Gold Painted Frames: from Cheap to fab

green wall, gold framed paintings
The Breakfast Room, Calke Abbey, Phil Sangwell, United Kingdom, Wikimedia Commons

Gold painted picture frames add beauty for pennies. Chalk paint, spray paint, acrylic paint, latex paint, craft paint, even milk paint or genuine gold leaf can work beautifully over inexpensive frames from the dollar store, Walmart, yard sales, or Goodwill. I love to paint picture frames because it’s a quick and easy way to add interest to a room. Painting an old frame is a perfect way to start that gallery wall you’ve been dreaming of. Start with one painted frame and add on as you find more, or go out to your thrift store or dollar store and buy all the frames you want to fill up a wall, and paint them all at once. If you’re lucky, you might find some charming antique frames and thrift stores or yard sales. If you’re not so lucky, metallic paint can do a great job. Paint will stick to an old wooden frame easily. It will work great over metal frames, too. But don’t pass up plastic frames. Paint can turn blah plastic into a beautiful frame.

I wanted some gold painted frames for my new cozy English style library. I had some old artwork in the form of posters, but posters were not going to fit my home décor vision.

Here is the video I made for you about turning cheap plastic frames into gold. If you prefer to read, I put the transcript right after the video down below. I added a supply list, too, for easy reference.

Supply List

For this decor project, you will need:

For this decor project, you will need: A picture frame. Or picture frames. I used these from Walmart:

Canvas drop cloth

Paint brush. I used this Purdy angled brush.

Damp cloth

Sandpaper or sanding block

Valspar EE2015B, Driftwood, Interior Signature, Semigloss, Base B

Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass


I wanted this room to look like that picture of Calke Abbey, this one here where there’s these big beautiful oil paintings and gorgeous antique gold frames. Only problem is, I don’t have big oil paintings and I don’t have gold painted frames. So what to do? Can I turn these super cheap frames from Walmart into something that will look like a million bucks in my new English country house library?

Hey, this is Kathleen from and today I am going to try to make the cheapest frames I could find at Walmart into something that looks like a beautiful, aged gold frame for my new library. So let’s get started.

Prepping the frames for gold paint

These are a little different from other frames you you you work these corners until the glass pops out. Okay yeah, okay perfect, so yeah you just you go around each corner and you just kind of push and then your glass comes out.

And it’s got a little cardboard back. I’m going to paint over my little uh, glass front frame. I’m gonna get the edge and then actually I am also gonna paint the side. When you are painting these kind of frames make sure that you paint on that edge and then also on the inside because just a little bit of this inside vertical side does show when you put your picture and glass in. I found that out the hard way by putting in my picture and glass and seeing that there was a little black line, so I had to take it all out – and it was a big mess – and go back over it.

Oka,y my 20 by 30 frame. I already went ahead and put the poster in there that I wanted in there because the plastic doesn’t seem to detach from the black frame. And I just didn’t want to, I tried to pop it out and it didn’t seem to want to go, and I didn’t want to run the risk of cracking it. And if I get any paint splatters I’ll just, you know, scrape them off. Or wipe them off with a bit of paper towel.

I am going to take a little sanding block and just kind of go over this super shiny plastic because i think that might help it grip a little better.

Basecoat is essential for metallic paint

So the first thing I’m doing is painting the base coat driftwood semi-gloss, which is what you’re supposed to paint as the base coat to the Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass. And it’s going okay on this super shiny plastic. It’s – it’s covering about as well as I would expect. Okay, so here is the frame after two coats of the Driftwood color base coat. It has stuck to the plastic pretty well. You can still see some of the black plastic frame shining through, but it’s nothing that I’m worried enough about to go over it a third time. Pretty – it was easy – I didn’t get any drips on my plastic, I mean my glass. I just used this, I think it’s a two inch Purdy angled brush, and I was able to stay on that edge and avoid getting on the plastic altogether, which is nice, but i had a rag here just in case. This is how it looks after one coat of the driftwood base coat. It sticks better to this plastic because it’s not as shiny as that other plastic and I don’t – I’m not even going to go over it a second time. This will be good enough. I’m trying to use just the corner of my brush so i don’t get the plastic. The laziest picture frame painting, just wanted to do a quick project. But no, seriously I think on these poster frames the plastic’s not even meant to pop out, you know, they’re just, they’re very, very inexpensive. This one was six or seven dollars.

