How to Create an Antique Frame

Updated February 21, 2017

Create an antique picture frame to set off your favourite print. An antique frame has an aged, worn quality to its finish. To copy this look, you can use an easy faux antique method. Use this method on a whole set of frames to create an antique picture wall display, or mount an antique frame on an easel as a focal point of your decor.

Cover your work table with plastic garbage bags.

Squirt a quarter-size amount of the light-coloured latex paint on a foam plate. Dab your paintbrush into the paint and paint the entire picture frame.

Apply a second coat of the light-coloured paint after the first coat has dried. Let the second coat dry completely.

Rub the white candle over a few areas of the picture frame. For a natural antique look, rub the candle over the areas in which a genuinely old frame would show wear. Do not rub the candle over the entire surface, only in a few places.

Squirt the darker latex paint on another foam plate. Paint the entire picture frame and allow the paint to dry completely.

Rub medium steel wool over the areas where you applied the candle wax. The secondary paint will come away with the wax, revealing the colour underneath. Do not rub the entire picture frame with the wool, and rub just hard enough to make the frame look worn.

Use fine steel wool to burnish the frame lightly without removing more paint.


Use natural tones of paint to get the best antique look. Metallic paints in such colours as silver and gold will also work well.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Wooden picture frame
  • 2-inch paintbrushes
  • Latex paint in two contrasting colours
  • Foam plates
  • White taper candle
  • Steel wool, medium and fine grade
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About the Author

As a former senior sales director with Mary Kay and the co-owner of a renovation company, Monica Patrick has firsthand knowledge of small business operations. Besides start ups, she has extensive skills in recruiting, selling, leadership, makeup artistry and skin care.