Learn the easiest method to create your own gilded frame to help you hang the gallery wall of your dreams! Gold gilded frames are so much easier than you might think, and you’ll soon have a high end look on a budget.
It’s easy to create the look of expensive gilded picture frames. Learn how with this simple step by step tutorial that can elevate a single piece of art or create an entire gilded gallery.
This post was originally shared September 10, 2012 and updated with fresh content and information August 19, 2021.
Chris once asked me, “Can’t we just buy something as is?” Ah, I wish it was that easy! Unfortunately, you can’t always get what you want. My motto is, if you can’t buy it, create it.
I saw a gallery wall of Pottery Barn gilded frames and knew it would be a great fit for the gallery wall I wanted to create. Unfortunately, at the time they don’t offer them in 11×14 – precisely the size I needed.
I love the look of gold and brass and have used it in our homes for many years. If you love the warmth of this pretty color, too, don’t skip my posts about Brass Lighting, Unlacquered Brass Hardware and even Unlacquered Brass Faucets.
First, let’s look at the final result of my latest gallery wall:
The top center frame was purchased as-is from Michael’s. I wanted heavy molding for the middle frames and wanted one to offset the others. At the time that I shot these photos, I had hung it up empty, and actually loved the look!
I did eventually add another sketch style piece of art there, but it’s beautiful without, too, in my opinion.
What is Gilding?
Gilding is very simply the process of applying gold leaf or gold paint to any object. It can elevate the simplest furniture and home accessories, giving them a little sparkle and shine.
The term “to gild” encompasses a variety of decorative techniques for applying gold leaf or powder to surfaces. It can be applied to wood, stone, metal and more, to give any solid object a thin, artistic coating of gold.
Methods of gilding include glue, chemicals, paint brushes, and more. Gilding has existed for centuries, and of course, original gilded frames are considered significant antiques.
Luckily for us, it’s easy to get the look of a gold gilded frame without much money at all!
I found these grey washed 8×10 frames at World Market and printed favorite quotes onto artist paper for a more authentic look. “What I love most about my home is who I share it with.”
Back to gilding…I searched a few thrift stores for heavy molded frames without any luck that day, so I ran to the craft store and picked up one of my favorite $4 supplies – Rub ‘n Buff.
It comes in various shades (I used the Antique Gold) and it is easy to use. This little tube is deceiving. I completed all three frames on one tube!
DIY Gilded Frames Tutorial
The original frame just wasn’t my taste, but I saw potential in it. To be honest, this doesn’t feel like much of a tutorial, because it’s that easy.
I go into more detail about the joys of Rub n Buff here, if you’d like more information on this gem of a product!
I applied the Rub n Buff as follows:
- Make sure your frames are clean and dry.
- Tape off the glass in your frames, if necessary.
- Use disposable latex gloves to protect your hands.
- I just put a dab on the frame at a time and worked the “paint” in with my finger.
- To mimic the frames that I wanted to purchase, I left the finish as-is, but just as the name implies, you can buff the paint off with a soft cloth for a clean, smooth finish.
- Allow to dry and remove any tape.
Rub ‘n Buff is incredible for most any solid surface, including items that were previously painted, wood, plastic, ceramic, glass, and metal. It is permanent and is very durable, but it is best used on surfaces that aren’t touched often, such as these gold gilded frames.
Can you believe I paid just $8 for this frame? Just 10-15 minutes per frame to achieve the look.
Anything imperfect is perfect to me. That’s likely why I was drawn to the frames!
Gilded Frame Tips
- Work quickly as Rub n Buff dries fast.
- To get the paint in the nooks, I used an inexpensive foam brush.
- Immediately buff it off in rough areas with a soft cloth if you’d like a more perfect sheen.