Customizing Basic Picture Frames & Mat Board

I just love the look of fabric used to cover a mat in a picture frame or to cover a frame. I have a few that I have done that I want to share with you… It is such an easy and fast project, the hardest part is picking out the fabric you want to use… seriously!

I have two separate sets of these aluminum frames that I wrapped in fabric. They used to work with our decor in our last home, but you know how it is when you move… some things just don’t seem to work anymore! Rather than donate them I gave them a make over! I just used scrap fabric I had on hand, but if you don’t have any fabric a great option is buying quilting bundles called fat quarters… it’s fabric that has already been cut into squares and the fabric in the bundle coordinates with one another. They sell stacks at most fabric stores and I have seen them at Hobby Lobby too!

Fabric Embellished Frame
Fabric Embellished Frame #2

The process is easy..

  • Cut some fabric to fit the frame, overlapping the edge by an inch or so
  • Using a paint brush to apply some Mod Podge to the front and sides of the frame
  • Place the fabric on top of the frame starting from the top edge working your way to the bottom smoothing out any wrinkles or air bubbles as you go (this is the “hardest” part)
  • Wrap the fabric around the edges towards the back and wait for it to dry (or maybe waiting is the hardest part for you 😉 )
  • Once dry cut a “X” slit in the photo opening, I just used a pair of sharp scissors
  • Apply more Mod Podge to the photo opening edges and wrap the fabric around to the back
  • Turn the frame over and trim the fabric around all of the edges to slightly overlap
  • Apply Mod Podge to the frame back edges and press the fabric into it to finish it off

Pictures of mat board finished with burlap fabric:

Burlap Mat with Velvet Ribbon Embellishment
Burlap Mat Embellished with Ribbon

You can then embellish the fabric with ribbon, paint, stencil, vinyl or really anything. However, make sure the fabric and embellishments are not too thick for your frame if you are using this process on your mat board…

Why not try some cool paper instead of fabric… I have found that paper can sometimes be little trickier than fabric because it can wrinkle very easily, but if you want to try it check out this Mod Podge blog Mod Podge Rocks it has a ton of great ideas and tips! Make sure the fabric and embellishments are not too thick for your frame if you are using this process on your mat board…

Your pictures will now have a custom look for a fraction of what it would cost at a store!

Use what you have around the house… upcycle a frame….

Do you have frames put away in storage because they no longer go with your decor?

You can make custom frames as gifts for all kinds of occasions!

Have fun with this project with your kids… let them embellish a frame for their room or make one for one of their friends!

Thanks for stopping by….

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A Tale of the Pretty Red Buffet… a Love Story.

Red China Cabinet – After
This is the story of a hutch with lots of potential…

She was not very expensive, she was a great size and had classic lines! What the seller didn’t tell me is that: 1) the hutch was on the second floor 2) it was heavy as crap 3) the knobs were not included (who does that?) 4) she had glued the drawer fronts shut!
So my SAH (Super Awesome Husband) and middle daughter (i.e. furniture mover extraordinaire) went to pick it up for me… poor child, she was very unhappy with me about this move! I however was thrilled with the piece.. it was just the perfect size and it was solid oak! Now don’t get me wrong, the black paint job was awful! Lots of drips, painted hinges, crazy glued drawer fronts (with no drawers boxes behind them!?) etc… but these were mostly easy fixes.
SAH made some drawer boxes for the piece (a first for him) and installed them with new drawer tracks. Meanwhile I sanded down the problem areas, removed all of the remaining hardware to soak in ammonia (my go to product for removing paint etc off metal) and started painting.
This piece was clearly calling for ASCP in Emperor’s Silk, a very beautiful classic red. I didn’t want to use the usual white or cream interior so I used ASCP in Country Grey.. The combination looks great and very traditional. I lightly distressed the red and the entire piece gets a coat of wax and then a good buff with 0000 steel wool. I don’t have a lot of red in my home (or wardrobe) but I do like this piece.. hopefully someone else will to.. this is a unique piece for someone to take home with them! This is such a great size that it would work in the bathroom, kitchen, dining room etc! The glass is easily removable and can be replaced with something else (chicken wire or fabric). I would have loved to have used fabric for the interior back of the cabinet, but I didn’t want to limit my pool of potential buyers… I’m going to do it on the next buffet though, I promise!

