10 Artful Uses for Old Frames

An empty picture frame is the quintessential blank slate. Sure, you can fill it with a photo of your dog, a poster, or a drawing. But why not take it further? With a little outside-the-box thinking, a frame’s possibilities are practically endless. From a planter to a jewelry holder to an herb dryer, this collection showcases 10 brilliant ways to repurpose frames to make useful items for every part of your home.

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  1. Dry Idea


    With a drill and a bit of chain from the hardware store, this clever blogger transformed three old frames into a drying rack. She uses hers for herbs, but it would also work well for sweaters, artwork, or anything else that needs to be air-dried.

    Related:  16 New Ways to Store Kitchen Accessories


  2. Tray Chic


    To dress up the dessert table at a wedding, or to serve your own kitchen creations with extra style, consider making a set of these trays. Simply spray-paint old frames, then slip a pretty patterned paper under the glass.

    Related:  17 DIY Mini Bars to Mix Up Your Home Decor


  3. Mini Greenhouse


    Inspired by a pricey model she spotted in a home store, this DIYer crafted a charming peaked-roof terrarium from plain wooden picture frames. The cover’s panels are hinged, making it easy to open the structure to give plants a little TLC.

    Related:  12 Tiny Gardens You Can Grow on a Tabletop


  4. Forget-Me-Not Board


    Every busy kitchen or entryway needs a memo board for lists and reminders. This easy dry-erase version starts with a 5"x7" shingle of aluminum step flashing, available in big-box home stores. Simply slide one of the metal sheets into a frame of the same size, hang or prop it in a central spot, and stop forgetting stuff!

    Related:  Under $50 - 10 Must-Haves for an Organized Desk


  5. Style Files


    A pair of timeworn and hopelessly plain file cabinets get spiffed up with picture-frame “crown moldings” in this ingenious project. The frames are glued onto the drawer fronts, then covered with a fresh white coat of paint. This DIYer even added a desktop and a toe kick to turn the two file cabinets into one attractive unit.

    Related:  11 Ways to Keep Your Real Desktop Organized


  6. Power Up


    This countertop charging station is a budget-friendly solution to cord clutter. Glue scraps of wood trim to the frame backing to hold phones, and snake cords through tiny holes cut into the frame backing with a craft knife. The station can be painted in any color to match your room’s decor.

    Related:  10 Smart Cord Management Solutions Under $50


  7. Vertical Garden


    To make this living artwork, the homeowners stapled chicken wire to the back of an old frame, then nailed wood strips along the edges to create a shallow planter. After filling the "garden" with spanish moss and cactus soil, they nailed on a plywood backing, flipped it over, and planted a selection of succulents in between the chicken wire for a stunning display.

    Related:  Growing Up - 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens


  8. Bling Thing


    To showcase a jewelry collection and keep its pieces from getting lost or tangled, consider this super-easy idea. Cup hooks are screwed along the interior edges of an open-backed frame. Hooks along the top hold necklaces, while those down the sides are perfect for earrings.

    Related:  10 Closet Cures That Cost Less Than $100


  9. Shadow Play


    Shadow boxes look sharp and are a great way to turn potential clutter into awesome wall art. This handy homeowner crafted her own by constructing simple boxes from wood strips, then gluing them to the back of some old frames.

    Related:  10 Ways to Unleash the Potential of Your Blank Walls


  10. Card Game


    Those heartwarming holiday cards from family and friends deserve their moment in the spotlight. Here, an old frame is cleverly repurposed for the season with some lengths of ribbon stapled to the back. Cards are secured to the ribbons with tiny binder clips.

    Related:  5 Creative Ways to Display Your Holiday Cards


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