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How to Make a Window from a Picture Frame

I'm so excited to show you today how to take a picture frame and turn it into an old screened window!  Often when I start on a new project I have no clue what the end result will be.  I'm not really a planner, more of a maker-upper-as-I-goer.  When I first started on this project I had no idea it would turn into another window, but I'm so glad that it did, I absolutely love it. :)

I've noticed that when I make up craft projects as I go, I'm more likely to think of using things that I already have around the house (or garage).  Sometimes, like in the case of this window, I'm able to make them without spending any money and that really makes me happy!

Originally I made the wispy wreath and hung it on the wall.  Then I took an old frame that I had, painted it in Apple 4 (my free sample from Valspar) and hung it with the wreath.  After looking at it for a few days, I searched the garage, found a piece of window screening, and stapled it inside the frame to add some interest.  It was when I saw the screening in the frame that I realized it would make the perfect window.  I went a bit backwards (a hazard of making it up as you go) and added the grids to the frame last, which was not the easiest way to do it.  The final touch was adding the orange daisies about a week later.

Window Frame 
  • Old frame:  Any large frame will work, check around your house, or at a thrift store.
  • Paint:  Whatever color you like, you can get a free paint sample from Valspar or use paint you have
  • Stain:  Dark Walnut
  • Trim for window grid:  You should be able to find it at Home Depot or Lowes.   It's 3/4" wide and flat with rounded edges.
  • Screening:  I used a piece of plastic window screening that I already had.   I bought it several years ago at either Lowes or Home Depot, I think.  I don't remember the cost, but I know I didn't spend a lot on the roll.
  • White/Off White Paint:  I used SW Alabaster semi-gloss paint leftover from another project.

Wispy Wreath
  • Wreath:  $2.99 from a local craft store
  • Daisies-- $3.00 on sale, which was a splurge for me, but I thought it was worth it.              
  • Other flowers--$2.00, two stems from the dollar store.  The flowers aren't even glued in, just poked in between the branches so they can be changed easily
  • Ribbon:   I used a piece that I had, it wouldn't cost much to buy 1/2 yd of ribbon. 
  • My Total Cost:  $7.00

How to Make A Window From a Picture Frame 

  1. Decide where you want the trim pieces to go for the inside and cut them.
  2. Paint the frame and trim pieces.
  3. Glue the inside trim pieces in place.  (They should fit in the rim where the glass usually is placed.) 
  4. Staple screening over the back.  
  5. Hang a wreath over it. 
*Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the process, sometimes it's nice to just make something without the camera out.  Also, I wasn't confident that it was going to work, obviously my four year old (and best helper) wasn't either:

This was our conversation while he was watching me rub the white paint onto the frame:

4 year old:  Mommy, what are you doing?
Me:  Well...I think I'm ruining this.
4 year old:  Pauses, looks at the frame, and then says matter-of-factly; "You am Mommy, you am wuining it."
It was just too funny!  I love his honesty. :)

Here's how you can 'wuin' the paint on your frame too:
  • Paint the frame with Apple 4 from Valspar or whatever color you like.
  • Sand to distress
  • Stain over it with Dark Walnut Stain.  Using a cloth, rub the stain on and then rub the excess off with another rag until it's as dark as you'd like.  (The longer you leave the stain on before you rub off the excess, the darker the wood gets.)
  • Using a rag, rub on white paint is some areas, making sure you don't cover all of the base color.  I found that rubbing the paint on over the stain helped the paint to clump up some and look old.
  • Sand to distress
  • Stain over it again with dark walnut stain until it's as dark as you'd like.
I am so happy with the color and finish of this window.  The stain darkens the green paint, makes the white paint appear silvery and really brings out the distressed areas too.  (It's hard to see the effect in a picture.) 

 So now I'm curious, what are you
Are you a planner or a maker-upper-as-you-goer? 

Edited to Add:  I was asked why I made a window instead of just buying one, I've got a few reasons and thought you might like to know them too:
  • I've looked for old windows at thrift stores, but haven't found any yet that were nice enough to buy.
  • If I bought an older window from a thrift store, I'd run the risk that it might have lead in the paint, which could be a huge pain to remove and an extra cost too.
  • I was able to make it for free, and found a purpose for a few otherwise useless items that were hanging around the house.
  • I like that the screened 'window' is light because it doesn't have any glass in it.  This means if my kids 'accidentally' knock it off of the wall it won't hurt them.
Today's Fabulous Find...How to Make a Faux Window from a Picture Frame

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gail@My Repurposed Life said...

I definitely make it up as I go along, plus I fake it a lot too! :)
I love the look of your "window". The wreath is fabulous too!
great job!

Amy Watson said...

Oh, I really like this! I usually start off with a plan, then when things start to go differently, some adjusting is in order--because my crafts never go as planned! I guess I need more practice!

Jill Franklin said...

Faaabuuulous! ...but I think it would be best if you made one for me. *most cheesy smile Ever!*

Sandi @ The Primitive Skate said...

Wow! I really Love this window. Girl, you are too talented. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Designed by Chance said...

Wow that is great. In art school I learned that when something is not right you have to just keep working with it. Your work is a testament to that.

Ms. Craftsalot said...

That is so great! I would definitely like to try and make this! Thanks!

farmhouse-story said...

i love this window--awesome!

Ruth said...

