11 Picture-Perfect Ways to Hack a Cheap White Frame

Make simple tweaks to a standard frame and mat, add on-point art, and achieve a look that's better than basic.

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    Start with the Basics

    Grab a basic white frame, then let your inner artist shine. These ideas show just how versatile that inexpensive, off-the-rack buy can be.

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    Cool Corners

    Gold-tone accents add a hard edge to a soft, floral watercolor print. We purchased four 4-inch flat corner braces from our local hardware store and spray-painted them in metallic gold. (Save yourself a step if you can score brass braces in your desired size.) Adhere one at each corner with a strong multisurface adhesive such as Elmer's ProBond Advanced.

    Cost and materials: Corner braces, $4

     

     

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    Easy Frame Update from Hardware

    Discover how to make inexpensive frames look pricey with this so-simple hardware store upgrade.

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    Black and White

    Bold black stripes create a graphic look that contrasts well with the organic lines in this nature photo. We removed the mat from the frame, masked off a center stripe with painter's tape, and brushed on acrylic black paint at the top and bottom of the mat. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before reassembling.  

    Cost and materials: Acrylic paint, $4

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    Golden Touch

    Metallic gold spray paint gives a basic white frame a luxe look, suitable for a colorful abstract print. We removed the glass and mat to spray-paint the frame. Rough up the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to achieve better adhesion.

    Cost and materials: Gold spray paint, $12

     

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    Studded Style

    Tiny gold studs are the perfect accent to this delicate giclee print. Our studs are stickers purchased from paperwishes.com and placed at the corners in straight lines. Tip: Use tweezers to be precise.

    Cost and materials: Nailhead stickers, $3

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    Diamonds Forever

    Dynamic, diagonal color-blocking plays on this print’s geometric shapes. Remove the mat from the frame and apply painter’s tape from corner to corner of both, brushing light blue acrylic paint on the lower-left half of the mat and dark blue acrylic paint on the upper-right half of the frame.

    Cost and materials: Acrylic paint, $8

     

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    Stuck on Style

    Strips of inch-wide washi tape add an easy-to-place, removable accent in just minutes. Choose a portrait or still life with a simple background that won’t compete with the patterned tape. 

    Cost and materials: Washi tape, $2

     

     

     

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    Expertly Labeled

    An adhesive-backed label holder (from the office supply store) provides a fun place for a child’s name or inscription on a whimsical piece of art. 

    Cost and materials: Label holder, $5

     

     

     

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    Polka Dot Perfection

    Small polka dots are a nod to the round crop of this photo. We dipped the eraser end of a pencil in acrylic paint and stamped the frame. If desired, mix blue and white acrylic paint to achieve various shades before stamping. 

    Cost and materials: Acrylic paint, $4

     

     

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    Awash in Ombre

    This frame's ombre color wash gives a black-and-white print some colorful punch. We brushed four coats of pink acrylic paint onto the bottom quarter of the frame, then lightened the color as we moved our way up by applying fewer coats. If desired, thin the paint with water to achieve a wash effect. 

    Cost and materials: Acrylic paint, $4

     

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    Fabric Wrap

    A frame wrapped in floral fabric echoes the sweet styling of a watercolor floral print. Cut about 1 yard of lightweight fabric (we like the weight of cotton lawn) into 1-1⁄2-inch-wide strips. Remove the glass, mat, and backing from the frame. Tape one end of a strip to the back center of the frame and begin wrapping the fabric tightly around the frame to cover the white. Repeat as needed with additional strips until the frame is covered.

    Cost and materials: Floral fabric, $40

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    How to Hang Art

    Hang art without the hassle. These tips show you how to transform your walls in a flash.

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    Like the rooms inside our homes, there are limitless ways to decorate a deck or patio, especially when you introduce homemade outdoor furniture. Putting a personal spin on your outside seating area is as easy as modifying a tree stump, upcycling a slab of concrete, or building with unused pallets. We found 13 easy-to-follow DIY patio furniture tutorials to inspire your backyard transformation.
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