Turn old art into modern art: Try this trick

Greetings!  If you're looking for a simple way to add a little fun and whimsy to your walls, than read on!  I originally wrote this post in December 2015, after discovering a trick to making awesome wall art out of the ugly stuff at second hand stores. I was inspired to update that post and share it with you today, as I ponder what type of art to create for an upcoming room make-over!    


Are you ready? It's complicated.....(not!) Remember when we used to say that, "not"? Lol Believe it or not, there is hidden greatness in some of the ugliest old framed art pieces. at second hand stores.   Let's dig right in to some tips for finding these gems, and what to do with them.....


1.  Sturdy frame and surface.  It helps if the surface is in decent shape as it will decrease your prep time, and make your life much easier when you go to "transform" it!  (I'll cover that later). The less repair time and prep time, the better.  

2. Unique, or ornate frames:  These are the best for this type of project.   Capitalize on this uniqueness and showcase it!  Bottom line:  go for the frames that have character.   If you're like me, you don't want to spend a ton of time prepping or repairing the picture! 

3.  A way to hang the picture.  Old pictures can be extremely heavy and might not have hardware at all. Consider how you'll add that hardware.  Do you have a wall that can support a really heavy picture?   Replace old hanging wire, any attachments or screws as needed. 

4.  A workable surface.  This project is designed for pictures that have a flat surface that can be painted.  These pictures are usually unframed, with the painted or printed surface exposed. That's the surface you'll paint.  Some are smooth, like painted canvas.  Some are "artificial" canvas, like a paper almost, and some have a fabric-like surface.  Any of these types of surfaces can be easily painted, which brings us to the WHAT to do with them part.....

Both pieces featured in today's post involve paint.  There was no prep work at all.  Both had intact hardware.  All I had to do was come up with a plan, and start painting (I am limited to lines and geometric patterns!)   

Picture #1: 

The chalk lines you see are from me.  I sketched out the design before I began painting.  I had also just painted the frame black before taking this photo.  

Here is the same picture after painting: 

Supplies Needed:

  • Old picture/frame
  • Paint (acrylic, craft paint)
  • Brush (foam or synthetic brush (same brush you'd use to paint a wall

If you want to avoid brush cleaning, use the cheap-o foam brushes.  They are so cheap it's not worth cleaning them afterward. Saves time, and makes this project much more enjoyable all-around!  

The second picture is smaller, and I left the frame as is.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a "before" picture but here's the "after": 

Picture #2:

Supplies used:

  • old artwork/frame
  • Paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Brushes foam brushes!  
  • tape measure (if you prefer not to eye-ball it)   

How to make it:

1. Paint the whole surface white (or the color you want your stripes to be). Let Dry. 

2. Apply painter's tape in whatever pattern you want.  I made just two lines with the tape for this pattern.  

3. Paint the other sections using colors you want

And boom. There it is!   

A simple way to turn old art into chic and modern art!  

Now, on to figuring out what to do to this gi-normous picture......Stay tuned! 

Did you like this idea?  See more posts on other creative ways to accessorize your home: