Picture frame makeover

Update that tired frame

Painting an old frame is by no stretch of the imagination a new or exciting DIY trick. Interior designers and crafters in magazines and in those home renovation shows on t.v are always slapping on a few layers of paint to ‘update’ an old frame.

Yet, I’d never felt compelled to do it myself. I was convinced it wouldn’t turn out as well.

But buying a new frame is expensive. Especially if you want something that’s good quality and looks great. So I finally yielded and decided to give it a go.


Frame before

I have this frame that’s been sitting in my garage for a while, waiting for a new life. It’s a nice frame, but needed updating.

I finally got round to buying some spray paint, my husband insisted that it be a high gloss black – he thought it would update the frame and make it look more modern.

When you are choosing your paint, make sure you use a spray paint that is appropriate for what you’re painting. For instance, the one I used can be applied to wood, plastic, concrete, metal etc. This was perfect because the frame was made of wood and the gold gilded part is plastic molding.

I removed the picture from the frame and roughly sanded the back of the frame by hand. The masking tape was so old and degraded it almost chipped off.

Frame being sanded

Then, after dusting the frame with a cloth I put down a drop cloth and began spraying.

I didn’t bother priming the surface first, since this was just going to sit on the wall and was unlikely to get bashed around much causing the paint to chip off.

Spray painting the frame

It’s important that you do several light coats, building it up, rather than one heavy coat as droplets can form on the surface (learned this the hard way). You can actually see some of the droplets forming on the frame in the photo above.

Just be sure to wait for about 15-30 minutes after each application to do the next layer, it should be dry to the touch, but it’s okay if it’s a bit tacky

Loki helping with the frame

Loki was an invaluable assistant, lying right under the frame. Good thing he’s black!

Once the frame was completely dry I flipped over the old picture and re-mounted a new one. I had left the small nails in along the back of the frame, these held the back in place, so it was just a matter of pressing them back down and re-masking over the back.

Using the high gloss spray paint gave it a really sleek, modern look, but the older baroque-style decorative elements still show through. It’s a really great balance.

And this is the finished product.

Chevron fabric in finished frame

Pretty great huh?

PIcture frame makeover detail

I made the black and white chevron print in the frame myself using masking tape and black spray paint. I will be covering it in a follow up post so stay tuned…

Leah The Crafty Rabbit



DIY White Paint Dipped Wicker Basket

Hi all!

The Crafty Rabbit has been quiet on the blogging front lately ~ I can blame the latest addition to our family in the form of a screaming, squirming, adorable bundle of joy. As many of you know newborns are, well, time consuming, so there hasn’t been a lot of DIY or crafting going on in the last month and a half.

I kinda anticipated this would happen so in the late stages of my pregnancy I wrote this post about creating a Paint Dipped Wicker Basket

Finished basket collage

Remember these wicker baskets from Inorganic Rubbish Collection post?

I’d used one as a planter, the other ended up in our garage being used for everything and anything.

Wicker baskets

But I am having a bit of a storage issue at the moment.

With our first baby on the way either me or my husband was going to have to give up one of our spare rooms – he has a computer room and I had a craft room. It made more sense to use the bigger room as the nursery and I happened to have the larger room, so goodbye craft room…

This prompted a monumental clean out and downsize. Most of my stuff has been relegated to the garage, some of it ended up in this corner of the dining room.

My craft corner before

As you can see there is zero storage and my coffee sacks have been stacked precariously on top of a stool.

I decided I needed a basket to store them in hence dusting off my old salvaged treasure.

I really love the paint-dipped effect which is in vogue right now and thought this was a great opportunity to give it a go.

I dusted off the basket and then used masking tape to create a nice clean line around the base where I wanted the edge of the white paint to finish.

Basket with masking tape

I used an acrylic base coat for the first layer and applied it with a paint brush. I had considered just painting it with regular acrylic paint, but wasn’t sure it was going to give me the coverage I wanted and I didn’t want to actually ‘dip’ it in the paint as I would have needed a LOT of paint.

As you can see the base coat was quite patchy which confirmed to me that finishing it off with a few layers of acrylic paint with a paint brush wasn’t really going to do the trick. I didn’t want it to look blotchy.

Primer paint collage_reduced_size

So, once the base coat was touch dry I wrapped a layer of packing tape around the masking tape and did a thin layer of white spray paint over top.

Spray painting basket

This had a much better effect and filled in all the small creases and crevices with paint. I did about three thin applications using the spray paint.

I was really pleased with how clean the line was, apart from one small area where it smudged (nothing a rag and a bit of nail polish remover couldn’t fix).

This was so easy and fast! Give it a go and let me know how it turned out ~ maybe you used acrylic paint you applied with a paint brush and it turned out fab (which would suggest that my painting technique is something to be desired).

As usual, Loki was assisting me the whole way through this project. There are some delightful dog hairs permanently spray painted onto the basket now. Thanks Loki.

Finished basket collage

I’d really like to see a white-washed version of this if anyone has done it…

Leah The Crafty Rabbit

How to Display Antique Locks and Keys

DIY Antique lock and key display cabinet

Got antique locks and keys and don’t know what to do with them?

Lock and Key Cabinet Collage with watermark

We collect antique locks and keys whenever we travel overseas.

They’re great because they’re a perfect excuse to stop off at every antique/junk store.

Also, they are nice and small (usually) which makes packing them easy when space is at a premium in your luggage.

But how to display them?

