vintage window turned picture frame

vintage window turned picture frame

5th June 2014

You guys know I have a bit of a problem with collecting – hence why I started renting things out for weddings + photoshoots (see that here). Makes the whole collecting thing somewhat legit. Right? Ha. I love the thrill of the hunt. Finding something old that is perfect on it’s own, or something that I can make over into something I love. This is the story of a vintage window turned picture frame.

Over the last year or two, I have amassed a number of old window frames. Mostly from people who have pulled them out of their houses, and some as curbside finds. It’s like vintage shopping gold for me. If you don’t have the time or desire to hunt them down though, you can always find some on Etsy. I searched only for a few minutes and came up with a bunch of gorgeous ones – a minty one, a whole mixed collection here, and a huge 20 pane one here. Oh the options! I have put them all into a folder within my favourites list.


I like to work at them one at a time to turn them into usable pieces.The theme of this year’s Etsy Craft Party on June 6th is to “Recapture: bringing new meaning to old photographs” – so I thought I would join in and tackle one of my frames.

The frame started out with mostly missing glass panes and lots of chipping white paint. First step was to break out the glass. I don’t have a perfect method for this – just tapping it with a hammer and cleaning up carefully.

I decided it would be nice to have space to hang photographs or other paper products (cards? notes? menus for a party? whatever!). I took some eye hooks and screwed them into the sides of the frame, and then just attached some strands of wire to each.



Once I did that though, I realized that the paint was really chipping pretty badly and that I should actually fix up the frame a little. Whoops. Should have done this pre-wiring to make it easier. Live and learn.

I sanded down the frame using a medium grit sandpaper – really trying to get into the nooks and crannies to get it smooth. A bunch of paint chipped off in the process, but I wasn’t bothered. Once I had it sanded and wiped down with a damp cloth, I decided to put a few coats of polyeurothane on top. This would help to seal everything in and ensure that I wouldn’t have flaking bits of paint coming off of the frame. It’s super simple – just apply the poly with a foam or natural bristle brush, and sand between coats. I put two coats on the frame for good measure, and let it dry for a few days outside.


Post-polyeurathane, it really doesn’t flake and chip. The end product has a really nice vintage vibe and can be used a number of ways.

We had our engagement photos that I loved – I have such nice memories of feeling all giddy that afternoon shooting those at Dan’s family farm – and I hadn’t ever done anything with them. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get some printed, and display them in my new window-turned-frame. I put a vintage filter on the photos to make them look more aged, playing with the vintage vibe of the window. I think the result is pretty sweet!

vintage window turned picture frame


I used little clothespins that I had picked up a while ago at Michael’s. A bit nicer than traditional clothespins that might have been a bit big for this frame. You can also find lots of similar ones (like these) and in all sorts of colours on Etsy. DSC_0246

My plan is to put some wire along the back to be able to hang it from the wall, but for now I just have it resting on a bookshelf (the lighting was bad – so I brought it out to my parents’ back deck to take these after pics). DSC_0257

Instead of photos, you could hang up postcards, small pieces of artwork, little notes, recipes (would be cute in a kitchen!), or use it at weddings and events for things like the seating chart or wedding photos of parents and grandparents. Lots of options!

Unfortunately I’m not able to attend any of the Etsy Craft Parties in person, but check out their site for more info on parties near you, or how to host one yourself. With the theme of reinventing photographs, there are so many ways you could go. Have fun!

*Disclaimer: Etsy sent me a $50 gift card to be used toward craft supplies for this, or other, projects, and some affiliate links were used within the post. But as always, any opinions about products or companies are all my own! 

  • Tara

    Love it, Gemma! This is such a great upcycle!

    • gemma

      Thanks Tara! Super easy project to do, too. Love that kind… :)