How to Transform Ikea Frames into Vintage Inspired Art

Two frames containing watercolor art against white shiplap wall

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If you got your first apartment sometime in your early 20’s my bet is that at some point you filled an entire vehicle with Ikea furniture and home goods. I also bet if you’re now in your 30’s, you might be thinking of replacing some of those Ikea items with something a bit more mature. Now, I love Ikea and I think their pricing is great. I still utilize a ton of the stuff I bought there in my early 20’s. But as far as my design style goes, the Ikea items don’t quite mesh anymore. So, I had the idea to create this super easy DIY to turn my ikea frames into vintage art.

The Easiest DIY You’ll Ever Do:

Black ikea picture frame with adhesive pearls and rub n buff gold paint against white counter top

For this DIY, I will be jazzing up some very basic Ikea frames that I had in a closet. SO much cheaper than buying all new picture frames, and just as beautiful. If you love super complicated, difficult DIY projects this one is NOT for you. The entire process took me about 15 minutes and cost less than $20. This is simply the fastest and cheapest way to make inexpensive ikea frames look vintage! It’s not fancy but it gets the job done!

Woman’s hand holding rub n buff vintage paint against white background

What You’ll Need to turn Ikea Frames into Vintage Art:

Let’s Get Started:

Step 1. The first thing you’ll want to do is take your frame apart so no adhesive or paint gets on the glass of the frame. Next decide on the placement of your adhesive pearls. For the adhesive pearls, I used the largest size for this project. I debated placing the pearls in the middle of the frame sides but decided to line them closer to the inner edge of the frame. The adhesive makes it SO easy to quickly line the frame edges. Make sure your lines are straight!

Woman wearing red shirt applying pearl adhesives to black frame from ikea

Step 2. Once your pearls are applied and you’re happy with the presentation, the next step is the rub n’ buff paint! This product is seriously so great. I’ve seen other home DIY’ers recommend it but this was my first time using it. Its basically a chalky paste that is easy to spread and dries super fast. Make sure you have something (drop cloth) under it because if you get it on your surface/clothes it dries too fast to easily remove it. I did a light layer of the paint on the frame and rubbed the paint in with a soft cloth.

Woman in red shirt and jeans holding vintage inspired art frame

Step 3. The more paint you use/the more coats you do, the more matte and solid the paint will appear. A little goes a long way with this paint. If you want more of a rustic look you may want to use less product so the underlying frame shows through a bit. I was going for an antique but NOT rustic look, so I did two coats for better coverage.

Woman’s hands using brush to paint gold picture frame with vintage inspired gold paint

Step 4. To get the paint in the cracks between the pearls, use a q-tip or a small paint brush. I did the q-tip strokes between my first and second coats so that I didn’t have any streakiness on the frame. This paint is super super matte which I love. I think having too much shine or gleam with gold paint makes it obvious that it’s not old. The paint really absorbs into the grain of the wood also which I think creates a more authentic look.

Woman’s hands painting ikea vintage frame gold on white drop cloth

Step 5. I let the frame dry for about 15 minutes between coats. If you feel like there is a lot of residue left on the frame after it has dried, take a soft cloth and lightly wet it with mineral spirits. Wipe the frame down. This is what Rub n’ Buff recommends for cleaning. I let the frames dry overnight but they were dry to the touch within 15 minutes.

Gold vintage ikea frame with watercolor print hanging on shiplap wall

Here is the finished product! Not bad considering how cheap and fast this DIY was. I layered a few mats and printed my art on watercolor paper which I think adds another vintage touch.

Vintage gold ikea frame with watercolor print against shiplap wall

If you are looking for a lovely, vintage-inspired piece of art click here for a free download!

Woman holding Gold picture frame with water color against green wall

How to Make My Free Printable Art Look Vintage:

  • I recommend using a linen paper or watercolor paper when you print my free download! This makes the quality so much better!
  • My download is a 5×7. If you want the art to fit a bigger frame, select the ”fit to page” option when printing.

I hope you enjoy this method to turn your ikea frames into vintage art. What other IKEA hacks do you want to see?

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