Buffet Section
Love the Distressing
Great Classic Molding

Thanks for checking out this post, if you aren’t already following my blog I would love for you to! I enjoy reading and responding to your comments as well!

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A Very Unique Lane Cedar Chest Bench

Ok… So we had to drive 50 miles to get this chest, but I would say it was worth it! Plus it was a nice, scenic drive up to Cumberland County (Virginia)… Here it is in all it’s BEFORE glory!! Looks cool huh??

Lane Cedar Chest Bench – Before

The chest is an authentic Lane cedar chest, made right here in Virginia, with original 1971 certificate and key! It has a gorgeous (uh..uh.., nope) black naugahyde covered cushion on top that had been chewed up a little on one corner, brass 70’s casters and the moldings were actually plastic?.. But it DID NOT smell like moth balls (which for some reason a lot of them do) and it was the perfect size to use at the foot of the bed.
I first removed the casters and installed some wooden bun feet. I removed the top cushion, to get to the staples that held the naugahyde in place, and removed the naugahyde. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the foam was in great shape.. score! I sprayed the chest with a primer and then a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum’s Heirloom White. The top cushion I covered in some French script fabric & coordinating custom piping… it’s not perfect but it’s pretty good. I love having this chest at the foot of the bed… I haven’t put anything in it yet, but it is perfect for putting the extra pillows from the bed on top of it… I always keep an eye out for these types of chests because I had so many people ask to buy this one before I moved it into the bedroom.. “so sorry” I would have to say.. “but this one is not for sale”… it was uniquely MINE!

Lane Cedar Chest – After
Lane Cedar Chest Close Up – After

What do you think? Does the fact that there is plastic molding on it turn you off? Would you have left it on or removed it or not even purchased this piece? Love to hear your thoughts ’cause I have another “keeper” piece that has a similar problem and I’m hmm’ing and haw’ing about it….

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A Deer in the Woods or Maybe My Family Room

Let me start by saying no deer were harmed in the making of this project… I begin with this statement because my neighbor DID ask me if I got the antlers from the dead deer in the road near us…seriously.. she said “well someone did!” and then gave me the “look”…. ok so we were out enjoying a couple of glasses of wine with some other friends but still.. do I look like I would remove a head from a deer to get the antlers..?? YUCK!! Anyway on with the project…

I thought this would be a quick and easy project… it was pretty easy… just not quick.

Deer Antler Collage

Materials used: open frame, Duck Egg & Pure White chalk paint, 1/4″ wood board, faux deer antlers, branches, glue, silicone caulk, glazing points & 2 screws with washers.

  • Painted the frame with 2 quick coats of Duck Egg and then distressed it
  • Cut the backer board to fit the frame
  • Painted the board & deer antlers white
  • Dragged convinced SAH to go into the woods behind our house to pick up fallen branches for the back of the board.. I’m sure if any of our neighbors saw us they would have wondered what we were doing!
  • We brought the branches inside to cut them and attached them to the board with hot glue, that was the time-consuming part. I did some and hubby helped me out while I took some pictures…
Sticks... sticks... and more sticks!

Our Weimaraner LOVES sticks.. for a long time he just stood behind my husband, with his head on hubby’s shoulder, eyeballing the sticks (I could almost hear him saying “gimme, gimme, gimme, please, please, please).

The rest…

  • Painted the sticks with white CP
  • Put a bead of silicone on the back of the frame and set the board into it, I also tacked in some glazing points for extra stability and left it upside down to cure
  • I determined placement of the antlers on the board and then drilled some holes through the board for the screws
  • I lined up the antlers on top of the holes and drilled holes into the antlers through the existing holes in the board
  • I attached the antlers with screws and washers from the back of the board
  • I also added a cleat to the back of the frame to help ensure its stability on the wall

I totally dig this artwork! I love the fact my husband and I worked on it together and it just fits perfectly into our newly painted Family Room.

