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How To Make A Gallery Wall From Old Picture Frames

Create a stunning gallery wall with a twist! Learn how to revamp old picture frames with fresh paint and use vintage bird prints for a colourful, eye-catching display. This DIY project is simple, fun, and eco-friendly, perfect for adding a personalized artistic touch to any room.

At the end of my street, there’s a quaint junk shop brimming with relics from household clearances and stacks of other people’s cast-offs, ranging from unwanted furniture to forgotten kitchen gadgets. I often find piles of old picture frames among these remnants, each holding memories like faded photographs of cherished pets or hand-stitched embroidery. These once-prized possessions, now meaningless to most, hold a different kind of value for me.

I recently snagged a dozen of these frames for just a few pounds. While the contents—outdated photos and artwork—didn’t catch my eye, the frames were worth rescuing. My passion for vintage illustrations and prints inspired me to create this website, a space dedicated to exploring and showcasing these beautiful finds. Whether crafting or figuring out new ways to arrange them on my walls, each project is a chance to breathe new life into these old treasures.

I also craft with my bird images, such as this parrot decor display in an IKEA glass dome/cloche, in addition to wall displays.

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 repurpose these old picture frames into a rainbow gallery wall.

Colourful old picture frames need colourful pictures. Pictureboxblue has so many to choose from, from Louis Renard’s fantastical fish paintings to Edward Lear’s famous parrot paintings, LeVaillant’s exotic bird art, and the wonderful vintage flower illustrations.

It was hard to decide, but I ended up going for George Shaw’s colourful bird naturalist prints. Being the daughter of a published ornithologist, it had to be birds!

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Materials Used

  • I have a collection of small frames in different sizes and styles. I picked these up from my local junk shop for almost 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 Frames

Step 1: Remove all photos, art and glass from the old frames.

Step 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. It not only gives a lovely matt finish, but you can paint directly onto the frames without sanding or priming them first.

chalk painted picture frames.

Step 3: Next, decide on the images you will print and frame. Then, using a ruler, measure the height and width of each frame.

Step 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 matched the colour of the frame. For example, if the frame is red, I picked a predominantly red bird.

Step 5: Cut the picture to the frame size and place it inside the old frame.

It is totally up to you and your preference, but I prefer not to have glass in many of my picture frames. I 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

Step 6: Continue 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.

Step 7: They are ready to mount once you are happy with your gallery wall. 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 looking at the bright, colourful vintage birds in their colourful frames.

how to make a gallery wall with old picture frames

Other Related Ideas

I have combined my love of vintage images and rainbow home decor with a vintage rainbow fish wall display. This differs from the bird gallery in that the fish are printed on watercolour paper.

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

There are many more ideas for upcycling picture frames here.

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


Friday 18th of August 2023

Have so many old frames lying at home 🙈. This is ideal. Thanks for sharing


Sunday 20th of August 2023

Thank you, yes it's a fun way to display old prints.


Sunday 8th of December 2019

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!


Sunday 8th of December 2019

Thank you, it does make me smile.

Nancy Shugan

Friday 6th of December 2019

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.


Friday 6th of December 2019

🤣🤣Thank you for the tip.

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