14 Surprising Uses for Old Picture Frames

Got some empty frames but no photos to fill them? Check out these surprising uses for old picture frames!

Old picture frames that are missing the glass, have gotten scratched or dinged, or that are just plain ugly don’t have to be landfill-bound. You can transform old frames from around your house into all kinds of fun art pieces with just a little bit of crafty love.

Don’t have any picture frames handy? Hit the thrift store! Most thrift stores have a big section full of old picture frames. And don’t pass up that cheesy, motel-style art. You can remove ugly artwork or rework the whole thing to make some very cool design pieces.

14 Surprising Uses for Old Picture Frames

1. Plant a Living Picture – Fill an old picture frame with succulents for a dramatic vertical garden that you can hang anywhere.

2. Twine Memo Board – Do you like to write thoughts or to-dos on little scraps of paper? Keep them organized with this clever picture frame craft project.

3. Faux Headboard – I love the look of this “headboard” made from empty hanging picture frames! If your frames aren’t all the same color, just paint them to coordinate. Or don’t, for a whole different look.

4. Two Frames to One Shadowbox – Shadowboxes are a fun way to display 3D art or even nature finds. Instead of buying new, turn a pair of matching picture frames into a sweet hanging shadowbox.

5. Key Holder – Never hunt for your keys again! This tutorial uses new supplies, but I bet you savvy upcyclers could make something very similar with reclaimed materials. I believe in you!

Chalkboard Picture Frame

Turn a plain picture frame into a chalkboard frame!

6. Chalkboard Frame – Picture frames with sentiments on them are sweet, but they’re not super flexible, right? If your frame says “Best Friends,” that sort of limits what pictures you can pit in there. Solve that problem with chalkboard paint!

7. Make Wallflowers – If the succulent frames seem like maybe more work than you’re ready to sign up for, try these picture frame planters instead! Or maybe make a few of each and arrange them on a wall? That would be beautiful!

8. Take a Photo – So, this doesn’t really solve your “use this frame” problem, but if you’ve got a spare picture frame hanging around, try this neat photography trick!

9. Fabric Frame – This solves two problems: updates an old picture frame and busts your fabric stash. Boom!

10. Make a Dry Erase Board – That glass on your picture frame is perfect for using dry erase markers! Check out how to turn an old frame into a shabby chic dry erase board for writing lists, thoughts, or even using as changeable art!

11. Fridge Frames – Show off your child’s masterpieces with picture-frames-turned-magnets. Brilliant!

12. Organize Your Thread – Show off your rainbow of thread properly with a picture frame.

13. Display Multiple Photos – They built their frame from scratch, but you could use this idea to turn your own frame into a multi-tiered photo display with twine and clothespins.

14. Earring Holder – Got some burlap? Combine it with a picture frame to make a simple earring organizer.

Image Credits: Remixed Old Picture Frames photo by Robby Van Arsdale; Chalkboard Picture Frame by Bonnie Getchell


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

An idea is worth it's weight.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I just found some old picture frames the other day. I was going to put them in a yard sale, but now I have new ideas for a few of them!! Thanks!

Kate S.
Kate S3 years ago

Thanks ...great ideas

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 years ago

Cool ideas! Thank you.

Jenny Bone
Jenny Bone3 years ago

Great :)

Rose Becke3 years ago

Love these ideas

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

thanks for the ideas

donald Baumgartner

Thanks !!!!

Dave C.
David C3 years ago