When it came to the finished look of the frames, each sibling wanted something different. One wanted all black paint, one wanted all natural wood stain, and one wanted a combination of the two (black cross pieces and natural outer edges). After prepping the frames with painter’s tape to protect the glass, I was ready to begin the final parts of the restoration.
The paint I chose to use was Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Typewriter, which can range from a dark gray to a dull black depending on how thickly it is mixed with water. (Real milk paint always comes in powdered form. Anything in a can or bottle is oil or acrylic based. Answers to questions about milk paint can be found here) I mixed it in an equal ratio of paint to water, and applied two coats to the frames.
Wood stains are easy to find at hardware and craft stores, and the directions for using them are not difficult to follow. If you have not already, sand your frame lightly in order for the stain to better adhere. The most essential part of the process is finding a place with good ventilation while applying the stain to the wood. I moved the frames outdoors for this step, because even with all windows open and the air cleaner running, my place reeked of wood stain after I applied the first coat.
When the paint and stain had dried, I removed the painter’s tape and used a razor to scrape any tape residue, paint spots, or stain spots that were on the glass.
Even though the frames were going to be hung on walls and didn’t stand much chance of getting water spotted, I wanted to seal the milk paint and chose to use a beeswax finish. Rather than pay for an expensive finish online, I found a simple recipe of just olive oil and beeswax (In case the site with the recipe ever disappears, here is the text that I copied from it). Hobby Lobby carried the beeswax pellets recommended in the recipe, and I had extra virgin olive oil in my cabinets already for cooking. I used a makeup sponge to apply the finish to the frames. I buffed the frames with a soft cloth until the cloth came away clean, and then washed the glass until it too had no more wax residue.
The final finishing touches were to add wire for hanging the frames and matting to rest behind the glass. I found picture wire, 2-hole ring hangers for the wire, a panel of acid free matting with 1/4″ foam (from which I cut twelve rectangles to size to fill the space behind the window panes), and turn buttons to hold the matting in place at Michaels. Wire was essential to use rather than simple sawtooth hangers because of the weight of the frames.
The directions were simple to follow, and so I measured the frames, marked where I needed to attach the rings, and proceeded from there.
For the turn buttons and matting, I installed one turn button on each side of each window pane, for a total of sixteen turn buttons per frame. This seemed sufficient for holding the matting in place.
For my sister’s frame, I taped photographs to the glass, applying the tape to the back corners of the photos, slid the matting into place, and it was complete. No glue is totally acid free, per my photographer brother’s research, which is why simple clear tape is the best adhesive to use.
Matting isn’t necessary to use. The frames would look just as beautiful, if not more so, with just a wall providing color behind any artwork.
If you have any questions about the steps of this process, please comment or message BlogBeeMom.
Thank you so much for reading and being a part of this adventure!