Saturday, May 12, 2012

Decorate your Walls with Pretty Vintage Frames

Peaceful Pause needle felt in vintage scroll mid-century frame
Modern vintage style is a popular trend in today's home decor. Many folks love to up-cycle, shop the bountiful Internet, and use their DIY skills to create a space that is uniquely their own, and vintage frames are often at the top of their wish list!

Re-purposing vintage frames is a special category of up-cycling because frames are generally sturdy and can live more than one lifetime without the use of carpentry skills. While up-cycling a piece of furniture may require power tools and a gallon of paint, to up-cycle a vintage frame is much more simple: all you need are some cleaning supplies and spray paint!

In my fiber folk art studio in Colorado, Nestle and Soar, I use vintage frames to display my contemporary wall art, and this mix of styles is one of the great examples of how vintage frames add playfulness and style to home decor. In my fiber art I create needle-felt images of birds and trees along with other eco-chic imagery. This kind of green luxury home decor is a great combination with up-cycling, and if you sew, embroider, or quilt, you too can add a vintage frame to your next piece of fiber art! It makes sense to me to re-use a wooden frame when I have created a lovely needle-felt tree or bird instead of buying a new wooden frame -- it feels great to conserve resources as I present a modern vintage style to customers.

If you are ready to up-cycle a vintage frame for your home, here are a few tips you need to know.
Quality craftsmanship matters: look for frame joints that are not loose or damaged. Set the frame on a flat surface to make sure it is not warped. Look at the back of the frame to make sure the hanging mechanism is stable, and if it is not, can you add a suitable replacement?

Glenn Ellen Afternoon needle felt in vintage metal Italian frame
Know how to clean the frame: is the vintage frame embellished in such a way that a good cleaning with ruin it? Will you need to strip the old finish to make it look great in the room you have in mind? The vintage frames I use are often gently cleaned, dried, and then repainted using four or more coats of bright spray paint.

If you shop for your vintage frames over the Internet, does the seller provide photos that show the back of the frame? Are there some close-up shots to let you see the stability of the joints and texture of the surface?

Some online sellers package four or more frames as a group. Buying groups online has pros and cons. Many of the frames I use are vintage Italian metal frames, and the larger ones can be heavy, which makes shipping expensive! I've had a lot of luck going to our local indoor antiques commission mall where vendors from all around the area share a large building with individual booths. This lets me hand-carry the heavier frames home and I can basically make my own "group" of frames from a wide variety of shopkeepers. Painting multiple vintage frames the same color and then displaying them on one wall is a dramatic decorating touch!

Thanks for stopping by,

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