It seems like everyone is looking for framed vintage art prints these days – either the real ones, or just reproductions, but good ones can be hard to find or just really expensive. Here’s how to make your own DIY framed vintage art prints!
I’ve talked about this subject before to a certain extent, but I’ve found that I have more to add on the subject and I’m still getting so many questions about some of my framed vintage art prints and paintings, especially the ones with really beautiful gold frames. Of course, the ideal situation is to find a genuine vintage print, already beautifully framed either in an antique store or just the thrift store, but those can be so hard to come across. The other option is to buy good quality reproduction pieces. I’m actually not at all opposed to that option because quality really does matter with these art pieces and since they’re true classics, they’re a worthwhile investment. I do like to play around when an idea for a good DIY pops into my head though, so let’s talk a little more about these DIY framed vintage art prints.
Some Examples of DIY Gold-Framed Prints
I often get questions about where to find art like these pieces, especially when these appear in the background of my stories.
Sources from the photo below: Rattan tray | Bud Vase | White decor beads | Similar organic cream bowl | Habitat book | This is Home book | Similar landscape print (always get the upgraded paper option!)
Truthfully, they come from all over, but sometimes I just find a frame I like (usually thrifted), paint it gold, and buy a really nice vintage style art print to go in it. I’ve found quite a few good resources for these, which I’ll share more about in a moment.
I discovered a little formula for the perfect painted gold frame at some point last year, and this is still the process that I follow. It takes a few coats, but I find it gives me the best color and the best depth so my frame really ends up with that nice vintage look that I like.
Painting Your Frames
Once you know my top-secret gold paint formula, you just need to pick the perfect frame. I find the most interesting ones at the thrift store, but I’ve also had luck somewhere like a craft store if I’m not finding anything good secondhand. I like to look for frames with a little bit of a molded detail, rather than something really flat and modern. It just seems to work much better and you end up with a more authentic look. The really modern frames seem to end up looking kind of cheap once they’re painted. Thin frames as well as thicker ones can both work out to be look lovely, as long as they’re traditional-leaning in their style and they have a bit of detail.
I did another round of frame painting recently after finding some really good frames at the thrift store. They were solid wood and actually looked like leftover frames from an actual frame shop. The neat thing about these was that they had this linen-y band running around them, just like on the frame of my favourite little painting that I already owned.
Sometimes, you can leave just one section of a frame unpainted and paint the rest gold (or whatever color) and it will give you a result that looks really special and custom, so in this case, I obviously left the linen-y band unpainted.
I just cut a piece of cardboard to size to cover the back behind the print and secured it with masking tape all around. It’s a pretty tidy solution even though it’s obviously pretty much the most basic thing I could do. 🙂
Here’s how it turned out!
I just love it. I think I actually love it even more than some of the $300-$500 framed equestrian prints that I’ve been looking at recently.
Sources from the photo above: 9×12 Horse print (get the upgraded paper! Seriously amazing quality) | Mirror | Demi-lune console table | Blue and white ginger jar | Large wicker basket | Other mudroom sources here
Sources for Really Good Vintage Style Art Prints
I’ve found a few places online that do some really good prints. If there’s an option for an upgrade, textured paper, always go with that. They’re always so beautifully done and they really do look like paintings even up super close.
Heirloom Print Shop (my current favorite for the best selection. She just has everything. 🙂 )
Schooner Bay Etsy Shop (lots of great classic prints, already framed beautifully if you want to skip to the good part)
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.