Skip to Content

19 Ways To Up-Cycle Vintage Picture Frames

Did you know you can find vintage picture frames for cheap at thrift stores? Today I’m sharing 19 creative ways to reuse old picture frames you will love.

I have been collecting old vintage frames for several years.

One of my best tips is not to overlook ugly art.

Some of the best frames will have an ugly print, making them cheap.

I have found frames I’ve used to frame a new piece of art, plus some fantastic up-cycling ideas.

Today I’m sharing 19 ideas that will have you running to the thrift stores in search of old vintage frames.

(Posts on The Ponds Farmhouse may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See the full disclosure details here.)

Thrifting with the Gals

Today’s post is part of our monthly series, Thrifting with the Gals.

If you are new to our series, we are friends who share a love for vintage and thrifted decorating.

We all live in different parts of the country, but we come together once a month to share thrift store shopping ideas and how to decorate with your treasures.

Here are the Gals:

  • Ann from Dabbling and Decorating finds her treasures as she travels between Vermont and Maine. She decorates both homes with so many vintage treasures.
  • Kristin from White Arrows Home loves thrifting in Minnesota and adds some of her finds to her vintage store.
  • Robyn from Robyn’s French Nest loves to travel and bring her vintage treasure to her lovely Florida Home.
  • I am from North Carolina, and I love filling my farmhouse and beach cottage with thrift store finds. I focus on budget-friendly decorating and DIY projects.

We are excited about our friend Cindy at DIY Beautify joining us this month. Cindy is a talented decorator and a DIY queen.

What To Do With Old Picture Frames?

I have a good collection of old and not-so-old frames that I’ve been able to recycle and put to good use.

Here is one of my first ideas for using not-so-old frames.

Upcycle Vintage PIcture frames by adding antique dishes and other collectibles to the empty frame.

When I inherited some old family photos, I struggled to find a use for them.

This was during the covid lockdown, so I had to look for resources around the house.

The idea of a gallery wall was just what I needed to occupy my time.

Fortunately, I had a good supply of old picture frames to use. Many needed to be painted black to make the gallery wall cohesive. See more tips for creating an inexpensive gallery wall.

I still love this wall in our powder room.

Reuse Old PIcture Frames by painting them the same color and creating a gallery wall for the powder room.

What To Do With Vintage Picture Frames

I have a few really old vintage picture frames that I love to use to bring attention to other pieces of home decor.

Here are a few of the ways I reuse a vintage frame.

Add Unexpected Decor to A Vintage Frame

Adding a vintage picture frame to surround a Christmas wreath helps to create more impact and draw attention to the wreath.

Upcycle an antique picture frame by adding a Christmas Wreath to the center of the frame for Holiday decorating.
Original Art Prints are available in my store.

My friend Kelly framed three Christmas wreaths in her oversized vintage frame.

Reuse old picture frames by adding 3 Christmas wreaths for Seasonal Decorating.

Another idea is to add more impact to a smaller piece of art by hanging the vintage frame around the piece instead of framing the canvas.

I had never framed the Country Church painting and needed a larger piece of art for this space. Adding a larger vintage frame solved the problem.

Add a smaller canvas painting to a larger antique picture frame for more impact on a shiplap wall.

My friend, Michele at Vintage Home Designs, used this same technique for her cute bunny canvas.

Frame around a canvas bunny with an recycled antique picture frame for a unique decorating idea.

As you can see, this vintage picture frame gets around.

Here the frame rests on top of the step-back hutch and frames the dried floral basket in front of it.

Place a vintage frame on a cabinet top and set a dried flower basket in front of the frame to instant art.

Add Collectibles To Reused Old Frames

Another fun way to display your collectible is to add them to old picture frames.

A vintage whisk broom becomes art when placed in a vintage frame.

Add collectibles like vintage whisk brooms to old picture frames to create wall art.

My friend Ann at Dabbling and Decorating created this great gallery wall by framing her collection of vintage bottles.

You can see more about Decorating with Flea Market Frames on her blog.