Deer Antler Art

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Valentine’s Day Art

So I wanted to get a jump on Valentine’s Day decorations… I usually don’t decorate for it, but after taking down the Christmas decorations the house just felt a little naked…. This project was so fun and easy to do! And if you haven’t heard of Wordle you really should go check it out, *** WARNING *** Highly Addictive (and FREE)!

Valentine’s Day Art

The supplies I used were: thick printer paper, burlap fabric, wood frame, mat board & red chalk paint, cost about $17.

I designed my artwork in Wordle and printed it out on the thick printer paper, making sure that the printer settings were set to enlarge the image to fit the page. I had purchased a barn wood frame from Hobby Lobby, making sure to use my phone at the register to show the 40% off weekly coupon, and painted it using ASCP in Scandinavian Red. I didn’t try to completely cover all of the wood with the paint, but just applied it roughly. Also, because I wanted the rough texture of the frame to be maintained I didn’t apply a wax topcoat. I cut the mat board to fit the frame and attached the burlap fabric with an adjustable spray adhesive. I did consider cutting an opening in the mat to allow the art to be mounted to the back, but that was just more difficult than I wanted this project to be! So I just attached my “artwork” to the burlap with glue dots and I was done. I am very pleased with how this turned out… a plus is that it was so quick and easy!

Art on Mantle

What do you think? Have you tried Wordle before?

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Oh.. Yeah.. I Got an Antique Apothecary Chest at a YARD SALE!

Sorry if you already read this, it was a draft that went out by mistake.. hey, I’m still learning y’all!

But seriously… I can NOT possibly express how ELATED I was when I got this beauty!

Apothecary Chest – Before

The whole thing went down like this… Saw an ad on CL for a table at a local yard sale, I dragged convinced my neighbor to go with me, got to yard sale, no table, no real furniture, a few other people that’s it.. Until I snooped looked in the garage and saw a HUGE Tiger Oak apothecary chest… Seriously it was in two sections 9 drawers across by 5 drawers down! I had no idea if it was for sale or not, but I asked anyway.. ’cause you don’t get what you don’t ask for right? The owner said she had bought it several years ago at a very reputable (awesome) local salvage company and had paid $1,000 for the whole thing.. Ok at this point in her story I pretty much figured uh..uh.. no way will I be able to afford this.. so I asked how much did she want for the section that was 5 drawers across (the larger of the two sections).. it was missing several pulls & half of the side and top.. she thought about it and threw out “How about $100?” What? Did I hear that correctly? (me) “How about $90?” Sold! I would have paid $200 and it was worth way more than that! Part of the side and top were missing because there was a HUGE set of shelves that spanned both pieces and sat on top of the chests. But I didn’t want that… Seriously it made the piece almost 9 feet tall! So some super awesome guys loaded it into the car and just as I was ready to get in the car my neighbor decides that she wants the other side! The lady sold her that piece for $75! It had the same wood problems with the top & side, but it had all of the pulls! So the guys loaded it on top of mine and off we went… extremely excited about our yard sale score!!
Ok… So here is where the story gets typical for me…MONTHS go by and neither of us has done anything to the chests.. she said she was waiting to see what I was going to do and I was waiting for an inexpensive idea to miraculously pop into my head.. (why yes that happens to me, doesn’t that happen to you?) I had some ok ideas for the top: buy a soapstone or granite top for it ($$$), find some reclaimed thick wood ($$$) but I was still stuck on what to do with the sides… I could get one full side by using both halves on one side but then what to do with the other side…what about the crappy baseboard? Replace with feet? Ok so can you feel my pain / frustration? Sometimes a piece goes through many evolutions (mostly in my head) before it settles on what needs to happen. Eureka!, I needed to work that word into a post somehow ;), it came to me! Build a cabinet around the original main piece and paint it black.. we could use inexpensive pine boards and put ogee edge on the top to dress it up! I called my neighbor and she thought it was a good idea… When my husband went to get wood he picked up enough to make two, a total of $80 for both! My super awesome hubby (SAH) removed the old crappy base, that someone had added years ago, the half sides and top. He cut the new top to create an inch overhang and used the router to put the decorative edge on it. The sides and base got new boards as well. Everything was nailed on, but not glued in order to protect the integrity of the original antique… I just felt like that was important. Then came the “hard” work ;), I filled the holes and sanded the piece down. In the meantime super awesome hubby (SAH) helped the neighbor’s husband bring their piece down and did the same thing for them… it’s amazing how fast it goes the second time around! We got our piece inside and I painted the new wood in satin black. I did a VERY little bit of distressing along the edges and waxed and buffed the piece… Ok.. At this point remember I didn’t have all of the pulls (and truthfully I didn’t like them anyway) so I took off all of the label pulls, listed them on CL (sold!) and began looking for new ones… Do you KNOW how much pulls with labels cost? How about how hard it is to find them with a 2 7/8″ spread? I have 25 drawers… Let’s just say I will spend more on pulls than I did on the entire piece… and I will STILL feel like I got a deal! I STILL haven’t found the label pulls I want! But here is the after picture without the pulls… The chest is made from solid tiger oak and is really quite awesome! Oh yeah.. My neighbor liked the pulls so she painted hers ORB (they were brass) and they came out great!

