Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Painting old picture frames to look like wood

Jeremy first painted the metallic frames a french red. I held a hair dry over it while he painted the second frame, when he was done I dried the next one while he gave the first one a second coat. When both frames are dry to the touch he scraped the glass clean with a razor then touched up and scratches and dried them again.

Now comes the fun part. We used a water based wiping stain to match. Wiping stain is a wood tone glaze, we used one that matched our preexisting wood frames.

First brush on the glaze, then dry brushing it off creating a wood grain effect. Go light with the first coat of glaze, letting it settle down in to the cracks and groves, blow dry, then apply the second coat even lighter or as needed. This technique will fool any art critic. Use a small brush to make any corrections to blend in with the parts that look good.

We found these signed prints by the artist Athos Menaboni (1895-1990) they were part of a collection owned by Cason Calloway of Calloway Gardens. Calloway Gardens is located below Atlanta and Mr. Menaboni lived in Atlanta. Calloway Gardens was the beneficiary of Mr. Menaboni's estate and several of his pieces are displayed there. He was born in Livorno, Italy but after the First World War came to America met the girl who came to be his wife and made Atlanta their home. Because I am a Georgia girl, an Atlantan to be exact, these have special meaning to me. I also love to find older pieces with a story. The well known Atlanta architect Phillip Shutze was familiar with Mr. Menaboni's work and commissioned several mural projects from him.

The backgrounds of these pictures had the same aged looked as the vintage florals below them but the picture frames were a silvertone much too cool to compliment the aged paper of the prints. To paint the set to match the preexisting wood frames took us about an hour that includes set up and dry time. The frames have glass over the pictures so we didn't have to remove them.


  1. I found a back up computer for now. So what did you ever do about your lampshade you alluded too in your comment on my blog site? Anything yet?

  2. That is so great! Love how they turned out! And thanks for visiting my blog!