Thursday, May 24, 2012

Re-purose old Windows into Photo Frames {Part 1}

If you are a regular to my blog, you will know that I love to create.

I also love a good project, especially when it involves something for my home. Be it creating new cushion covers, crocheting a blanket, making curtains or blinds, painting a new color on the walls or simply re-arranging the furniture!

Last year for our anniversary, my hubby bought me a gorgeous photo frame. This is no ordinary photo frame. It is an old window (with 6 panes) that had been converted. And made to look pretty shabby-chic. The more "old" something looks, the more I love it! I was so happy as I had been wanting one for ages. I finally had a place to put all the kids pre-school professional photo's into.

However, since then I wanted more of these frames. They are just fabulous if you have a "collection" of photos you want to display.

Then recently I got a call from my mom in law to tell me she saw some old window frames on the sidewalk of a second hand business, going for really cheap. So I zapped down and sure enough, they were going for only R55! {$6.60 or £4.22} each. So I bought two.
Buying one from a gift/decor shop you could easily pay between R800-R1000 {$96-$121 or 61 -£76}.
Um...hello? R800 or R55? {$96 or $6.60?? £61 or £4.22??}

I was sooooo excited! It has taken about two weeks but I have finished all the hard work.

1. Taking Out the old grout.
Firstly, before doing anything, you need to remove the old grout. All you need is a pair of gloves, a wood chisel and a hammer. The smaller window took me a few hours over two days to do as the grout was very hard-the window seemed quite new still.
Tapping the wood chisel gently with the hammer along the edge where the grout meets the wood frame will help to loosen it and then you can work the chisel into it and begin to pry it off.



The second window was much easier and took me just over an hour to do the whole 10-paned frame! The grout was really soft.

Here is when you also fix any lifting wood or large cracks in the frame before proceeding. My hubby kindly glued for me and clamped it down for a few hours and was as good as new!

2. Taking The Glass out
This can be quite easy or tricky depending on how you handle the wood chisel and hammer. If you are too rough and tap the chisel too roughly or in the wrong spot, you could crack the glass.
For me, even though I had planned to get new glass (old glass was full of old paint, grout and scratches) I still wanted to be careful because let's face it, working with cut glass is dangerous and no fun! I think I only cracked 3 panes! One piece was already shattered when I bought it.
If the glass is still in good condition you could clean it up and re-use it. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of a scrape and some elbow-grease. But as in my case, the glass was scratched. I like "old" and shabby chic, but there is a limit!

3.Sanding the Frame down

The next step, once all the grout and glass is removed, is to give your frame a light sand. I used a power sander for this (my first time!!) and it was really easy once I got into the groove of handling the tool. Make sure you use a fine sandpaper, too rough and you will strip all the old paint off. In my case, going for the shabby-chic look I didn't have to do that.

The smaller window was already painted with a nice coat of white paint but the second window was dark and covered with a thick varnish which I didn't like at all, so I sanded it down as much as I could.

Just a note: I didn't bother about sanding the varnish off the back of the larger window as it won't be seen!

I also used the sander to smooth the edges, especially where I had taken off the hinges and taken out old nails. You don't want wood splinters! Also important is to try get into the crevices at the back, cos that is where your new glass and backing boards are going to go, so you really want to get rid of any old grout.

4. Painting.
So after you have sanded, give the window a brush down just to get rid of any wood residue left from sanding. You can now paint your first coat. I used a white enamel acrylic paint. I didn't bother with a wood primer as these windows are purely for inside decoration!

After the paint dried, I gave it another light sand and then applied a second coat onto both windows and left to dry.

5. Getting that "old" look
The fun part is the final part! If your windows were second hand, no doubt they already has some dents, tears, scratches, holes etc. This all adds to the character if you want a shabby-chic look. So you actually want to accentuate these flaws. These are the parts you want to sand down to reveal the wood underneath. I used a medium sand paper and did these by hand.
You also want to concentrate on sanding the corners, edges and joins.
You don't want to overdo it, just hear and there.

I know some people like to paint a dark color first and then a white and then sand through the white to see the dark color, but I like the wood look, it looks more natural.
I then used a dark ink chalk stamp pad(like the one you use for scrap booking!)
I used a "Pretty color #37) to accentuate the rough spots and edges.

So far all it has cost me is exactly what I paid, as I already had sandpaper, the tools and paint at home!

I worked out that with the new glass and photo enlargements it will still cost me a fraction of what I would pay new in a shop (without the photos!). In the photo below you can see the after result and a peek of the frame that was shop-bought!

All mine need now is new glass and photos!

I got sandpaper/paint happy and went searching for other things to redo! Old mirror frames!

Look out for part 2.
{when I finish them with the glass, baking board, and photos} coming soon....


Veronica said...

Great job with those- and what an absolute bargain!! I love the long one simply standing up against the wall with nothing in - just the frame! Gorgeous! Or you could put mirrors in it instead of photos and stand it up against the wall- lovely sculptural feel.

Bonnie said...

Hi Vee. I did think of that too! (see how alike we are!!) Other ideas I had was buying another long window and then attaching hinges onto them and making it into a folding screen, one could use scrap booking paper in the blocks, or fabric with padding!

Another idea I saw was to turn the frame on it's top, add glass and legs and you have a table!

So many ideas for these!

Emma said...

wow! bon, you are so talented! i love them great job! can't wait to see them finished!

Attic24 said...

Bonnie, I'm not sure how come I haven't somehow picked up on your blog before now?? I am so sorry! You have a truly delightful blog and I wonder how it has escaped me so long. Your photographs are sublime, as are all your to wander backwards through your archives to see what other delights are waiting for me, looking forward to it!!
Much Love

Sew Loquacious Angela said...

They look fantastic! Looking forward to seeing them with your fab photos!

Jazz said...

Hi Bonnie!!
They came out so beautiful. I really must get down to that place. I have also always wanted one of those old window frames. Love fixing up old stuff too!!!

Anonymous said...

I wanting to know when you put the frames back in , did you have to put any caulk or anything to keep the glass in ?

Anonymous said...

i was wondering when you put the glass back in did you have to caulk it ? im making a photo frame for my mother in law an i dotn want the glass to fall out. my email is