How to paint over picture frame wood paneling

Updated February 21, 2017

Wooden picture frames or wooden panelling that frames pictures or windows are often a focal point of a room. Restoring these wooden frames by refinishing them and painting them in a new colour can add vibrancy to an otherwise drab or outdated living space decor With the correct preparation of the wood surface and painting techniques, you can paint wood picture frames and wood panelling, and update the look of your room.

Take the frames off of the wall and remove any hardware, such as a glass covering or artwork inside of the frames. You may need to unhinge or unscrew the frame in order to remove hardware. If you are painting a wood frame, apply painter's tape to the outside borders of the frame so that you won't get paint on anything other than the frame.

Remove any old coats of paint or lacquer on your frames or panelling by sanding the entire surface of the wood with a 50-grit sandpaper. Avoid using anything coarser, which could damage or reshape the wood. If you want to refinish a large area of wood panelling, then you may need to sand once with the 50-grit sand paper and then go over the panelling again a few additional times with an 80- or 120-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

Prime the wood with a good quality sealing primer. Apply the primer with a paintbrush. When the first coat dries, apply a second coat of primer and allow it to dry before painting.

Paint the wood with either an oil-based or latex-based paint. An oil-based paint appears more flat, whereas the paint strokes of a latex paint are more visible. The choice between paints is an aesthetic one and completely up to you, based on the look of your room. Paint using long, vertical and even strokes. Wait for the first coat to dry before applying a second coat.

Reassemble and hang the frames once they are dry. Remove any painter's tape that you stuck around the border of your wooden frames.

Things You'll Need

  • Painter's tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper (50, 80 and 120 grit)
  • Sealing primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Oil or Latex-based paint
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About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.