Give Your Thrift Shop Frames a Glam Makeover: Anthropologie Lookalike Tutorial

I love shopping at my local thrift shops. You never know what you’re going to find. 

Adventures in Thrift Shopping

There was the time I discovered a beautiful ceramic plate that was made in Italy that was comparable to the Williams Sonoma Cabbage Oval Platter – but over 10 times cheaper. 

That was the same day I found these beautiful green bowls for $3.50, which were so similar to the Williams Sonoma Cabbage Serving Bowl. It was definitely a day that went down in secondhand shopping history for me. 

Buying Frames

Frames are a great thing to purchase at thrift stores. A few weeks ago I was able to score two wooden frames that were 15” x 15” for $2.50 each. I carefully checked the glass to ensure it wasn’t nicked or damaged in anyway. When finding frames at secondhand shops, you’ll also want to look at the back of the frames. If you’d like to hang the frame on the wall, is the hardware included to do so, or is there space for you to install hardware? If you’d like to display the frame on a table, does it have a little stand? 

I wanted to hang my frames on the wall, and the backing was just right for that – thick cardboard with a space to hang a hook. I also knew I wanted to paint the frames, and wood is a porous material that would easily absorb the paint.

TIP

You can also find affordable frames at yard sales.

The Inspiration

My apartment has lots of touches of gold and brass accents, so I knew I wanted to paint the frames gold. Anthropologie has many beautiful gilded frames in their home decor line, and I knew I wanted a similar look without the high price tag. Transforming these pre-loved frames from drab to fab was a quick DIY that took about 15 minutes. 

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Materials You’ll Need

GRAB YOUR SUPPLIES

  1. Your thrifted frames (wood is porous and a great base for painting)
  2. Scrap paper, drop cloth, or old sheets to protect your workspace
  3. Rub n’ Buff gold paint
  4. Microfiber cloth
  5. Sandpaper (optional)
  6. Mineral spirits (for clean up)
  7. Your artwork (download a free art print here)

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Lay down scrap paper or an old sheet on your workspace. I taped down craft paper to my floors.

Step 2: Remove the backing and the glass from your frame. We don’t want to get any paint on these.

Step 3: (Optional) If necessary, sand your wood frame, so it’s perfectly smooth and even. Be careful to discard any wood shavings. You may want to wipe the frame with a microfiber cloth before painting to make sure there are no tiny granules of wood stuck to the surface. My frames were smooth, so I didn’t have to do this step.

Step 4: Following the instructions on the Rub n’ Buff tube, squeeze some of the paint onto your frame. Use thin layers, and with your microfiber cloth, rub it into the frame in a circular motion. The more you buff it in, the shinier the paint will be. You can add as many coats as you like, but remember that a little goes a long way. If you get any paint where it shouldn’t be, you can always clean it off with the mineral spirits.

Step 5: Let dry, then display in your home and enjoy!  

TIP

You could also use these steps to refresh an inexpensive mirror and give it a new look. Be sure to first apply painter’s tape to the inside edge, where the frame meets the mirror, so you don’t get any paint on the reflective surface. Take an outdated mirror and turn it into the French gold mirror of your dreams! 

I hope you enjoyed this simple DIY tutorial to take a simple, affordable frame from your local secondhand shop and transform it into a glam, gilded frame that looks like it came straight out of an interior design magazine. 

Did you try this diy?

I would love to see or hear about what you created. Comment below or email me a photo at [email protected] so I can see your creations!

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