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3 Fresh Ways to Use Vintage Frames

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by Sabina Mendez
(Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

Do you have a favorite vintage frame, an old relic passed down by your grandmother, or an overlooked treasure you pulled out of a box at a yard sale? As you contemplate the possibilities for the perfect spot and subject to let that vintage frame shine its brightest, these ideas mightwork for you. Vintage frames, with their elaborate scroll work or layers of peeling paint, may shine brighter if used for something unexpected.

Make a Tray

If your frame has the glass intact, using it as a tray is a cinch. After checking that the back is a sturdy thin plywood or press wood, add handles by choosing appropriate hardware handles from a homeimprovement store, or search for vintage handles at a salvagewarehouse. Drill tiny pilot holes to protect the wood, then put the screws in place. If the frame is rough, a handle made of rope may be the best choice. Attach it with wire hangers. What will you put in your frame-tray? A print or photo could be nice, but why not an object or collection of them, such as an heirloom handkerchief, or a handful of sand dollars? To protect table surfaces, cover the backing with a piece of felt cut to fit the bottom just to the edges of the frame.

Prop Several on a Shelf

A grouping of several frames – vintage finds or re painted favorites – can make an understated elegant display that compliments other objects on the shelf. Group frames of the same color, but choose different sizes, and, if you prefer, types of molding. Play with the arrangement by layering until you’re happy with how it looks. Alternatively, you may want to hang a group of empty frames on a colorful wall. Painted a similar color (white is stunning), follow the same method of looking for the arrangement that pleases your eye best. Consider hanging a tiny frame in a large one, or an asymmetrical grouping.

Suspend a String of Trinkets

With a jute cord or satin ribbon, you can use a frame to support a clothesline-type display of favored objects Use jewelry jump rings to attach the items, or use the cord to secure each one at intervals if the shape of the object allows. Use this idea to display baby things, like a collection of silver spoons.

Updated: September 27, 2013 — 4:02 pm

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