Refinishing A Thrifted Frame

I saw this gigantic 3x4 frame at the Goodwill two weeks ago.  For forty five dollars it wasn't a cheap thrill by any means.  I thought about it for a week.  I thought about all the things I could use it for... Then I thought about the person who had probably bought it and what THEY might be using it for...

So when I found myself back at the thrift store the next week (imagine that) with it still there, laying against the wall amongst the other frames, I knew it had to be mine.  Of course I was too excited to work on it to remember to take a proper 'before' picture for you.  It had a linen mat over a metallic gold mat over a Monet poster.  The frame itself looked like unfinished pine.  "Ooh, easy!" I thought...

So I laid it on top of two 5 gallon buckets half full of paint I no longer need (anyone? anyone?), and sanded a bit with 150 grit.  The frame had a lot of nicks that I liked so I wasn't looking for a smooth finish.  150 is pretty rough, so if you're thinking of attempting something similar, and want an even finish, I'd start with 150 to remove the old varnish and then move on to 250.


I was feeling the angst of project overload and the need to "getterdone" so I decided to just go for it.  After minimal sanding, I started staining with Miniwax Ebony (oil based).  This frame has so many nooks and crannies so it really needed a proper sanding but my heart was just not in it.

The stain puddled up in spots and soaked in in others.  I left it to dry for a couple hours to find the puddles still fresh.  Fresh meaning that the stain was not going to soak in....ever.


Time for some paint thinner...

I took off as much of the stain as I could.  It remained dark in the crevices and other areas where sanding had met raw wood.

If I was using my best judgement, I would have let the whole thing dry and then spray painted it (also oil based) on a warm day.  But the forecast said snow for the whole week so no... I decided to add acrylic paint to the mix!

I thought to myself, "Self, this is going to be one goopy mess that is going to be a $45 addition to the trash can."  But I still didn't listen.

It looked like the acrylic black house paint was going to pool up too, but it dried in about an hour.  I liked the glaze look from two coats of paint and lucky enough to still be in the game I decided to quite while I was ahead.

painting photo picture mat

I painted the gold mat with two coats of black acrylic paint.

Working on top of an old sheet on the floor of my bedroom, I put the glass and mats back in place.  Working with a piece of glass this size is daunting people.  Ten cuidado!

I decided to give my nakey lady a new home.  She was tired of the plexi glass plastic frame I bought for her in college and was ready for a more professional look.

I pulled her off of her poster board mat and glued her right onto the cardboard backing of the frame.  She is much happier.