Finished Apothecary Chests, Top is Neighbor

Just so you know…we hemmed and hawed about what to store in the piece and finally settled on Christmas tree ornaments! It is in our basement and the tree will be setup right next to it.. I think this will work, otherwise what would I put in the drawers? Dog treats ;)?
Thanks for taking the time to read this post (again?)…

Apothecary Chest - Money Shot 🙂
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Vintage Dixie Nightstands Get a Second Chance

Dixie Nightstand – Before
I love these nightstands! My husband and daughter picked them up for me one night, along with the matching 8 drawer dresser, for a song.. well they didn’t sing for it (and I just hope they didn’t dance!) but ya’ know what I mean! The lady even threw in a footstool for free! These were vintage Dixie pieces (her grandmother’s) with nothing wrong that a little paint and sanding couldn’t cure… and I already had a plan for them! I wanted to trade out my old shaker style Crate & Barrel nightstands for these. I had been looking for something that would coordinate with the rest of our bedroom furniture but everything I saw was either too big, not the right color, too much money (!), etc.. etc… This was a super easy project… Sanded (to 220 grit) top, stained the top dark walnut and I used a satin polyurethane to protect it. I added Floetrol to the paint (Valspar Black Satin) to help eliminate the brush strokes and painted the bottom of the table…worked like a charm! I also removed the knobs and cleaned them up a little….. Voila! I’m done!
I love the way look, they tie in the black secretary desk, that is across from the bed, and the top stain is in the same color tone / family as the rest of the furniture. This was such a quick and easy project.. no veneer to remove, no paint to strip, no wood to repair… literally a dream pair of nightstands.. (um.. except for the spider webs and egg sacks.. UGH, so gross!)

Vintage Dixie Nightstand - After
Just in case you were wondering (’cause I just know it was driving you crazy ;))… the matching Dixie dresser I sold to my neighbor (bargain basement neighbor price) who wanted it for her closet. She did the painting herself and it came out great! I also listed my C&B nightstands on CL for someone else to enjoy!
So for you mathematical types: 2 new nightstands – 2 old nightstands + dresser – dresser = Susan happiness and some extra spending money to put towards more furniture! I love it when an equation ends up positive 😉 Thanks for checking these pretties out!
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Vintage Mail Sorter Box – Revived

