Give Wood Frames New Life With a Fresh Coat of Paint

When frames get old, that doesn’t always mean it’s time to get rid of them. Sometimes all that is needed is a fresh paint job! Or maybe your newest interior decorating project involves using multiple frames in specific colors. In any case, repainting frames is a great way to spruce up the home on a budget while adding your own personal creative touch. Here’s how!

Splurge on the Paint, Not the Frames

To make these wooden frames for walls look their absolute best, it is important to use high-quality paint that works well with the frame’s material. Paint can be a bit pricey, so to save money on this decorating project, use old frames that you already own. If you MUST buy frames, look for ones that are on sale or clearance. Since the plan is to repaint them, it doesn’t matter if the color isn’t exactly to your liking, or if they have minor cosmetic damage.

Frame USA’s selection of amazingly affordable Wood Closeout Frames is the perfect place to start! A good range of standard photo and document sizes are available, most of which are under five bucks. Our natural wood closeouts are your best bet, since unfinished wood requires less prep time for painting. Wooden frames for walls that are already painted can still be painted a different color, but there is some extra work involved (more on that later.)

What Type of Paint Should You Use?

For wood frames, the general consensus is that oil-based paints are the most effective. This is because oil paint remains a bit soft when it dries, so it contracts and expands with the wood during temperature fluctuations. This ensures that the paint coverage stays even over time. You can either use normal oil paint or spray paint, which is often oil-based. Just make sure to have a well-ventilated project area if you choose the latter!

Another good option is acrylic paint, which is water-based rather than oil-based. Acrylic paint works well with wood frames because it dries quickly and doesn’t require primer. It is also less expensive than oil paint, so it is useful for budget projects.

Valspar is a great inexpensive option that we use for painted frames such as our Painted Barnwood Frames

Prep the Frame

Before you can start painting, you will need to prepare the frame to be painted. The first step is to disassemble the frame so that only the wood shell remains. That means taking out the hanging hardware, backing, and glass/styrene front.

Then, use 60 grit sandpaper to remove old finish or paint from the frame if it has any. Sand again with 120 grit to smooth out the surface. Finally, wipe the frame down with a tack cloth or microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris. If the frame is made of unfinished wood, you can skip the sanding and move straight to the cloth wipedown.


If you are using oil paint, it is a good idea to go over the frame with primer before painting. As the name suggests, primer gets the frame ready by making it easier for the paint to penetrate and adhere to the wood surface. If you are using acrylic paint, primer is not needed as long as the frame is sanded properly. Many spray paints also contain primer, so you may be able to skip this step when using spray paint. Just check the label first to make sure.

And now, on to painting!

Time to Paint!

With your paint chosen and your frames prepped, it is time to paint! Put down some newspaper on a large surface, lay the frame flat, and then simply apply the paint over the frame using the appropriate brush. Natural bristle brushes are best for oil paint, whereas synthetic bristles are better for acrylics. If using spray paint, make sure you are in an open, well-ventilated area and spray from about 6 inches to one foot away. Make sure your hand is in constant motion when using spray paint, or else the paint will accumulate too much in one spot and become uneven.

If you want to add a second coat of paint, be sure to let the first coat dry thoroughly before you do. Acrylic paint dries faster than oil paint, but it’s a good idea to wait 24 hours between coats either way just in case.

Once Again… Use Cheap Frames!

It is pretty incredible how a simple repainting job can breathe new life into a worn out or otherwise uninteresting frame. For this reason, we can’t stress enough how useful cheap frames can be when undertaking such a project.

Frame USA’s Closeout Frame section is the perfect place to look for wood frames that are inexpensive without sacrificing quality. A variety of sizes and styles are available. Hardwoods, simple and elaborate designs as well as eco-friendly options. All of our closeout frames are generally in perfect condition and are simply overstock moulding! With most under $5, you can’t lose!

For more professional tips on your next interior decorating project, reach out to the experts at Frame USA!

Share Your Love
Matt Adams
Matt Adams
Articles: 15

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *