing all your bathroom bits and bobs in an attractive way, and the frame really takes the simple shelving unit up a notch.
15. Display Christmas cards in a fun way!
If you’re really into your seasonal decor, this picture frame Christmas tree from Organized Clutter will be just your thing! Just paint some thrifted frames in various sizes with green paint, and arrange them to make a simple Christmas tree.
You can then use the tree to display your favorite Christmas-themed family photos. Or, add some chicken wire to the frames, and use them to hang your Christmas cards!