Most picture frames come treated with varnish, but sometimes a painted surface on a picture frame looks better in a particular room. Deciding which type of frame looks best is a matter of individual taste. Varnished wood picture frames can be restyled to fit new decor schemes by painting them. Painting a wood picture frame requires preparation. Without proper preparation, paint will not stick to the frame's old surface.
Use a screwdriver to remove hardware from the back of the frame. This will let the frame be placed flat on the workspace and it will also release the glass and backing. Set the glass and backing aside.
Use sandpaper to roughen the surface of the frame. Remove as much of the old varnish or paint as you can. It does not have to be completely removed, but the paint will perform better if you can get rid of most of it.
Spread out the newspaper or tarp so it covers the work surface and place the frame on the work surface. You should be able to see the front of the frame--the part that will be painted.
Mix the paint with the stir stick to prepare it for use.
Use the brush to apply the paint in an even layer. Let the paint dry completely and then add another coat to the frame. Let the second coat dry completely before reassembling the frame.
Applying two even coats of paint to the frame will prevent you from having to buy primer for this task.