Six Awesome Paint Transformations for Ugly Old Frames and Mirrors

Paint Transformations for Ugly Old FramesIcky ugly old frames and mirrors are some of my favorite things to transform with paint. Not only are they cheap and easy to find at yard sales and thrift stores, but they can be painted quickly with stunning results.


I found several on our recent Route 301 Endless Yard Sale adventure in North Carolina and thought I would share their makeovers with you today.

Let’s start with this one.


I really liked all of the curly-ques, but the metal was flimsy and tarnished. I thought this would make a pretty tray to place on a dresser to hold jewelry—and I had the perfect piece of scrapbook paper to put behind the glass where a photograph would normally go.

I painted the frame with American Paint Company’s Born on the 4th (dark blue) and then drybrushed grey Smoke Signal over it.

shiptray_closeupFor more detailed instructions on how to drybrush old frames, please read my tutorial here.

When it was time to cut the scrapbook paper to fit, I ran into a slight problem. I never measured the design so my “Journal de Paris” became …

photo 3

Oops! Time for Plan B!

Luckily, I had another piece of scrapbook paper featuring vintage postcards. This design of a ship cruising the high seas fit the space in my frame perfectly—and best of all, the colors matched my frame so I didn’t have to re-paint it.

I pulled the picture hanger off the back so the frame would sit evenly on a table or dresser, then flipped the cardboard backing around so you wouldn’t see the holes where the hanger used to be.

I think this would make a great little tray to set on a table in your entryway to catch keys and spare change.


Transforming an old picture frame into a pretty tray is a quick and easy DIY project. Scrapbook paper, wrapping paper and old postcards make great backdrops. Just be sure to measure your design first!

I used the same technique on all of my frames featured here. I basecoated them one color, drybrushed a second color and finished by sealing them with American Paint Company’s Clear Wax mixed with Gold Mica for a little sparkle.

On this small mirror, I basecoated hot pink Bordello, then brushed a color called Cameo that is such a soft pink, it nearly looks white.


I chose these colors because I thought they went nicely together … and because I had just enough paint left in the bottom of both cans for a small project like a mirror.

TIP: Little mirrors and picture frames are the perfect projects to get every last drop out of your can of paint! I have even sprayed water into a can I thought was totally empty, scraped the paint down the sides, stirred it up and had enough to do a frame. Not one bit was wasted.

pinkmirrorI painted this frame a basecoat of Coral Reef followed by chocolatey brown Wild Horses. The Coral Reef looks bright orange by the light of my cell phone camera, but in person it is a softer coral color. I chose these colors to match a desk I am working on.


These matching mirrors were trays already and did not have those picture hanging thingees on the bottom. However, if you wanted to hang them on a wall, you could easily do so by sticking on a few Command Strips. I painted the frames with bright turquoise Shoreline with softer turquoise Surfboard on top. I chose these colors because I just really like turquoise! The bright, beachy color really updates these tired old trays.

turquoise mirror trays

turquoise mirror trays_closeup

Those are my treasures from our North Carolina trip. Here are a few frames and a mirror my mom painted recently.

peacock frames

This pretty teal color is Peacock from American Paint Company’s Ellis Collection finished with Clear Wax and Gold Mica. American Paint Company’s all-natural clay, chalk and mineral paints adhere nicely to wood, metal, even glass bottles like the ones on my mom’s mirror.

This bright blue color is called Shining Seas and is also finished with Gold Mica just on the details. Isn’t it pretty?

shining seas frame

So the next time you find an ugly, outdated picture frame or mirror, just imagine how pretty it will look painted a new color and—if the price is right—grab it!

Then share before and after pictures with us on our Facebook page so we can see what a nice job you did with it!

~ Courtney

Our Thursday Night Paint Parties will resume this week (July 3) from 7 to 9 pm. Two hours is plenty of time to paint a whole lot of frames (or a small project like a little table or chair). The cost is $35 and includes all paint and supplies you use during your time in our studio so you can experiment with multiple colors without investing in multiple cans of paint. Plus you can try out our micas. They come in gold, silver, pewter, copper and black and mix right into the wax to add a little bling-bling to your project like we did with our frames.
Kick off your holiday weekend with us! We always have a lot of fun.

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This post is linking up with these awesome parties. Check them out!

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One response to “Six Awesome Paint Transformations for Ugly Old Frames and Mirrors

  1. Pingback: Makeover Old Frames with Paint! - Power of Paint·

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