Check out our DIY faux vintage metallic personalised pet picture frames. This project is an easy upcycle, converting old or inexpensive frames to custom home decor for pet-lovers or other personalised designs. Our personalised frames are a matching trio for the three pets – the dogs generously conceded that Tiger deserved one as well. To coordinate with our home decor and keep things versatile, the frames were finished in faux vintage silver metallic, but there are tips in the post below for other finishing styles and shortcuts. Upcycling the frames is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require much hands-on time, but you will need ample time for dry-time in between painting.
Supplies and Materials
To make your own faux finished personalised frames like the ones shown in the post, you will need a recycle-ready picture frame or a new bargain buy with a thick flat border, suitable paints, thick dimensional alphabet stickers (thickers), and painting supplies including paint brushes, masking tape (optional), gloves (optional), and rags, paper towel, or sponge and water for applying the faux finish.
- Picture frame
- Paint(s) and painting supplies
- Dimensional alphabet stickers
Frames for Upcycling
I scored the three frames in this post from the clearance section at a local department store for a whopping 97 cents each. And those are NZ cents so extra cheap! The chevron pattern wasn’t raised, but had very different finish texture. Fortunately, my trusty hammered metal paint (also used in these metallic decorations) has amazing coverage and is awesome for masking surface variations. I used silver hammered metal paint and faux finished with antique gold and black craft paint.
Tips: Frames can be finished in other styles, colours, and finishes to suit your personal taste. The hammered metal makeover also looks great without the faux finish. Plain paint is an easy way to refresh a old frames or bargain buys to cover damage, make them better fit your decor, or create a cohesive collection for a gallery wall.
Letters for Personalisation
Alphabet thickers come in all sorts of different font styles and sizes. I had a few different packages already in my craft stash, and opted for a simple all-caps slightly irregular font. These are the same thickers as we used to make custom stamps. I have some fabulous script and handlettering thickers, but all capital letters were a better option for my frame project because of the lower case descenders on the “g” in Tiger and “p+y” in Humphrey.
Whatever style you choose, make sure that they are made from a material and finish that will be easy to paint. Hammered metal paint is very versatile on many surfaces and my thickers were basic foam.
Shortcuts: If you don’t want the letters to look like part of your frame like our all-metal faux vintage metallics, no prob! You can start with a basic pre-finished frame or refinish a frame to suit your style, and then simply personalise with thickers (or other stickers). So easy! Go crazy with colour, or keep it classic with a basic black or metallic frame and contrasting letters. There are some gorgeous thickers out there – foil metallics, glitter, puffy gloss…
Tips: Don’t want 3-D personalisation? Other stickers will do, of you can cut your own patterns using a Cricut or similar. You can apply your design as a sticker or use it to create a mask. Check out the custom Cricut masking used with the painted garden markers on our partner blog Green in Real Life. This technique would make a beautiful picture frame. In fact, if I had a Cricut back when I was making my frames, I might have used this technique instead!
Making the Personalised Pet Picture Frames
Preparing the Frames
- Remove the backing and glass. If needed, lightly sand and/or prime the frames.
- Ensure the frames are fully clean and dry before you begin painting.
- Optional: Mask the back sides of the frame if not painting. I did mine this way. Masking is optional of course, but painting is messy! Alternatively, you can remove the backing clips for painting if you are finishing the whole frame.
If your frames are new, don’t recycle those little paper corner protectors just yet. They make handy rests to place under the back and hold the frame off your drying surface when painting. Keep the paper photo placeholders, too. They’re perfect templates for trimming your photos to fit the frames.
Base Painting the Frames
- Prepare a painting work area in a suitable well-ventilated location follow all of the safety guidance on your chosen paint product.
- Paint the frame per the application and re-coat instructions of your chosen paint.
Hammered metal paint is one instance where we are happy to use a low quality or single use brush as clean-up is a nightmare with this paint. Bonus points if you paint multiple projects at once! Wrapping the bush in cling-film will keep it usable for the next coat.
Personalising the Frames
Once the base is covered completely and (at minimum) touch dry, you can apply your thicker letters to personalise. See shortcuts and alternative methods above.
- Apply thickers to the prepared base frames to personalise.
- Paint the thickers to blend into the frame per the application and re-coat instructions of your chosen paint. Take care to ensure you have gotten all those tricky little corners, insides, and edges. This is a great time to do any touch-ups if needed elsewhere on the frame as well, including inside/outside edges.
- Once fully covered, allow to dry completely.
Applying the Faux Vintage Finish
If applying the optional faux finish, using small quantities of craft paint, incrementally dab, wipe, and/or wash to create a faux aged look on your hammered metal base. Less is more – it’s easier to build up and add than take away (you can always repaint and restart at worst case though!).
Using a vintage gold or bronze paint will add some warmth to the cold silver metallic base and the black will help to create age and grit. Apply a little stronger at the edges, corners, and any raised areas like the letters to simulate the natural ageing of metal. If you are making multiple frames, like shown, try to get create a similar amount of ageing on the full set for cohesion.
Using the Frames
- Once all painting is finished, allow to dry completely.
- Remove the masking tape (if used) from you backing.
- Replace the glass.
- Insert photo, replace and secure the backing panel.
- Enjoy the frames for yourself or gift to someone special.