Paint picture frames - creative ideas for designing

If you design a picture frame individually, the picture or photo that it shows becomes a unique individual piece. We have compiled some creative ideas for painting and interesting facts about painting in our article.

Which picture frames to paint?

Picture frames are basically made of three main materials:

  • Wood
  • plastics
  • aluminum

Plastic and aluminum are not as easy to paint as colors on metal or plastic surfaces are difficult to hold. In general, this would require special adhesion promoters, a lye or similar measures - but that's not worth the effort and is just difficult for painting.

But they can still foil such surfaces and creatively transform them in this way.

Paint wood

Coated wood should be sanded if you want to completely recolour it. If you just want to paint a pattern on an already existing surface, the sanding can be omitted.

For a wooden frame that has already been painted or coated, you should always make sure that the existing coating is even paintable or overpaintable. This is not always the case with all coatings - but usually it works.

If you are looking specifically for a picture frame for self-painting, you should best put on raw wood frame. For these frames, painting is usually the easiest.

Which colors?

Very good is the painting of wooden frame with tinting colors. But also possible are acrylic paints (they adhere very well and form a stable surface) or even water colors. It is always important to fix the color with clear lacquer at the end.

design ideas

Here are some ideas on how to design your picture frame:

  • Vintage style
  • Dot pattern
  • contrasting colors
  • decorations

Vintage style

If you want to make a vintage frame out of an ordinary wooden frame, you only need to paint it with special vintage paint or chalk paint.

You can achieve an even more pronounced vintage effect if you then treat the still wet color with textured sponges. This allows you to create strokes and cloudy patterns. You can apply a second color to a primed paint to create interesting color changes between the two colors.

Dot pattern

You can easily paint on a base color with dots pattern. The effect is often amazing. Simply paint circular, spiral or other shaped dot patterns with a pen - and let the effect surprise you. Many frames then look completely different.

contrasting colors

It's always a good idea to simply paint two frame pages or two halves of the frame in contrasting colors. Black and white is a classic, in practice, other color combinations are often more visually interesting.


Paint hearts, circles, diamonds or other geometric shapes on the frame. You can also combine this with contrasting colors by always painting the patterns with the other color in the contrast area.

Of course, you can also paint much more elaborate patterns and make the picture frame as multi-layered as a mandala.

Tips & Tricks

You can also paste rhinestones or other small objects on the frame to create an extra effect. Let your imagination play!