Dress up an old frame by retrofitting a new one on top!


Let’s face it; framing is super expensive! And while a gorgeous frame definitely adds to the effect an artwork has, it can be a costly exercise. Here’s how I took a painting from beautiful to stunning in a few short steps!

This oil on board still life with flowers is by far my favourite of my mom’s work. Mom is an artist at heart and has produced countless paintings over the years. The style and colours of this painting remind me of renowned South African artist Irma Stern’s work – if you haven’t yet visited her home and museum in Rosebank, Cape Town, make a plan!

My dad made the frame, and while it has merit, it didn’t suit the décor of my home. A larger, more prominent frame was needed, so I got to work!


How to dress up an old frame


You will need:

  • Wooden skirting (I used a 94mm profiled skirting)
  • Mitre box and hand saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint (I used matt black water-based enamel)
  • Brush or foam roller
  • Caulking gun with cornice adhesive



I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to measure at least three times and then measure again. The success of this project depends on your accuracy! I wanted to leave a little bit of the existing frame exposed, so I measured what the interior length of the new frame should be.



Using the mitre box and hand saw, cut the corners of your skirting at 45° angles. Always check before cutting that your measurement for the INSIDE EDGE of the frame is still correct. Then quickly sand the cut edges to ensure that they are nice and even.



Paint the 4 pieces of moulding in the colour of your choice.  Remember to paint the 4 sides as well! Allow to dry.



Use the cornice adhesive to fix the moulding to the existing frame. Weight it down if necessary to ensure that it dries in the right position.



If there are slight gaps at the corners, fill those in with your cornice adhesive, using a clean wet cloth to wipe away any excess. Allow to dry.



Use a thin brush to paint the adhesive to match the rest of the frame. Then hang up and admire your new artwork!

Happy DIY-ing!

Comments · 3

  1. Our family has been putting our names on the back of pieces in mom’s home for years for one day, so now you can add my name to the back of her painting together with your green console table 🙂 Well done, it honestly makes it pop now…

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