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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Antique Frame

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I wanted to show you how to recreate those wonderful antique carved frames that were so popular in the past. I have been working my way through all of my mom's belongings that I inherited and there are a bunch of pictures of all kinds in this type of frame. They are all sizes and the designs are all very different. The things that they all have in common are they all have a carved design (some very detailed and some very plain) they were made of wood and painted with a brass or gold paint to look like what they are not and they have all gained a wonderful patina of age over the decades that they have been around. Most of them have a slight blackish coating on them and that is what I think makes them look so warm and wonderful.

Since I would bet a lot of families have some of these frames either displayed or stored away I thought it would be nice to show you how to make some for the dollhouse.

I think I will be putting mine in the attic of one of my dollhouses at least for now.

I mentioned on the video that I also think this could easily be translated to a fun project for real size. I know when my kids were little I had them make most of the gifts they gave at least to family and I think this would have been a winner with both the kids in making it and the grandparents receiving it. Just pick a rather plain frame and some heavy laces that are wide enough for the frame. Let me know if you do this I would love to see the results.

Now onto the project.

The frame in the video is made with craft skinny sticks, a staple for a lot of us. I love them because I can find them almost everywhere that has any craft supplies (even my grocery store has them) and they are cheap. Some packages are better than others and try to peak through the packaging to make sure you are getting relatively straight sticks. The other frame I showed was made with another craft room staple, craft sticks. These are also easy to find and cheap and if you eat frozen Popsicles at your house they are free.

This is one of those projects that really does require the two glue method and is much easier to do on a tile so you can let it stick down while it cures. As you see in the video it is easy to pop back off the tile when dry. Since the glued area is so small I decided to add the insurance of gluing on some card stock to the back. I wanted to make sure my frame wouldn't fall apart while I painted it and also since I haven't decided if I will add a picture of not to the frames I felt this was important. If you know you will be gluing your frame to a mirror or picture and want to skip the paper backing feel free to do so.

When choosing lace you could use any flat lace that will fit on the frame face. The more depth to the design the more detailed your frame will look. The lace on the craft stick frame has a mesh between the motifs and on the frame looks less detailed than the heavier narrow lace on the projects made with the skinny sticks.

I almost always do a base coat of some kind under metallic craft paint. I find it is a bit thinner that the regular craft paints so it doesn't cover as well. Also it is usually a bit more expensive so I prefer to base coat with a regular paint and save the metallic for special use. Your base coat paint won't really show but if you look closely it may add a warmth or coolness to the finished color. I did a test strip of 4 different choices for base coat. Use what you have on hand or do a test strip if you are looking for a certain effect. Be sure to not clog up the holes in the lace with paint, blot out any excess so the texture is still visible.

After all the paint is dry it is important to add the black wash to finish off the frame and make it look old. For this wash I simply had a small container of water and dipped my brush back and forth between the black paint and the water to get a very thin wash. Then I used a dabbing and I guess swabbing technique to coat the frame. Follow this immediately with a dabbing and wiping with a paper towel to remove excess wash. Repeat these steps until you get the finish you want.

Paint colors used in this video

Deco Art Hunter Green

Ceramcoat Bright Red
Ceramcoat Golden Brown
Ceramcoat Black
Ceramcoat Metallic Bronze


  1. J'ai beaucoup aimé la vidéo sur le cadre doré!
    Merci !!

  2. Thank you! I am going to make myself a mirror and some frames! I am also going to try it on my dollar store wood furniture and see how it looks. You are amazing!

  3. this is just what I need, thank you very much :)