Vintage Mail Sorter - BEFORE
OK…. so here I go again without a before picture, well technically I have the one from the Craig’s List listing, but it’s not very good.. I’m going to insert it anyway! Here it is in all it’s glory… a vintage wooden mail sorter, it has 24 cubbies & 20 of the original brass name plates. The back of the piece had some damage and the wood itself had a lot of nail holes and nails sticking out of it, but it was COOL!! I was waiting for my husband (“furniture moving man”) to meet me at the store, so I took the tag off of the piece (yeah.. of course so no one else could snag it!) and took it down to the register. I usually just hold on to a tag until I’m done but for some reason I decided to drop it off with the cashier as I continued to look around… now let me tell you about 2 minutes after I walked away the cashier received a phone call from someone who saw this on CL and wanted to buy it… Um.. well of course she told her I had just given her the tag.. you snooze you loose! For some reason it is always more exciting for me when I buy an item that I know someone else wanted too.. that sounds bad doesn’t it? I would be awful in one of those free-for-all brides dress sales… I think I would be one of those ladies you see sitting on top of a huge pile of dresses regardless of whether they fit her or not (what’s up with that?).. seriously laughing now just thinking about it.. Anyway I digress.. Cool piece, needed some work, right up my alley.. here we go!
Let me start by saying I knew I was not going to keep this piece. I didn’t really want to paint it but the outer wood case was so rough and with all of the nail holes I just felt like it may have been too rustic.. So my handy, dandy husband cut a new 1/4 wood back that I stained and reattached. I removed what nails needed to come out, removed the brass name plates (keeping original nails) and filled in the large holes but left normal wear and tear gauges. After a bit of sanding (thanks goodness for this unseasonably warm weather around here) she was ready to paint. I used AS Chalk paint in Duck Egg as the base color and then a light top layer of ASCP in Country Grey, only painting the outer cabinet and the front horizontal face pieces. Since it had gotten cool again I took the piece inside to finish up. I used water and a sponge with a scouring pad on one side to do the distressing. Now I don’t normally distress this way, but it works very well and honestly I just hate the chalk paint dust! It doesn’t work for all pieces, but this one had such light layers that it worked very well. The sorter got a coat of wax and a good buffing.. now I use 0000 steel wool to do my buffing…I love it and I think it works great! I do a final wipe down / buff with a soft cloth and that part is done. I then added back the plates so that the missing plates were at the bottom row rather than scattered about. I cleaned out the inside of the cubbies with Murphy’s Oil soap spray (love the smell of this stuff) and called it complete!
Vintage Mail Sorter - After

I love the way it turned out! I think the finish looks authentically old even if it isn’t! I think it would look great hanging on the wall (you would need to add a cleat) or even sitting on the mantle (it’s only 8″ deep)… so many great uses for this… what would you do with it?

Vintage Mail Sorter - After - Close Up
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This one is a keeper.. I think..

Beautiful in Blue

I TRULY love this buffet (or chest of drawers) … I was so anxious to get started that I didn’t take a before picture! Maybe you can picture it for me… she had a mid range dark stain, working locks on all of the drawers, peeling veneer on the top, broken piece off one foot & drawers held together with Duck Tape (what? who does that?)! But she had some beautiful curves and the drawers were perfectly sound they just needed to be reglued. Overall it was in prettygood shape, I KNEW with a little TLC she could be beautiful again!

What I Fixed:

The top veneer COULD have been reattached, but it was so thin and coming off in several places that I felt more comfortable taking it off… and unlike my last buffet project, with the veneer from “you know where”, this veneer came off easily with a scraper! It was completely removed in 3 minutes and made me feel a lot better about my decision to remove it. The top was sanded with 80 to 150 grit sandpaper until smooth.. I knew I was going to paint the top of this one so there was no need to sand to 220. The damaged foot I repaired with some moulding putty.. it’s not perfect by any means but it is not very noticeable. I removed the Duck Tape on the drawers, reset, glued and clamped them until they were dry. I removed the old wood knobs, which were attached with wood pegs (new to me..), not screws, so I drilled through the pegs and wiggled them with a wrench until they came out. Lastly, I sanded the drawer fronts with 150 to 220 until super smooth

“Dressing the Chest”

The drawer fronts had this BEAUTIFUL flame pattern veneer on them that just winked at me after the sanding. They received two coats of Dark Walnut stain and two coats of wax. The cabinet got two coats of Annie Sloan’s chalk paint, in Provence, some very slight distressing and a coat of wax. I added the faux tortoise-shell knobs and I was done! She seriously is a beaut… This one is technically for sale, but it is in my Family Room where it will probably have a permanent home… or at least until a new “favorite” comes along… UPDATE (1/12) This piece was sold to a nice couple from Northern Virginia.. now I have to find something else to go there… I think I have a piece in mind 😉

Thanks for checking her out! She loves to hear how pretty she now looks 😉

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