In our modern, waste-conscious society, some of us can have trouble parting with old items, even if they’ve seen better days.
Perhaps you already have some lying around that are a bit worse for wear.
Maybe you’ve managed to find some photo frame gems in thrift shops and want to incorporate them in a new project.
If you haven’t, you’re going to want to after reading this.
There’s plenty of ways to bring your old photo frames back to life and re-purpose them completely.
Photo frames can be a great asset in lots of crafting projects, so we recommend hanging on to them if you can and try to re-purpose them to reduce waste and provide an attractive addition to your home.
Here’s a list of 15 of our favorite upcycling ideas, why we love them, and where you can find more information and tutorials.
Repurpose old photo frames into a chalkboard
This foolproof project is perfect for repurposing newbies and those who like manageable crafts. Fortunately, it can also be super budget-friendly. It involves painting the glass of your frame with chalkboard paint or spray paint.
Be sure to apply at least two layers and ensure there are no unpainted gaps. The end result is truly stunning and it makes a quirky addition to a busy home. It’s great for jotting down daily reminders or shopping lists.
Here’s a great tutorial to help you out.
Repurpose old photo frames into a mirror
Old photo frames can come in a variety of funky shapes and can be ideal for transforming into a mirror.
You can do this by either simply taking the pane of glass out of an old mirror and putting it behind the frame or buying a pane of glass to fit your frame. You can paint your frames with gold spray paint to add an ornate antique twist.
This project is easiest if you work with rectangular or square mirrors.
Repurpose old photo frames into a serving tray
Due to their flat and often rectangular shape, old photo frames can make great serving trays. You can paint your frame to suit your style and decorate the tray by inserting patterned wallpaper where you’d usually put your photo.
You can pick up little handles made for drawers and cupboards pretty cheap from DIY stores, these make great handles for a serving tray. Simply screw in the handles and, voila! Your breakfast-in-bed game just reached another level.
Find a full tutorial here.
Repurpose old photo frames into a message board
If you’re looking for a stylish yet resourceful way of displaying your important letters and notes, how about turning your old picture frames into a message board?
Simply choose an ideal picture frame and spray paint it evenly in your desired color. Next, cover it from the backside using a piece of pretty patterned fabric and secure it in place with staples.
Your board is now ready for you to start adding your messages, notes, and pictures on it using cute push pins. Decorate your message boards in your own way using custom embellishments and experiment with different fabrics and patterns.
Full project instructions can be found here.
Repurpose old photo frames into a tiered cake stand
If you have multiple old picture frames that you’re looking to repurpose, a tiered cake stand is a great option. You can make either a two or three-tier cake stand, or even more if you dare.
You can do this by attaching wooden candlesticks to the underside of picture frames and securing them tightly with screws or super strong glue. You can customize your cake stand by either adding wallpaper on patterned printables.
For a more neutral look, simply paint the frames and candlesticks in your favorite color.
Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide.
Repurpose old photo frames into a mini pincushion
Do you ever notice those tiny little picture frames and wonder what on earth you can use them for? It turns out that clever online crafters have found a perfect and adorable way to put them to use, by repurposing them into mini pin cushions.
You can do this by painting the frame in your desired color. Next, cut some foam cushion to the shape of your picture frame, cut and stick into place. Choose an attractive fabric to cover the padding with and staple it into place.
Now you have a stylish pin cushion. You could even attach your miniature picture frame pin cushion onto a soft bracelet or hair scrunchie to make a super convenient bracelet pin-cushion. These are great for keeping your needles safe and nearby when sewing.
Find the full tutorial here.
Repurpose old picture frames into a DIY mini terrarium
This is probably the most labor-intensive restoration on this list, so this one will require some know-how and some elbow grease. You can start by removing the backing and glass from all of the frames so that it’s completely hollow and you can put your hand through it.
You then drill these frames together to form a square box shape, almost like building a little house. You’ll need to attach utility hinges along the side joins to allow for an open and closing door mechanism.
Use wooden blocks cut to shape to fill in the roof cavities and get your hands on some mini window panes to create a greenhouse effect. Finally, paint the frame of your terrarium, put in your favorite plants, and store on a windowsill that gets plenty of sunlight.
This may seem a little complicated, but here’s a great in-depth tutorial to guide you.