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How to Repaint a Picture Frame

Repaint a Picture Frame
Photos by Ruby Bayan

How to Repaint a Picture Frame. When you decide to change your home's décor theme or color scheme, one of the easiest transformation tasks is to repaint dated picture frames. Turning an old wood grain frame to contemporary solid black can make a dramatic difference in the look of your walls. Here's how.

Things You'll Need:

  • Old wood grain picture frames
  • Black spray paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Drop cloth, used paper, newspaper or plastic sheet
  • Rag
  • Glass cleaner


When choosing paint, consider the finish that will work best with your room decor-glossy, semigloss, satin, metallic, flat, matte or textured. You can use brush-on paint instead of spray paint. This would be a good time to clean the glass pane. Dirt can also build up on the inside of the glass over time. Consider colors other than black. Frames that used to belong only in the study because of their wood grain effect can be moved to the kids' rooms after being repainted in pastel or bright and bold colors. Make two-tone or multicolored frames by using painter's tape to define the different color areas. Silver and gold will make good highlights on black. Purchase frames from dollar stores, thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales, and then spruce them up by repainting them with your favorite colors. Use paint formulated specifically for metal and plastic when repainting metal and plastic frames.


  • Allow the repainted frame to dry completely to avoid sticky accidents and possible chemical effects on the photo. Be very careful when handling the glass pane.

Remove the backing board, matting, photo and glass pane from the picture frame.

Protect your work area by laying a drop cloth, used paper, newspaper or plastic sheet.

Lightly sand the painted or varnished surface of the picture frame to allow the new paint to adhere to it. Wipe the surface clean.

Spray black paint making sure to cover all exposed areas. Don't forget the corners.

Spray a second coat if desired. Let dry completely according to the paint manufacturer's instructions.

Replace glass, matting, photo and backing. Then it's ready to hang.

Remove photo and glass pane.
Protect your work area.
Sand painted surface
Spray paint new color.
Replace glass and photo.
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