23 Unexpected Items to Put in a Picture Frame

Framed Art

Tired of ordinary photographs and paintings? Redefine artwork with these common items you can frame, most of which you probably have lying around your home!

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Spare Scarves

living room

To frame a scarf, purchase a frame that is shorter and narrower than the scarf. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the frame, or use any cardboard that comes with it. Wrap the scarf around the cardboard and tape down the edges on the backside. Place the scarf-covered cardboard inside the frame and replace the backing.

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Vintage Advertisements

living room

If you have a collection of old books, magazines, or newspapers, a gallery wall is the perfect choice for you. Here, vintage 1950s Saturday Evening Post prints highlight a stylish seating area. Use a grid gallery format to ensure each print stands out.

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Archery Target


An old archery target is the perfect find for framing. Cut to size, the target becomes a unique work of art inside a frame and draws the eye toward whatever it is hung above. Don't forget to mat it for a dramatic effect.

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Flea Market Ideas

Hanging your jewelry within a frame is a stylish and practical way to see all your pieces at once. Frame a corkboard and use fancy pins to display your favorite pieces. Hang several frames with a mix of corkboard, floating shelves, and artwork to master the gallery look.

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Stylish Updated Frame

Add hardware to a basic white frame to showcase your artwork.

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Maps Large or Small


A map on the wall is common, but a framed map exudes importance. This larger-than-life world map is scaled to match the width of the couch. Can't find an oversize map? Print it on several pieces of paper and fit it together like a puzzle.

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Country Collections

Framed Art

This rustic office gets its laid-back feeling from more than the furniture. A gallery wall of vintage signs, pressed insects, and illustrated flowers is the perfect display space for a collection of vintage country-theme art. Together they make the room look farmhouse fresh.

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Pressed Botanicals

living room

Framing pressed leaves is an easy approach to DIY art, while using kraft paper as cover mats is stylish and inexpensive. Pair earth-tone paintings with several framed pressed leaves for an unexpected touch of interest with a complementary color scheme.

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Wrapping Paper

wall art

Do you have empty picture frames but nothing to put in them? Why not use up those wrapping paper scraps you've been hanging onto? Place wrapping paper in each frame or use the decorative paper as a mat for a pretty printout.

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floating shelves

Basic frames look right at home on floating shelves. Postcards, save-the-dates, and other nostalgic mail items can all be framed and paired together. Group items with a similar color scheme or pattern to give small, affordable frames a greater impact.

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Astrological Maps

track door

Astrological maps are unique to have anywhere in the home, and inside a frame is all the more stylish. Impress guests with a taste of the stars by framing your zodiac sign or an astrological map, then put your knowledge to the test when they ask about the framed piece.

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Decorative Wallpaper

Three panels of patterned fabric on wall

With a roll of large-scale floral wallpaper, create a triptych of dramatic art panels on the cheap. Apply sections of wallpaper to extra wood or drywall following the manufacturer's directions. Then frame each piece with painted molding and add mounting hardware.

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Historic Flags

living room

Did you know you can frame history? This vintage American flag is framed and mirrored against several pieces of artwork. Standing alone on an accent wall makes the flag pop and gain prominence amid a scattering of other art in the room.

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Nostalgic Clothing

Teal Vintage hall tree

Vintage or nostalgic clothing -- especially framed baby clothes and swimwear -- looks adorable behind glass. Alongside a modern structure like this turquoise entryway organizer, clothing pieces conjure memories from the past.

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Fashion Sketches

art and headboards

Pages from a vintage-style doll calendar look glamorous framed overhead. Surrounded by inexpensive gold, the prints contribute feminine flair to a girl's bedroom. Find fashion sketches in magazines for your own creative inspiration.

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Living Art

succulent picture painted frame

Create a living work of art in which soil is the canvas, plants are paint, and a picture frame serves as a planter. A succulent-packed frame can become a beautiful miniature vertical garden. These easy-care plants have no problem being propped sideways and require minimal watering.

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Retro Food Labels

White frames on scalloped shelf

For a one-of-a-kind art display, turn to vintage food labels. Framed in white and placed among neutral decor, these brightly-hued images really pop. Find similar labels on thrift store decor or flea market finds.

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Architectural Plans

Wall art

If you have any hand-me-downs of old architectural or landscape plans, they might be the most interesting item to frame yet! Imagine hanging this garden design near the window overlooking your yard, or hanging a vintage blueprint of your home in the dining room. Lovely!

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Book Jackets

Books as Art

Does anyone actually keep the book cover on their hardcover book when they read it? Don't just throw it aside; frame it! Book jackets hang on the wall of this office, while vintage accessories personalize the work space.

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Paint Chips

Pop-Art Photo Gift

You can print this DIY wall art at home. Pick up large gradient-style paint chips from your local paint store and trim to standard photo size. Convert an image to black and white on your computer, then feed the paint chip into your printer to print the photo. Arrange the images as a set in vertical frames for a unique and stylish look.

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Stamp Collection


Stop keeping your stamp collection in that old book! Instead, tack, mat, and frame them on your wall. They make a retro statement in an office or guest room.

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Grandma's Embroidery

Framed Art

Remember that dish towel grandma embroidered? The one you put away in a box so you wouldn't ruin it? Take it out; we have a better use for it. Tape it taut to a piece of cardboard that fits your desired frame. Hang it in a gallery wall display and enjoy!

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Vintage Photography

Framed Art

Old documents and photographs display history and quirkiness above a sofa. A soldier pictured on a bike during his service and a photo of a basketball team provide a bygone backdrop in this living room. Just for fun, a sketch of a monkey lightens up the expressive and educational exhibit.

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