Friday, March 13, 2015

Yes, Virginia, You CAN Paint Picture Matting.

During the last of the cold spell, Hubs got the mantel back on the fireplace and hung the fireplace tools.  I finished painting the living room walls and he put the mounting strip back on the wall for the wall quilt and also the picture rails and switch plates, you know, all that stuff you have to take off the wall before you paint and then put right back on after the paint's dry.  This is what makes painting such a dreary job.  I'll wait till it's all done for a full reveal, we still have a lot to do.

I can, however, show you how I rejuvenated my framed Charles Wysoki calendar prints.  I enjoy his work, several interesting things are going on in each picture.  In the airport picture, there's a plane flying overhead with a banner attached that says, "I love you Elizabeth", and I know that Charles' wife is named Elizabeth.   In the pumpkin farm picture, there are identical twin girls in a buggy sitting in front of the barn.  Charming little touches like that make me smile.

The brown matting had become faded and drab-looking, plus it didn't really do anything to enhance the colors in the pictures.  I decided to use some cream-colored wallpaper I have had forever in a box in the closet to cover them, mitered on the corners and so on, had it all worked out in my brain.  Then couldn't find the wallpaper and I think this is one thing that I gave up on ever having a use for and donated it with some other things after they didn't sell at a garage sale I had a couple of years ago.  I found the box where the wallpaper had been, and a few rolls of other colors, but not the cream-colored paper.  Dammit!  This is not the first time I have regretted getting rid of something I'd been keeping.  I'm planning on doing some sewing for little GGD and I could've repurposed some of that clothing I donated into things for her, if I'd thought of it in time.

So then I started casting around for what else I could do.  I priced a roll of wallpaper and OMG....  You wouldn't think something so "outdated" would be that expensive.  Maybe there's going to be a comeback.  I like wallpaper.  It's the fastest way I know to perk up a room.

I thought about looking at giftwrap.  And then I started looking on the Internet for accounts of whether painting picture mats would work.  I saw where some people had, using acrylic paints.  Everybody said water-based paint would not work because it would soak into the paper and curl it up.  But I decided to try it anyway.  I used the same latex paint that is on the woodwork in the living room.

I spread the paint on and then I "dabbed" with the brush to hide the brush marks and smooth out any areas of thicker paint.  It dried pretty fast.  I used two coats.

Not to worry, that dark spot on the right is a shadow.

So, yes, you CAN paint your picture mats without using fancy paint, although maybe that depends on how thick the mats are.  These mats are like the ones that are sold by Hobby Lobby.  I don't know if that's where they came from, as I originally had these frames and mats made by a small picture framing business downtown.  Frames and Things, I think they called it.  And I can say, after taking them apart, that considering what I paid them to do this task, I would've thought they could've used proper cardboard for the back of the pictures.  Instead they just cut up old cardboard boxes that were too thick for the job.  That's why my pictures never hung straight when I had them mounted right on the wall.

I let these lay out to cure for a couple of days before putting on the glass because I was worried about the paint ending up sticking to the glass.  In the process, I broke one.

I had planned to paint the picture frames black, but I wasn't sure if I'd like it, so I left them as they were.  If I change my mind I can mask out the edges of the glass and paint the frames without having to take the glass and pictures out.  I didn't buy glare-proof glass, as that almost doubled the price, and lately I've been wondering if clear Contac paper on the glass would produce the same effect.  I may try it later on.

(PS: there have been a couple of e-mails asking how those picture rails were made.  I did a tutorial when we made them but I've lost it and the pictures I took.  Here's a closer look at the rails that I took today.

All we did was buy three different pieces of wood trim at Lowe's, Hubs fastened them together with screws and glue.  Then I stained and polyurethaned.)

This gives you a "sneak peek" at the paint color I ended up with for the walls.  I'm happy with it.

We have most of the floor down, it's not a perfect job and it's one I will never, EVER, undertake again.  Hubs is working on installing some cabinets and I'm refurbishing that little tan chest that you see in the picture above.  Make a mental note of it, as it will look different soon.

Rocking on.... 


  1. I love the new look of your painted mats and love how you have these displayed on your wall. Love the color on your walls too and look forward to seeing what you do with that little cabinet.

    You're doing a great job around your place.

    Have a nice weekend ~ FlowerLady

  2. Loving catching up with what you busy bees have been up to :-) I think your picture rails are a brilliant idea. Wondering about doing something similar in my hallway and there would be NO MORE straightening up every time I went past. Another cool idea from Ilene!

    1. These rails were a good solution for me as the picture frames had been made for my pictures and they never hung straight. I've also seen pieces of 1x2 lumber used, hung up high, and then pictures of different sizes hung from them by wires, at different levels. Reminded me too much of the way we all used to hang pictures back in my Grammy's day, and they leaned forward a bit at the top. It just wasn't for me but I can see where it might look nice under some circumstances.


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