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Make it Green: How to Repurpose Old Picture Frames

9/14/2010 3:50:58 PM

Tags: décor, design, picture frames, repurpose, art, wall art, budget, DIY, kirsten hudson, make it green

I’m no stranger to moving. As a recent college graduate, I’ve moved four times in five years. After the hassle of packing, hauling and lifting all of my stuff, the part of a move that I look forward to the most is decorating. But buying new décor can be expensive—and wasteful.

picture frame
Picture frames that are missing the glass can be easily repurposed into eco-friendly wall art. Photo By Robert in Toronto/Courtesy Flickr.

After my most recent move, I wanted to personalize my new place. My home was seriously lacking art, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to decorate the walls. So, I gathered unused picture frames from family members. The glass for the frames had been broken or the prints to fit the frames had long ago been lost. Instead of letting these frames go to waste, I repurposed them into interesting (and eco-friendly!) art for my new space. Before buying new décor for your walls, check out these do-it-yourself projects to revamp old picture frames into inexpensive wall art.

Hang it up. As is.

Who says you need glass? If you have a frame that’s missing the glass, hang it on the wall anyway. You might be surprised by how interesting it looks without the glass or a picture. Try hanging the frame in an entryway above a small table, like you would a mirror. This idea works especially well with larger frames.

A frame within a frame.

If the previous idea is too unconventional for you, do the same trick, but with something in the middle of the frame. One option is to hang a smaller picture inside the frame. Below is a photo of how I did this in my new home.

framing a frame
I used an empty ornate frame to go around a smaller picture of Grand Central Station that I already owned. This simple project created a piece of art large enough to go above my full-size bed. Photo By Kirsten Hudson 

Display jewelry.

Another option is to hang jewelry inside of an empty frame. Use cute thumbtacks or cup hooks to hold necklaces, bracelets and earrings. This idea would look especially adorable with a more ornate frame.

Use fabric.

Instead of purchasing new glass, use fabric to fill an empty frame. Buy an inexpensive remnant from a craft store or use extra fabric you already have. Stretch the fabric across the inside of the frame and secure it with a staple gun or with flat head thumbtacks.

Light switch art.

Hang a smaller-sized frame around a boring light switch to turn it into art! This trick is especially interesting, if you have a funky light switch plate.

Do you have any tricks for repurposing old picture frames? Tell me about them in the comments section.

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