Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good Bones

I've had a love affair with old picture frames for decades. Wood, metal, gesso, Syroco, it's all good. They just need to be intricate or an odd size. Large and tiny, I've collected them all. As long as they have "good bones", the finish is irrelevant, 'cuz that's what paint's for. 

Very old Syroco Frame

Gesso and Wood Frame

Some of them have great enough architecture, that no embellishment is necessary. It would just be gilding the lily, or ruining the resale value. 

Gold frame painted 2 shades of Aqua, and rubbed in Gold

Gold frame painted in 3 shades of gray, and rubbed in black and silver
Frames I appreciate for their good bones, but choose to sell, get new paint finishes, and I almost always insert a vintage image in them, whether from an old magazine, book, or old wallpaper. Even better if I have an antique photograph. I think they sell faster, because some people aren't good at visualizing the potential, plus it just makes for a better image when marketing online. Empty is not a problem in an antiques booth though, since you can be more creative with them on the walls.

Gold frame painted in warmer gold, and rubbed with aqua

Old easel back covered in wallpaper, and easel sanded and painted
I got really ambitious one time, when the easelback of a frame was in really bad shape, I decided to apply vintage wallpaper to coordinate with the new paint treatment. It turned out great, but it was a lot of work......doesn't help that I'm a perfectionist.

Wood frame painted blue and moss, and lightly sanded
Worn backing re-finished with vintage wallpaper, and added turn pins
Much easier to add wallpaper without the easel, and it adds a lovely finishing touch for selling or gift-giving, even if the back won't be viewed much.  

If they house an undesired picture, I just use the pic for something else, or give it to Goodwill. I've been decorating with them for ages, even when my friends thought empty frames on a wall were strange. I especially love a grouping of diminutive ones on a tiny wall, like in a powder room, or one of those too small/useless walls. I've even hung them on my Christmas tree and wreathes. I've amassed this little grouping over the last year, and most of these are small-ish, being 8" or less. I think I've finally come up with some creative projects of how I will sell these in my Etsy shop. More to come on that.


  1. Maria! For some reason this is the first time I've been able to see your blog and now I'm going to be up all night getting caught up on your posts.

    Oddly enough, I once walked out of an estate sale with nothing more than an empty vintage cardboard stationery box was covered in the same vintage paper that you have in the 3 shades of gray frame. ;-)

  2. I'm always drawn to frames, too, and tell myself I really need to do something with them. You've done a beautiful job with these (and I love the idea of popping a vintage image in the frame). Ditto what Amy said - I have some catching-up to do!


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