I wanted to remember each and every one and which country they came from – I didn’t want to throw them in a jumbled mess on a shelf or in a bowl.

I’d bought two of these old windows off Trademe for $2.50, so I decided to convert them into display cabinets.

Window frame before

I considered re-painting them, but loved the old shabby-chic peeling paint.

Close up of shabby frame

Using some old MDF wood we had, I cut two backs for the cabinet.

Then I painted them with some white paint we had stored in the garage.

Next, I arranged where I wanted my locks and keys to go.

Locks on backboard

I marked with little crosses where I wanted to insert my hooks

Close up of key

With a pencil I drew a light line where I wanted to the names for each country, placed the letters on and transferred them

Transfer sticks2

Transfer stickers3

I used these transferable stickers because I wanted quite a polished look, but ordinary stickers would have been fine.

Transfer stickers1

Then drilled pilot holes in each and screwed in the hooks

Screwing in hooks

With all the locks and keys in place on their hooks I carefully drilled pilot holes through the back board and window frames and then inserted the screws.

Antique locks and keys in display cabinet with watermark

If you’ve come up with some nifty way to display locks and keys then I would love to hear about it. Believe it or not but I still have more locks and keys I want to put on show but am not sure I want an entire wall of display cabinets…

Thanks and hope you enjoyed the post!


Paper, paper everywhere..

Paper reuse ideas

Got too much paper currency? (and not the good kind).  You know what I mean, those folders filled with bits and pieces torn from magazines, calendar’s, or those old postcards and maps you bought from that antique fair seven years ago.

My shelves are bursting with those things I just couldn’t throw in the trash.  Now they’re threatening to cascade into an avalanche of crafty proportions!  Some of them date back to when I was in high school.  Yikes.  Has it really been that long?

Well, fear not, I’m here to help you with your papery problems…

Wall mounted art

Colour plates from retro Edmonds Cookbook

Colour plates from retro Edmonds Cookbook

Craft projects don’t have to be extravagant, requiring newly purchased products.  I needed four things to make this wall art (above).  The colour plates, wood and hooks had been lying around my house for a while.  The P.V.A glue I had to buy, but boy, is it the gift that keeps on giving.  I use it all the time and not just for craft projects.

This required:

  1. An image
  2. Old wood
  3. P.V.A glue
  4. Picture hooks

To follow on from my last post I thought I would step you through how I made this.  It was really easy (aside from my jig sawing skills going awry – see previous Wabi-Sabi post). All I did was:

  • Trimmed colour plates so they were even
  • Found some old pieces of particle board destined for the rubbish heap
  • Drew outline of plates and cut with jig saw
  • Covered wood with P.V.A and pasted the colour plates
If you're into crafts, this PVA is a solid investment

If you’re into crafts, this PVA is a solid investment

  • After it’s dried use P.V.A as a sealer and cover the image, it dries clear so it’s good to use if you don’t have a glaze
  • Once dried, drill pilot holes in the back and attach hooks and voila!  Finished.
A few hooks fitted to the back of the particle board

A few hooks fitted to the back of the particle board

Some other ideas…

Here are a few other ideas on mounting images on wood.  You’re limited only by your imagination!

  • Sheet music
  • Old black and white or sepia postcards
  • Use the pages from an old dictionary
  • Antique maps/atlases
  • Get a retro vibe by using colour plates from 1960’s 1970’s encyclopedia’s

Do you have any tips or suggestions, success stories or failures?  Maybe you too have an avalanche of paper you would like to confess.

Don’t be shy…

How to transfer an image onto wood

Mod Podge Transfer Method

So how does one go about transferring an image onto wood?  This was my second attempt and it was very successful.


Since I’m so obsessed with trying to do things on the cheap (aka the hard way) I spent quite a bit of time researching transfer methods for wood and found this fab-u-lous post by Matsutake http://matsutakeblog.blogspot.co.nz/2009/10/how-to-transfer-inkjet-images-to-wood.html

But I should also give credit to The Graphics Fairy for the best and most comprehensive list of transfer methods.  Oh and also the image of the bird cage was from The Graphics Fairy  http://www.graphicsfairy-diy.com/2012/01/12-easy-image-transfer-methods-for-diy.htm

So here’s a quick how to:

  1. Prepare the wood – I had to buy the wood from Mitre 10 Mega because we didn’t have any decent wood lying around the house. No sanding was required either it was basically ready to go. I cut the wood to shape with a jigsaw, measured and marked two holes at the top then used the largest insert on our drill to do the holes (approx 2cm in diameter)
  2. The next step is important – you need paper slightly thicker than your average A4 printing paper.  The first one of these I did, did not turn out right.  I’m pretty sure it was because the paper was too thin.  Lesson learned.  Brush your paper with PVA glue, leave to dry.  Insert into your printer tray and print the image on the side with glue on it. The great thing about this method is you don’t need to worry about reversing any images.  Just make sure that you have the ‘print settings’ set to print your image with the boldest ink.  It will produce a better image.
  3. Using Mod Podge (if you’re from NZ you can pick this up from Spotlight – sorry, it’s not cheap, no way around that) coat the wood and put he image face down keeping it nice and smooth.  Leave overnight.
  4. Soak the image in water.  If the piece of wood is too large just use a squirt bottle of water to wet it thoroughly.  When it’s really wet you can begin to peel the image off carefully.
  5. I used some old ribbon I had lying around in my craft room and tied to hang.

And that’s it!