Updating a Picture Frame with Chalk Paint

chalk paint picture frame

A short post today, but a post nonetheless. I wanted to show you all a quick, simple way to repurpose a picture frame to fit the look of any room. You probably guessed it, but yes, chalk paint is involved.

At our old studio apartment in Boston our design aesthetic skewed very modern (think clean lines and lots of black) because that's what fit the space. Moving up to Salem, we wanted to stay true to the historical, coastal vibe of the city. That left us with lots of furniture and decor that just didn't look right in our new home, but wasn't old or cheap enough to warrant throwing out or selling. So, chalk paint was our answer to the problem. Frames, lamps, furniture, you name it; it could all be painted over to match our look.

Here, I took one of our many black picture frames and used the Old Ochre color to give it a new look. The steps were really simple.

This is the frame without chalk paint.

This is the frame without chalk paint.

chalk paint picture frame diy
  • Remove the artwork, mat, and glass from the frame so you're just working with the frame itself.
  • Make sure to work on a cardboard surface to avoid a mess. Using a painter's brush, coat the entire frame in the paint color of your choosing. Wait 20 minutes and apply a second coat.
  • Once dry, work in small sections with a wax brush and add the dark wax. Rub off using an old t-shirt or cloth to create a distressed look. Tip: I like to have two wax brushes on hand- one for the dark wax and one for the clear, soft wax so I'm not constantly cleaning off the brushes. 
  • Finish by sealing with a coat of Annie Sloan soft wax. Apply one coat and rub off extra wax with an old cloth or cotton shirt.
old ochre annie sloan chalk paint

Easy. This project didn't take more than 30 minutes to complete and was much less expensive than going out and buying a new frame. Since chalk paint comes in 30+ colors and colors can be mixed together, you really can create the perfect match. You can also use the paint on the mat board as well. I'd suggest using a color featured in the painting to really make it pop. Here, I used one of my personal favorites- Duck Egg blue.

For those wondering, this coastal painting is a watercolor done by my late grandmother. She had hundreds of watercolor pieces she did throughout the years. I have many others waiting to be put into frames and hung throughout the house. She also did the oil painting hanging in our living room featured here. It's so nice to be able to honor her in this way.

The frame before the mat was painted.

The frame before the mat was painted.

With painted mat.

With painted mat.

So, if you have a piece of artwork you really like but it's not meshing with the frame it's in- don't be afraid to break out the paint! There's no sense in having a gorgeous print or painting in your house if it's not being showcased to its full potential. Happy painting!

water color seaside