How to Antique a Frame

Written by linda stamberger
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How to Antique a Frame
A painted gold picture frame made to look antique. (ICHIRO/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Picture frames are made of materials such as wood, which can be distressed to give it an antique look. A picture frame that is antiqued can give a photo a vintage look; especially if the photo is in black and white. Any picture frame material can be made to look antique. Multiple frame sizes can be worked on as a set, or a single picture frame can be displayed as a decorative piece.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Old newspaper
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • Old fork
  • Crackle glaze
  • Stain
  • Medium-sized paint brushes
  • Old rag
  • Gold or silver spray paint

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  1. 1

    Take a painted wooden frame and place it on top of a flat table surface. Spread old newspaper around, and place the frame on top of the newspaper. Use 150 grit sandpaper to sand the surface of the frame in raised sections. If the frame is flat, sand in sections only, to give the frame a worn look.

  2. 2

    Use a small pointy utensil like an old fork, to make pits or indentations in the wood. Get creative and make a pattern, or just randomly jab at the frame in sections with the fork, or scrape. Make sure the fork does not break the frame if the frame is thin or small.

  3. 3

    Glaze a wood frame using crackle glaze. Follow the instructions on the bottle, and use a medium-sized paint brush to dab on the glaze. Crackle glaze will automatically give the appearance of cracked paint, and add a significant worn look. Repeat glazing if necessary for an even more worn effect.

  4. 4

    Stain a plain wooden frame with dark stain in sections only, to give the appearance of fading. Use a paint brush or an old rag with an abrasive surface texture, and wipe on the stain in sections. Apply one coat only, so that the stain looks even more faded.

  5. 5

    Spray paint a plastic or metal frame with eco-friendly spray paint. Use spray paint made for plastic, and spray paint made for metal. Spray in a well-ventilated area or outside. Use gold or silver spray paint, and spray on the entire frame. Spraying the entire surface of the frame will give an elegant antique look, not worn. Let it dry and apply a second coat, for a thicker gold or silver look.

  6. 6

    Spray on a coat of spray paint in sections, to give the frame an antique look of faded and worn paint. This is easily achieved by spraying over the surface of the frame quickly. Use one coat only, so that the spray paint does not dry thick and look new.

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