Use old art frames around vintage medicine bottles for a unique gallery wall.

Another idea is to frame your vintage dishes for display.

Surround a grouping of vintage blue and white dishes with an old art frame to a great repurposing idea for old frames

When my talented friend Robyn shared her Fall Gallery Wall Styling, she used old picture frames to draw attention to her mounted antlers.

Such a great combination of old frames and mirrors over a faux mantel.

Make a gallery wall over a faux fireplace mantel using vintage frames to surround mounted antlers and add old mirros.

Gather a Collection of Vintage Frames Together

When styling a shelf, bookcase, or mantel, you can easily create a fun vignette using a collection of vintage picture frames.

Layer the frames over each other to achieve the desired vignette.

Stack and layer old vintage photo frames on a shelf to upcycle old vintage frames.

Other Great Resources for Hanging Art

Frame A Centerpiece

You can create a fun centerpiece by laying a frame in the center of the table and filling it with seasonal decor.

The coffee table centerpiece consists of a hurricane lantern with DIY Decoupage Eggs and a small eucalyptus wreath surrounded by an old empty frame.

Painting Technique for Thrift Store Frames

My friend, Jennifer at Cottage on Bunker Hill, shares How to Make Newer Picture Frames Look Vintage with this technique.

reuse old picture frames by adding gold paint to make them appear vintage.

Rotate Seasonal Prints

A vintage picture frame is a great way to add a sign, seasonal clip art, or prints.

Just switch out the images seasonally using a fun frame.

Other Creative Uses & DIY Projects

What about hanging paint brushes inside an old frame like this creative idea from Blue I Style Blog?

Frame Paint Brushes with a recycled Vintage PIcture frame for a unique art design.
Photo Credit: Blue I Style Blog

Reuse Old Picture Frames to Organize

Did you know you can reuse old picture frames to help you organize your jewelry?

With these tips from Fenno Fashion Blog, cheap Thrift Store frames only need a slight adjustment to become a unique Jewelry Display.

And this ingenious DIY Earring holder with cloverleaf aluminum sheets attached to old picture frames is a clever idea from Lindsay at Anchored in Elegance.

Repurpose Old Picture Frames with Succulents

Who would consider framing pool noodles? That’s precisely what Kelly at The Tattered Pew did to decorate her daughter’s bedroom. How cute is this?

Add pool noodles to an old picture frame and add sheet moss and succulents for art in a teens bedroom.

Add sheet metal to an antique frame for instant one-of-kind art like my friend Lora did with these succulents.

Add sheet metal to create instant are by recycling a vintage picture frame.

I hope you enjoyed today’s ideas to reuse old picture frames creatively.

More Thrifting with the Gals

Up next is Cindy at DIY Beautify

Cindy – Tarnished Silver Tray Upcycle Plus... / Ann – Antique Family Heirloom To Buffet Table Sideboard

Robyn’s – How to decorate with vintage architectural salvage / Kristin – My Summer Thrifting Wish List

More Thrifting With The Gals Ideas

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

19 Ways To Reuse Old Picture Frames for budget-friendly decorating ideas. Recycle and up-cycle vintage art frames.


Monday 20th of March 2023

Love all of your ideas!


Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

Thanks, Friend.


Sunday 19th of March 2023

So many great ideas, Rachel!


Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

Kim, Thanks for stopping by.

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 18th of March 2023

You have inspired me to try to be more creative when using picture frames. Love all of these great ideas.


Sunday 19th of March 2023

Kim, Thanks so much.

Wendy McMonigle

Saturday 18th of March 2023

So many inspiring ideas. I have several frames I need to get on the walls. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy this post with you gals.


Saturday 18th of March 2023

Wendy, I really appreciate this. Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday 18th of March 2023

Wow Rachel I loved all of the raw ideas! People sure are creative and you are at the top of that list. I love your gallery wall bathroom. Thanks for including my pool noodle art too! Such a fun post.


Saturday 18th of March 2023

Kelly I really appreciate this. I'm glad you liked it.