Monday, May 31, 2010

Distressing Goodwill Wooden Frames

If there's one thing Goodwill and the Salvation Army have a lot of it's photo frames.  Anything from a small wallet sized frame all the way up to poster size, they've normally got it.  I'm in our local Goodwill about once a week and I am always looking for unique or unusual, or vintage photo frames.  I never have a whole lot of luck.  Normally you just wind up with the cheap wooden versions you can buy at Wal-Mart or Dollar General for just a dollar or so over what Goodwill prices them at.

A few days ago however I got the idea to distress these new, cheap frames to give them some age and character.  Using some metal type setting blocks that we picked up at the Flea Market a year or so ago I just pounded some repeating letters and numbers into the edges of the frames.  Of course I removed the backing, image, and glass first.  Then using a small hammer I just used the printer blocks to create some great details.  The repeating of a single letter or number all the way around the face of the frame sets the tone.  A sharp, swift, but not too heavy pop of the hammer will leave a good image of the printer's block letter on your wooden frame.  Make sure they are wood.

After repeating the letter pattern all the way around the faces I went back and added letters to the sides of some of the wooden frames.  Once that was complete I used a clear furniture wax to cover the fresh black paint I had put on the frames,  you can skip the painting step by selecting frames that are already the color you want.  After letting the wax haze over I buffed it for a great, semi-shiny, vintage look.  The imagery I am using in the frames are from a vintage dry goods catalog circa 1920 or so from France.  I have several pages from the same catalog on sale as digital downloads in my Etsy shop.

Have a look and let me know what you think, also let me know if you decide to try this project.  I am here to answer any questions you may have about the process.  I might add some of these to my etsy shop, or even some of the metal letters for you to make your very own. 

I'm currently assisting Mrs. Hughes in setting up her first market booth.  She will be carrying several items upcycled by yours truly, including some awesome mini-journals covered in vintage Victorian calling cards.  Check out her blog for photos from her market booth coming at the end of this week.

More Soon, The Upcyler

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