How To Make A Gallery Wall From Old Picture Frames

At the bottom of my street, there is a junk shop. It is full of items from house clearances and piles of stuff from other people’s lives. From their unwanted furniture to the content of their kitchens. In this junk, often there are piles of old picture frames.

These old picture frames are full of images like faded photos of beloved dogs or embroidery samples. Generally, stuff that was once personal and treasured items to someone but don’t mean anything to the rest of us.

I managed to pick up a dozen of these old picture frames for a couple of pounds. Even though the old photos and artwork weren’t of any interest to me, I thought I could at least rescue the frames.

I just love old illustrations and prints, that is why I started this website. I’m always looking for new ways to display the lovely images I find. Sometimes I craft with them other times I’m just looking for new ways to display them on the wall.

As well as wall displays I also craft with my bird images like with this parrot decor display in an IKEA glass dome/cloche.

Thrifted old picture frames

What to Put in the Picture Frames

My home is very colourful and I love to decorate it with a rainbow or 2. With this in mind, I decided to repurpose these old picture frames into a rainbow gallery wall.

Colourful old picture frames need colourful pictures. There are so many to choose from on Pictureboxblue. From the fantastical fish paintings of Louis Renauld to the amazing parrot paintings of Edward lear or the wonderful vintage flower illustrations.

It was hard to decide, but I went for the colourful bird naturalist prints of George Shaw in the end. Being the daughter of a published ornathologist it had to be birds in the end!

What You Need To Repurpose Old Picture Frames

  • A collection of small frames in different sizes and styles. I picked these up from my local junk shop for almost next to nothing.
  • Chalky paint in a variety of colours. I used leftover scraps and sample pots. You will only need a small amount.
  • One large picture frame
  • Cream heavy printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Mounting tape
  • Ruler
old paint pots

How To Create A Gallery of Colourful Old Picture Frame

1. First, remove all photos and artworks and glass from the old frames.

2. Next, make sure the frames are clean and dust free. Then paint them an assortment of colours.

I find that chalky paint is best for this. Not only does it give a lovely matt finish, but you can paint directly onto the frames without sanding or priming them first.

chalk painted picture frames.

3. Next, decide on what images you are going to print and frame. Then using a ruler measure the height and width of each frame.

4. Next, using a free software package such as Canva resize the images you’ve chosen to fit each frame. Print the pictures for the old picture frames onto cream paper to give them a more vintage look.

I liked to choose an image that matches the colour of the frame. For example, if the frame is red then I picked a bird that was predominantly red in colour.

5. Next, cut the picture to the frame size and then place inside the old frame.

It is totally up to you and your own personal preference, but I prefer not to have glass in a lot of my picture frames. I just hate the reflection you get with glass and prefer pictures without them.

I know you can get a non-reflective glass. However, that is expensive and I only use it for valuable prints and paintings.

cutting picture to size
framing a picture into a painted old picture frame

6. Carry on framing the printed birds into the coloured old picture frames. Then lay them all out together on the floor. Play around with the layout of the picture frames until you are happy with the order.

sorting out the gallery wall.

7. Once you are happy with your gallery wall they are ready to mount. You can stick them straight onto the wall using double-sided mounting tape.

I had a large old picture frame that I had painted white. I decided to arrange the rainbow picture frame gallery wall within this frame. This made it easier for me to move the gallery wall around the home when I fancied a change.

At the moment I’ve hung this lovely rainbow bird gallery wall in my living room. I love all looking at the bright colourful vintage birds in their bright colourful frames.

how to make a gallery wall with old picture frames

I have managed to combine my love of vintage images and rainbow home decor with a vintage rainbow fish wall display. This is a bit different from the bird gallery, the fish are printed on watercolor paper.

There is a collection of amazing colorful vintage color wheel prints and color charts that would also look fabulous arranged in a rainbow wall gallery.

If you liked the prints in this old picture frame gallery wall, then you might like these ones too.

For more budget friendly crafts visit

17 thoughts on “How To Make A Gallery Wall From Old Picture Frames

  1. What a fun wall! You did an incredible job! It would make you feel so happy as you walk into your home! I can’t wait to do it! Very Clever! Thank you for sharing!!! 👩‍🎨 🧧🇺🇸🎌⬛️
    LOVE IT!

  2. Please, please, remind readers, regularly, that pictures need to be resized from the corner so the image stays proportionate. As a former computer teacher, I cringed the first time I saw the image of an 11 year old’s biography of a historic person- – – and he looked 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall and 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) wide! I learned how to teach my lessons that day.

  3. You are a girl after my own heart–I have several gallery walls and I buy all of my the thrift store. I love your color scheme! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

    1. Thank you, Cecilia. I think buying old frames from thrift stores makes the gallery walls more interesting as you get a mixture of frame styles. The paint just brings them all together.

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