Picture frames can be used to create a lot of types of wall art and home décor. One of my favorites is a twine or cording scrapbook with hanging photos, journaling, and embellishments. This step by step article shows you how to distress a new picture frame and then turn it into a base for a piece of scrapbook wall art. When you finish making the frame, continue to the article Decorating the Picture Frame with Hand-made Embellishments to see ideas for turning it into a personalized piece of home décor. You can click on any of the photos to see them full-size in more detail.
1. Supplies Needed to Begin
To get started you will need a picture frame and a few basic supplies. The frame shown here is a 16x20 inch bare frame from Michaels Arts and Crafts Store. I also gathered 2 dark colors of paint and some white paint with paint brushes. To rough up the frame, you will need a piece of sand paper - medium grit. To hang items inside the frame, you will need 6 eye hooks, an awl or drill with a thin bit, a ruler, and a pencil.
2. First Layer of Paint
Since I started with a bare frame, I wanted to layer paint on it for future distressing. To get started, I painted on a thin layer of bright blue paint.
3. Second Layer of Paint
The next layer of paint is a forest green that I used to only cover about one half of the frame's surface, trying to place it in random areas.
4. First Layer of White Paint
The next of four total layers of paint is a layer of white paint. I just used white paint that I had around the house. It was actually an exterior satin, bright white house paint. The green and blue paints still showed through this first layer of white. I allowed it to dry completely before adding one more layer in the next step.
5. Second Layer of White Paint
The first layer of white paint was dry in less than an hour and then I was able to add the last layer of paint. This last layer pretty much covered the earlier layers of color and made the frame a solid white. If there are a couple of little places where the colors still show through, just let it go and it will blend in after you do the sanding in the next step.
6. Sanding the Finish
Let the layers of paint dry over-night or for at least 8-10 hours. When it is completely dry, you can sand the edges.
7. Measuring and Marking
The next step is to measure and mark where you will add the eye hook for tying on the twine. The frame shown here is 20 inches tall by 16 inches wide. I decided to place the first eye hook 1 1/2 inches from the top. I divided the remaining 18 1/2 inches into three sections, meaning the I marked the next places for the eye hooks approximately every six inches or at 7 1/2 inches and at 13 1/2 inches.
8. Pre-Drilling the Holes
The eye hooks are much, much easier to screw in if you pre-drill the hole first. Instead of getting out my electric drill, for this project I simply used an awl to press holes into the soft pine wood of the frame. You could also use a small screw driver or a hammer and a nail to make shallow holes that are just slightly more narrow than the srews on the eye hooks.
9. Adding the Eye Hooks
Screw in an eye hook at each marked hole on the back of the frame. You can use your awl or small screw driver to place through the hole in the eye hook to help turn it as you are screwing it in as needed.
10. Tying the Twine
Next, tie cording, twine, or string through the top left eye hook. Stretch the twine across the frame and cut off the twine leaving approximately 3-4 inches of extra twine. Feed the end through the eye hook on that side and tie it tightly. You want the twine to be fairly tightly strung but do not be overly worried about keeping the twine super tight as you tie it.
11. The Finished Frame
Be sure to read Decorating the Picture Frame with Hand Made Embellishments to see ideas for turning it into a personalized piece of home décor. You can also make scrapbook home decor from pieces of wood. In the article Scrapbooking Home Décor and Gifts - Scrapbook Pages on Wood Blocks, Jennifer Schmidt shows us how to turn an ordinary piece of lumber into a work of personalized art. You can also create scrapbook home decorations by transfering images onto tiles, plates, wood, and more. Visit the Scrapbook Page and Photo Transfer Gallery to see examples of this technique.