I love this idea. The screen instead of glass is brilliant.
I just stopped by from TCB's Get Your Craft On.


thomas said...

This one is really one of the great creative thing. And the the window which comes actually picture frame is really looking just fabulous.

picture framing

Karen said...

Janet- That is so pretty! I can't believe how great it turned out! I know what you mean about taking pics of the can be a pain, and what if it doesn't turn out? Well, yours did and it's so pretty! I am a maker upper as I go along to! You did a fabulous job! Have a great week:)

Anonymous said...

This is darling and looks like something I would put in my house! I love the bright cute flowers! So fun!

Teresa@magazineyourhome said...

Excellent and very creative! I'm going to try this tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration.

Lynette said...

Really cute! You are inspiring me to make something for my own house. :)

Anne said...

Love this! We have a blank wall in our living room that would be perfect for this kind of project. I think yours turned out great!

As for being a planner or a make-it-up-as-you-go-along'er, I tend to be both. And each way definitely works! :o)

Lauren - My Wonderfully Made said...

I think this is so great! I DO have an old window frame and the first advantage I can see to making one is the weight -- less of it your way! It's beautiful!

Esther Asbury said...

I'm so glad you shared this adorable project on here! I love old windows, but don't really have any means of getting one. Now I can "get the look" with a frame! BTW --Yours is gorgeous!!!

Nancy @ Wrapped In Love said...

Love the window and wreath! I am a planner that ends up making it up ;)


Laurel {Make and Takes} said...

It looks great!! I'd love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at

custom picture frame said...

Ohhh! This one is very amazing window picture frame.I like this window frame.This window frame look very attractive and beautiful.

Brandy J. said...

I just found your blog and am your newest follower. Thanks for the fab projects and inspiration. I will definitely be stopping by often! Oh, and I'm a half planner half maker up. It just depends on how the mood hits me that day. :)

Megan said...

what a great idea. at first I thought you wrote your post title backwards...then I got it!

so clever.


liberal sprinkles said...

This looks great! I like the idea of using a screen. Thanks for sharing. I came from Serenity Now, have a great weekend!

Carri K said...

Great idea! I picked up some old windows at the ReStore. With concerns of lead paint, it kind of ruined my excitement. Should they be stripped completely? I know nothing about how to work with them should they have lead based paint. :(

Janet said...

In reply to Carri: You know I don't know a whole lot about lead paint on windows, only that if the paint is peeling or flaking it can create lead dust which can be harmful, especially to children. With the large number of people that decorate with older windows, I'm surprised we don't hear more about lead paint concerns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has some really helpful information that I think might help to answer your question.

Also, Thrifty Decor Chick wrote a great post on how to test for lead in paint.

Stephanie @ The Cozy Old Farmhouse said...

This is awesome! I've been picturing a wall vignette for my daughter's room using an old 6 paned window, but haven't been able to find one for cheap. I bookmarked this post and am going to try to do it this way. Thanks for the inspiration! Stopped by from FJI.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

It's lovely!! An excellent tutorial. :) I love those pretty, long branches on the wreath! Job well done!

Thanks so much for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. :)

Esther Asbury said...

Featuring this on my "Walk Around Blog Land" today.

Erin @ His & Hers said...

So pretty! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I think this is amazing! I have some old windows already, but I like this idea better - for some of the same reasons you mentioned above. I have a rambunctious 20-month old son and I worry about his climbing habits... Something light has very high appeal to me. And I'm currently stripping the paint off my windows, in case they have lead in them... pain in the behind! Thanks so much for sharing!


All Things Fee said...

This is amazing! Would love for you to share on my new link party!

Rhonda said...

I love what you did with the frame!!! Great job!!! I am now following you! I hope you will drop by my blog sometime and follow me!! :-) I am participating in my first "Before & After" with Thrifty Decor Chick!
Looking forward to getting to know you!
My before & after:
Follow me on Twitter: Twittle__Dee

Unknown said...

I love the step by step pictures! pretty wreath!

I am having a fine art photography giveaway by Melanie Alexander. Check it out!
I am having a fine art photography giveaway by Melanie Alexander. All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me which is your favorite image.check it out!

Johnnie said...

This is a great project. Very creative. I have a ton of frames I have gathered from thrift stores and goodwill. Thanks for the inspiration.

Saved By Love Creations

cucumbers and vinegar said...

What an inspiring project! I can't wait to make one for my own home. =)


Your projects are so cool! I love them! Thanks for sharing. =)

The Messy Roost said...

Hi Janet, This is so awesome. I have had my eye on it for a long time and I am finally making one for me. I will link back to you. I could not believe what a great idea, I would have never thought of it. I have looked for vintage windows and they are very heavy and expensive. Thank you so much for sharing.

Rhonda @ The Messy Roost

I am totally in love with your blog.

Janet said...

To Messy Roost: I'm excited your making one! I don't know if I would have thought of it if I didn't have such a hard time finding windows. It all worked out, and I've really loved the window.

Rolly Corvin said...

I love the picture frame window! The fact that you used fresh flowers to make it is an excellent idea. This way, the kinds of flowers on display can be changed as easily as the change of the season. That wall decor would look perfect on one empty wall I have in my kitchen. :)

M and M plus 3 said...

You have some of the cutest ideas and tutorials. I found you via Pinterest and most certainly subscribed to your blog posts. Your style is lovely and represents how I feel to the "T". Thank you for sharing.


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