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How to Upcycle Old Picture Frames with Decoupage

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I’m all about decluttering, but what happens when you come across something that just needs a little repurposing to bring joy into your life again? In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to upcycle old picture frames with decoupage.

Plus, there might be magnets involved. Time to get excited!

Upcycled picture frame with printable recipe cards and washi tape pencils

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. For more information, please see my disclosures.

It All Started with An Old, Ugly Frame

I could feel it. The urge to go thrift store shopping was slowly creeping up again. I mean, just look at all the thrift store makeovers invading Pinterest! Everybody’s doing it!

But wait. Marie Kondo taught me that I need to declutter my house first. So I began talking to my house and saying goodbye to my joyless possessions, and that’s when I stumbled upon an old picture frame. I knew it had good “bones,” as Chip and JoJo would say.

Supplies for upcycling a picture frame, including Mod Podge, clippers, metal sheet, frame, scrapbook paper and paint

I also knew I had quite the stash of Mod Podge, scrapbook paper and paint supplies cluttering up my craft space. Two problems solved!

Several years ago, my sister-in-law gave me a nifty magnetic recipe card holder, and I immediately knew I wanted to make something similar using this old metal frame. With its built-in kickstand, this frame was destined for kitchen greatness.

Upcycled Photo Frame Recipe Card Holder

For the best visuals, watch this short video of the tutorial in action…

>>Subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

What Not To Do

Before you begin, let me save you some time experimenting with “magnetic” supplies. I originally thought I needed a magnet sheet to create my recipe card holder, and I loaded up on a huge value pack of those.

Guess what. Magnets don’t stick to those!

As it turns out, you really should just use a steel sheet like the one I’ve linked below. You will, however, need a good pair of snips to cut through the sheet.

Supplies

Note: For this tutorial, I use a 4 x 6 inch metal frame, but you can use any size you like. I will reuse the glass insert from the picture frame in a future post, but you will not need it for this project.

Instructions

In the video tutorial, I show all of the steps to prepare your picture frame. You’ll begin by painting the frame and cutting the metal sheet and scrapbook paper to size.

Painted metal frame and decoupaged metal sheet used to create a magnetic recipe card holder

I used a decoupage technique to apply my scrapbook paper to the metal and sealed it with two more coats of Mod Podge on top.

Hands writing on a recipe card on top of an upcycled frame that is magnetic

I also added two coats of clear acrylic spray to both the frame and the metal sheet. While this step is optional, I love the shiny finish it gives my decoupage projects.

See my complete guide on how to decoupage on wood for another project example.

Painted frame upcycled to use as recipe card holder with hand holding magnet

Bonus: Download Free Recipe Cards!

Since I envisioned this as a place to prop up my recipes, I decided to design printable recipe cards that I’m sharing with you for FREE!

These gorgeous but simple floral cards would make a great DIY gift along with an upcycled picture frame.

Recipe cards with floral design and gold washi tape pencils

You can also learn the secret to making gold pencils like the ones above by hopping over to my post with free printable bridal advice cards.

More Upcycled Picture Frame Ideas

While I used this old frame as a recipe card holder, there are countless other possibilities! Instead of using a metal sheet, you could also decoupage paper onto the glass insert and attach a clip to the top of the frame to hold notes or cards.

Here are a few more upcycled photo frame ideas:

Before you throw out that old picture frame, give it a second life with these easy tips. Please comment below if you end up doing this project or have questions. I read every comment, and I love hearing from you!

You might also like:

Complete guide for decoupage on wood
Easy DIY decoupage wood signs
Easy decoupage wooden spoons
Patriotic garden stakes for the 4th of July

Don’t forget to pin it for later!

Magnetic upcycled frame made with decoupage insert and recipe cards

Thanks for stopping by!

First Day of Home signature
Magnetic photo frame with floral background used as a recipe card holder

How to Upcycle Old Picture Frames

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5

Learn how to upcycle old picture frames with decoupage and paint to create a magnetic recipe card holder.

Materials

  • Empty picture frame 
  • Scrapbook paper 
  • Galvanized steel sheet
  • Acrylic paint 
  • Mod Podge 
  • Clear acrylic sealer spray (optional)

Tools

  • Metal snips
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush 

Instructions

  1. Paint the frame with 2-3 coats of acrylic paint.
  2. Trace the glass insert onto the metal sheet, and cut to size using metal snips.
  3. Repeat step 2 with scrapbook paper.
  4. Apply Mod Podge onto metal sheet, and place scrapbook paper on top. Let dry, then seal with another coat of Mod Podge on top. The metal sheet should be completely covered by the paper.
  5. Optional: Apply a coat of acrylic sealer for a glossy finish.

Notes

You do not need the glass insert for this tutorial, but you can save it for another future craft project.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag @firstdayofhome!


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8 Comments

  1. Hi Crissy!

    I just wanted to let you know that you are one of my features this week at Homestyle Gathering.

    I am always looking for ways to prop my recipe cards when I’m using them. This little project solves that problem! Thanks for the inspiration!!

    And thank you for joining us and sharing at HG!

    >>> Kim

    1. Hi Kim! Aww, thank you so much! I’m honored to be featured. I love what you and Julie have done with HG, and I enjoy participating with you.

    1. Thanks, Lauren! It’s a fun one to do. Cutting the steel is the hardest part, but I was able to do it myself with no problem. I plan to make more of these to give away, too.