A DIY: Hand distressed painted picture frames

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about going to the Ruby Rhino Furniture painting workshop and all the inspiration and confidence it gave me to get on with a DIY painting project that I have in mind, (coming soon to the blog!) While we were there we also were allowed to paint a photo frame that we then took away with us to practice our technique and Hannah has very kindly allowed me to share a brief overview of what is involved. I’m pretty proud of mine!

I chose to ‘distress’ mine as it was my favourite look, but this was of course only 1 of several techniques we mastered on the day.

So here is how you could make something similar for your home, with thanks to Hannah and her Dad at Ruby Rhino for showing me the techniques.

1. First, take your chosen frame and give it a very light sand over to give the paint a ‘key’ (otherwise known as a bit of grip!) The paints we were using actually didn’t require this but I think it’s good advice for most projects, it certainly won’t do any harm.

When you are ‘distressing’ a piece, you remove a top layer of paint to show either a contrasting colour underneath, or perhaps to reveal the actual wood. In my case I wanted to have another paint colour coming through so I started with my base colour of mid-grey and gave it a single coat all over the frame.

2. After allowing it to dry, you then rub a piece of candle all over the frame, concentrating on the areas that would naturally get the most wear to make the distress look authentic – think about the corners and any raised parts of your frame. This is where your first coat of paint will eventually show through. Be liberal!

3. Next, apply a second coat of your contrasting paint – this will be the colour of the final piece and I chose a deep turquoise blue.

5. Once the top coat has dried, take a piece of light sand paper and start to buff off some of your top coat, gently revealing the colour underneath. This takes time and don’t go too heavily – or you’ll go straight through to the wood. Take it slowly and keep standing back to look at it and decide where it needs more distressing. Most importantly – know when to stop!

6-7. Once you are happy with the effect you have created, apply a layer of soft clear furniture wax all over the piece and allow to dry. Once dry, buff it off with a soft cloth, to seal your paint effect.

And voila!

The print you see here in the frame is by Brighton based photographer Cassia Beck on Etsy that Hannah sells in her shop. I decided to fill the frame there and then, as it’s often had to find something that suits once you get home and the photographs were beautiful – see more here.

Do let me know if you have any questions and thanks once again to Hannah from Ruby Rhino. I’d highly recommend the course if you have a project to plan, if only to give you the confidence to tackle to job!


My Month… June

The end of June is nigh which means Wimbledon, warmer weather (fingers crossed) and Barbecues with lots and lots of Rose. Or something like that. In the meantime, I’m looking back at my month, through my Instagram snaps. Enjoy!

  • Meeting up with friends post holiday for dinner at Australasia and wearing my new French Connection beaded top.
  • Nail kit out ready for the wedding we attended in Scotland at the beginning of the month, held in a marquee on the loch. See my print match outfit here and my destination guide here.
  • Trying out my new Bite lip colours – read the review here.
  • Toes in the sand at the beach wedding ceremony and embracing the traditional decor at the Glenfinnan House hotel.
  • Living in my Hunter Wellies…
  • Busting out my new Anthropologie forks for Michelle visiting for lunch and inspiring chat.
  • Visiting the Chanel nail bar in Selfridges Bull ring with my sister and choosing this peachy orange shade to take away with me (the polish is thrown in as part of the mani!)
  • Coldplay concert!
  • The gorgeous coral peonies I got from Blossom and the various shades of coral, pink, blush, peach, lemon and cream they turned as they aged.
  • Blue nails later in the month – Nails Inc Baker Street.
  • Admiring my handiwork from the Ruby Rhino furniture painting workshop – Did you read my review? There’s a special offer for readers booking onto the course!
  • I got my holiday Instagram snaps printed out @Firebox. Next thing, how to display them?
  • A pair of Zara sandals I lusted after but didn’t buy – did you know the Zara sale starts today?
  • Ahem, a sale purchase. Least said about that little splurge the better…
  • Finally getting round to making my accessories cupboard more useable and displaying my necklaces.
  • Loving this combination of deep lilac stocks with white freesia against the grey walls in our living room.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this months round up… what did June bring for you?


Found: Ruby Rhino

This morning I wanted to share a find that I came across via Kates a while back and have been saving to share with you, Ruby Rhino. Hannah Ricci the owner, reclaims old furniture and then gives it a whole new lease on life with a coat or two of paint and some clever finishing techniques. The pieces range from mid century modern to a much more classical look brought bang up to date with bright colours.

If you’re looking for a statement piece to finish off your home, that one time splurge to give it personality that you’ll love for years to come, you should definitely take a look.

Every home needs a little bit of fabulous and that’s what we aim to provide at Ruby Rhino with our eclectic collection of upcycled and painted old furniture. Each piece is completely unique and sourced for its vintage style then lovingly restored, hand-painted and finished to give a sparkling new lease of life.

If perhaps you think you could attempt something similar yourself, then you might be interested to know that Hannah runs workshops on painting furniture. There are several coming up with just a few spaces left (although there will be further dates announced soon.) I am attending one with my Mum on June 16th so maybe I’ll see some of you there!

The classes begin with the basics of choosing paint and other essential tools, before moving onto tips for professional application and a wide range of different techniques. You’ll learn how to layer paints and create authentic aged effects, as well as creative tricks such as colour washing, distressing, cracking and creating texture.

We are also hosting a pop-up shop over Jubilee weekend (2nd-4th June) at the Heart of the Country with our furniture as well as some fabulous vintage finds and stylish homewares from British designer-makers.

Do you like readers? I can’t wait to brush up some distressing and painting techniques I’ve picked up over the years and see if I can up-cycle some of the salvaged pieces in my home.


Remaining workshop dates (as of the end of last week,) include:
19th May x 1
16th June x 1
30th June x 6
7th July x 6

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