Stay up to date with every post!


Receive one email a month with links to our most popular DIY, fashion and decor content. Sign up below.

February 18, 2016

I Was Framed!

Greetings, friends! As my lovely bride and I continue to streamline and organize our home (yeah, that may take a while), we have come across quite a few items that we have put aside for framing. With the average trip to a professional framing shop easily running $100 or more, we wondered if perhaps Goodwill could offer a less expensive option for displaying and preserving our memories. Well, as is usually the case, Goodwill did not disappoint, and with a little elbow grease and creativity, we got the job(s) done beautifully, for much less!


This is where we started. For $9.00, I picked up four framed pieces of art that no doubt delighted their former owners, but didn’t exactly suit our tastes. No matter, though, because it was only the frames that we needed. (Please do not take offense if a hand-colored coat of arms, a bizarre closeup of a giraffe, and what must have been the prize of all the 1980s watercolors at someone’s Meemaw’s beach house speak to your decorating style.)

The first recycled frame was that of the giraffe. After removing the backing and the photo, I realized that the backing, itself, would work nicely as an ersatz mat for a pair of antique British postcards. All it took was a little duct tape (yes, I’m a guy) folded over on itself to secure the cards to the backing…


…and our forced-perspective giraffe is now a tiny travelogue from the early 1900s. Rule, Britannia!

With the English theme established, I decided to keep moving in that direction (shocker) with a very old but beloved sketching of Durham Cathedral, which had been sitting in a plastic sleeve since I bought it on-site more years ago than I care to recall. It seemed only right that the frame formerly protecting the Jordan coat of arms (most likely done in some young Jordan’s 11th grade art class) should begin its new life displaying an ancient English church. Again, making use of the “mat” that was provided, I simply flipped the coat of arms and centered the sketch against the off-white paper. The slightly distressed quality of the frame nicely complemented the slightly yellowed quality of the drawing, creating a slightly antique effect.

From this…


…to this


in less than ten minutes, for a grand total of $1.75.

“But what,” you may ask, “became of that outstanding beach painting that may well have once graced the set of The Golden Girls?” Well, fear not, because it got the biggest makeover of all.

Last fall, I had the privilege of performing in Chapin Theatre Company’s Noises Off, which is honestly one of the funniest plays ever written. I wanted to commemorate the experience in some sort of special way, and Goodwill did not let me down on this quest. After removing the painting from the frame, I covered the cardboard backing with a section of a red curtain I bought for $2.00, creating a surface that is not only attractive, but winks at the show-within-a-show structure of Noises Off. Duct tape was once again employed.


A cast photo centered at the bottom fills the frame nicely.


…and what of the Degas print? Well, once it was cleaned up, we liked it so much, we decided to leave it unaltered, and it now resides in our bathroom. Some finds are perfect “as is”.


Grand total, not counting framed items: $11.



Frank & Laurel




  1. Love this idea! I have picked up so many beautiful frames from estate and garage sales for a minuscule fraction of the price that you would find in store. Not only beautiful and economical, but adds to the story.

  2. I’ve done the same thing. I was looking at very large mirrors (and cringing at the +$100 prices!) when I happened to find a really large picture outside of a dumpster. I cleaned up the frame and had a glass business put in a mirror for me. $35 for a HUGE mirror is awesome.

  3. Most of what you assert happens to be astonishingly appropriate and it makes me ponder the reason why I hadn’t looked at this in this light before. Your piece really did turn the light on for me personally as far as this particular subject goes. Nonetheless at this time there is one factor I am not necessarily too comfy with so whilst I make an effort to reconcile that with the main idea of your point, let me observe what the rest of your readers have to point out.Nicely done.

  4. Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. That is an extremely neatly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your useful info. Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely return.