Friday, March 08, 2013

Another Frame Restoration & Art Post

I decided to get out of the house the other day and go thrifting at Value Village. I often walk away empty-handed, but on this trip, I found a few treasures.

I was there mainly to look for more old frames to frame some of the art from a few posts ago. I ended up finding this:

I initially liked it mainly for the frame, and I didn't think much of the painting, but as I turned it over, I got more interested. Althought it was professionally framed, someone had torn the back open.

The canvas has a sticker on it with an eagle from the "American Photo Supply Co." of Chicago. I was only able to find ONE other photo of a similarly labeled canvas on the web, and that painting was dated 1949. The top also shows a stamp from the "American Art Co. - Distinctive Pictures - Picture Framing - Quality Artist's Materials, Tacoma Wash." This company is actually still in business.

I'm fairly sure that it's oil, but it's not very shiny, so it's either been left unvarnished, or it could also be gouache. Either way it's a pretty decent painting, and I only paid 5.99$ for it. The frame will need just a few touch-ups to the gold paint.


Last night, I stumbled onto another old frame that I had in a box in the basement. I don't remember where I got this one, but it was probably a yard sale find. It looks exactly like a gilt antique mirror (the kind with the fragile gesso/plaster decorations), but it's actually FOAM. It must have been cast directly from a mold made from an original frame because it has all the details you would expect to find on the real deal.

The original paint was gold, but then someone painted it white (and did a sloppy job of it). As purchased:

I wanted it "antique gold" again, but stripping it was out of the question, so I just sanded-down the paint blobs, and gave it 2-3 light coats of cheap, bright gold spray paint.

Obviously the new gold paint is too bright and fake looking (especially if you put it next to an old antique gold frame), so I remedied this by rubbing-on a medium brown glaze with a paintbrush and a rag.


It looks like it might have taken a lot of time, but the entire thing was done in just a few hours (most of the time was waiting in between the thin coats of spray paint, since I was doing one side at a time, and rotating the frame every 15-20 minutes. The glazing process only took about 15-20 minutes. The last step was a light coat of satin varnish (also aerosol).

This frame will go on the church litho print.


I also scored some curtains for the Office, which need slight modifications to work, so stay tuned for those soon (ish).


  1. Great frame transformation! All my art is still packed up, though I'm hoping to get to it all this year.

    1. I want to do a gallery wall, but I'm not exactly sure where (probably right over my PC in the Office) but It won't be for a while, still. I actually just finished framing the litho print. I had some spare glass that I cut to fit, and it's all framed and ready to go.

      Side note: I also just missed out on a guy selling about 50+ frames (older ones, some oval, some gilt, some plain) for 20$ (for all of them):

  2. That frame is PERFECT for that print. I don't know if I've seen (or noticed) a foam frame before? I'll have to pay more attention.

    1. Literally the only way you can tell it's foam is from the back. The front does have a few small bubbles here and there, but you really have to look for them. This is probably the only "foam" frame I've ever come across. It has advantages (light, won't come apart at the seams - since there are none, and looks good), but if it were to get nicked, it would be hard to fix.