Gold Painted Frames

And here are the finished products. Here’s the fatter frame with the – that was that shiny plastic and now it’s gold, not too shabby.

gold painted frame

Of course it’s the same paint as I used up there on the trim, and again here’s the two Bruegel posters with their faux metal frames. The narrow little gold around the edge. I think they look pretty good.

two gold painted frames

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If you’re interested in painting things to give a rich effect, you’ll enjoy my post French Country Style: Give Your Furniture Parisian Patina. If you love English Country Style, check out my post, English Country Style: A Cozy Home Library Color Palette.

English country Style: A cozy home library color palette

green-walled library

Green is the perfect color for a home library. It is cozy, soothing, and classic. I made a video about the color palette we developed for our home library. We wanted an English country house feel. A masculine room – an elegant man cave. I hope it helps you choose the best green for your room.

If you prefer to read, the transcript follows the video.


Hey this is Kathleen from and today I wanted to talk to you about a great color palette if you’re looking for a cozy green palette to do a home office or study or library.

The color palette is Sherwin-Williams Lounge Green, Sherwin-Williams Rookwood Shutter Green trim, Sherwin-Williams Ivoire, ceiling, and Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass.

I actually took these colors from a color match from Farrow and Ball colors because since I was going for an English library look I wanted to look at English paint. Farrow and Ball Breakfast Room Green for the walls, Farrow and Ball Studio Green for the trim, Farrow and Ball String, and there’s no metallic paint for Farrow and Ball so I don’t have a match for that.

red chair, green wall
Our Green Library
carved fireplace mantel
Our Home Library

I think green for a library or home office is awesome if you want that English country look. If you look at pictures of English country libraries, they’re not all green, but a lot of them are.

green walled library
The Library at Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Francesca Grima, Unsplash
table, chair, lamp, books
Calke Abbey, Derby, UK, Nicola Nutall, Unsplash
green paneled library
English Library of the Queen Anne Period, 1702-50, Narcissa Niblack Thorne, Art Institute of Chicago
green wall, gold framed paintings
The Breakfast Room, Calke Abbey, Phil Sangwell, United Kingdom, Wikimedia Commons

The English seem to love green and then too I think that if you get the dark green trim and the bright green walls, it can really evoke the English countryside, or your countryside, where there’s so many different shades of green from light to medium to dark outside and bring that in and it’s such a cozy feel.

stone wall in field
Hope Valley, Peak District UK, Magda V, Unsplash
grey clouds, green valley
Mam Tor, Hope Valley, UK, Greg Wilson, Unsplash
stone village, clouds, green peaks
Ambleside, UK, Maria Ilves, Unsplash

This is Hughenden Manor where prime minister Benjamin Disraeli lived. This is his study.

green walled library
Hughenden Manor by Simon Q, Wikimedia Commons

This is Todd’s warehouse in York, England, which I guess they had a library in their warehouse. It looks absolutely beautiful.

green-walled library
Todd’s Warehouse, Stonegate, York, York Museums Trust

And here you can see that beautiful dark greeny blue trim that goes so well with the brown color of books. I wonder if they used Studio Green.

dark green bookshelves
Trinity College Dublin Library, Henry Be on Unsplash
dark green trimmed bookshelves
Trinity College Dublin Library, Gabriel Ramos on Unsplash

So these are just great colors for our study, we’ve got Ivoire Sherwin-Williams on the ceiling, and then brass metallic paint by Valspar on that crown molding, Rookwood Shutter green, Lounge Green on the walls.

green, gold, ivory walls
Our Home Library

I love English country style. If you love these topics too and you have a passion for them, please check out my blog Thank you so much for watching.