I found a cute vintage style frame for 99¢ at a thrift store, and really liked those raised details! I wanted to bring them out with farmhouse highlights. I’m actually working with 2 frames in this post, so keep reading to the end.
The plan was to paint it first with black, then follow with white and distress so the black would show through…my project for the Monthly Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge.
I’m always looking for an easier way to get the look I love, rather than always chalk paint and dark wax, which I don’t like working with.
Learn more about the Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge below
The Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge
We bloggers challenge each other to create something from a thrift store find. It can be anything! We can spend any amount to create our own respective masterpieces. Other than the cost of the 2 frames ($2.98), I had everything else on hand.
- Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
- There’s no monthly theme.
- There’s no budget to stick to.
Meet the Hosts
Back to the Frame Project~
My usual method is to sand a bit first to minimize any glossiness, but I discovered the frame wasn’t wood, but possibly resin. After applying 2 coats of black spray paint, it didn’t seem to be sticking very well. I was positive I let it dry long enough.
Yes, that sucker dried for 2 whole days, but when I barely touched it, the paint peeled right off. UGH! I felt like tossing it in the trash, but I don’t give up so easily.
Well really, I think it’s because I spent money on it, so it’s not going in the trash!
I sanded a bit to see if any more paint would come off. I didn’t want more layers lifting off with whatever I might put on top of it. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t stick. After all, chalk paint sticks to everything right?
Since I had just been reading about Gesso, I decided to give it a try. I already had it on hand from another project I’d done some time ago, but it landed in the back of all my paints and I forgot about it. I was ready to experiment with it again.
What is Gesso?
If you haven’t tried Gesso before, it comes in white, black, and gray, in various size bottles, and is found in the artist’s paint section of craft stores. Artists use it to prime their canvases, but it can also be used as paint or as a paint supplement. You can water it down and use as a wash, or use it full strength from the bottle. You can mix it with paint, as I decided to do here.
Ways to Mix It~
No rocket science, I just poured a little Gesso into a plastic pudding cup I was using…maybe a tablespoon, then added another tablespoon of white chalk paint. I’m estimating…I truly didn’t measure anything. Then I applied it to the frame with a narrow bristle brush.
I was hoping it would stick, but I was prepared for the worst.
Success! I don’t have a photo of it dressed in white, but it worked.
What I totally love is how the beautiful highlighting effects on the details were achieved!
Are these not beautiful?
An Easy Way to Highlight
I found a product giving these wonderful effects…Dixie Bell Grunge Glaze. I’m not being paid to say it either…I just like the product. I like it much better than using Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax because my fingers don’t come in contact with the material at all, and I don’t get that sticky, messy feel. A little goes a long way too.
If you decide to try it, don’t be taken aback by the color when you open the jar. It looks light gray like this. But it dries a delicious dark brown…just the way I like it!
The Second Frame is Really a Tray
Here’s the second $1.99 thrift store frame I experimented with, and it looks pretty good on its own, I admit, but I wanted a different look. No hanger on the back, so it could be a tray.
I alternated my Gesso/paint mix with Grunge Glaze in several layers, and used a light layer of Annie Sloan Duck Egg in between. I’m trying to decide if I want to highlight with Rub n Buff gold. I’m hesitating because if I don’t like it, I’ll have to start over.
I could fake it and say I’m crazy about the second look. I’m not. I think it’s missing something. I’ll continue to experiment as time goes on, but I love look #1!
I hope I’ve encouraged you to experiment with Gesso and Dixie Belle’s Grunge Glaze. It’s a nice alternative to dark wax.
And now for more thrifty goodness!
Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!