What To Do With Old Picture Frames

If you are in the habit of purchasing framed wall art only to replace it at a later date, you may have quite a collection of frames that could be reused. The same is true for smaller picture frames. One style of frame may be replaced with another when you change up the decor in your home. Now, instead of stressing over what you’re going to do with all of that stored clutter, I’ll show you what to do with old picture frames to give them brand new life.

For starters, the easiest thing you can do with old wall art is to take out the existing print and replace with another. When the sizing works for you, you can forgo buying a new frame for that special print that you just purchased. I have even gone to antique or thrift stores in search of framed wall art just to reuse the frame. The old patina and ornate features of an antique picture frame can add a lot of character to the print you want to frame. And, you can usually pick these frames up for a lot less money than when buying a brand new frame.

old frame new art

I didn’t think to take a photo of this frame with the original print. However, it was something I didn’t care for. I bought the print from a thrift store just for the frame. The older patina and style was perfect for our new trout print at the cabin.

Here are some other ideas for what to do with old picture frames.

Turn The Frame Into A Chalkboard

repurposed picture frame chalkboard
Turn A Picture Frame Into A Fun Chalkboard

With just a little chalkboard paint, you can repurpose a picture frame into a chalkboard. You can even paint right on the glass insert. It’s easy to do and so rewarding to see the finished product. If you don’t like the style of the frame, you can even decorate with branches or whatever fits your style to make it unique.

If you want to turn the chalkboard into a sign, simply write your message on the board with a chalk marker. See how to get a professional looking sign by a sneaky trick I have for getting perfect chalk lettering which was obviously not done on the above photo!

Repurpose A Picture Frame For Jewelry Hanging

diy picture frame jewelry holder
Repurposed Picture Frame Into A Necklace Holder

It’s easy to create hanging jewlery storage out of an old picture frame. Simply take out the glass are replace it with either cork or chicken wire. With cork, you just need to add some tacks that stick out far enough for a necklace cord to drape over. I created length to flat thumbtacks by gluing pieces of wine cork to the tacks.

If you use chicken wire on the inside of the frame, you can simply drape earrings over the wire. Or attach necklaces or bracelets with little clips like mini clothespins.

Frame Custom Built Shelving

custom framed cabinet
Framed Bathroom Storage Cabinet by The Navage Patch

You may be able to construct your own simple box shelving pretty easily. However making an intricate frame is probably a little harder. So, why not use an old picture frame? Then create your own shelving to fit the frame. The end result is so chic and professional looking.

Create Wall Art With Empty Frames

picture frame wall art
Create Picture Frame Wall Art by HGTV

Can’t decide what type of pictures to hang in a room? Then, forget the prints and simply hang the frames. You can create all kinds of neat arrangements with a variety of fun frames. Paint the frames to complement each other and coordinate with the room.

Make A Frame Tufted Faux Headboard

framed tufted headboard diy
Framed Faux Tufted Headboard by Vintage Revivals

Large picture frames may work better in your space as a faux headboard. Just fill the inside of the frame with a handmade tufted insert. The look is fun and creative.

Turn A Picture Frame Into A Memo Board

picture frame memo board
Chicken Wire Added To A Picture Frame by The Prairie Homestead

I mentioned using chicken wire for jewelry storage. However, it is great for other types of organizing as well. Hang one in your entry way or office and use it as a memo board. Things like sunglasses and family photos are fun to hang on a board like this as well.

Make A Vanity Tray From An Old Picture Frame

photo frame vanity tray
DIY Vanity Tray by Tempting Thyme

You can create any type of tray using an old picture frame. Whether you handles to the sides of a flatter frame or add wooden balls for feet, you get a customized look with your own embellishments. I especially like this ornate frame with ball feet as a vanity tray. The look is so elegant!

Repurpose A Frame As A Key Holder

diy framed key holder
Framed Key Holder by Redfly Creations

Make a quick and easy holder for keys with an empty picture frame. Simply screw in hooks to the inside edge of the frame and hang your keys. You could also fill the inside of the frame with a homemade sign or a chalkboard and hang the hooks from the bottom of the frame. Either way works great for organizing keys.

Craft A Framed Pocket Organizer

framed pocket organizer
DIY Framed Pocket Organizer by The Wishful Tinker

Another fun way to use old picture frames is to create a handy pocket organizer for a desk or wall. Create pockets out of fabric to fit the frame and have your supplies right at your fingertips.

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I'm addicted to crafting and decorating my downtown urban loft and up north rustic cabin. Read more about me.