I absolute love thrifting and finding unique vintage pieces, and got so excited when I found these frames for just a couple of dollars each on a trip I took down to Tucson. I loved the shape and the detail, but the wood stain was starting to chip off in a few places. I could tell they were solid wood, and I really liked the the natural wood underneath that was peaking through. I decided to strip them using oven cleaner, and the results are so, so good! I walked through how to do this on my Instagram stories the other day, but here is a written out step by step tutorial, that should be even more helpful!
You can see the scratches on the frames here- the goal at the end of this is a nice, even toned natural wood look. I wish I had a place for the beautiful originals that came in the frames, but ended up giving them to a friend who I know will put them to good use!
This is a pretty simple DIY, with just a few needed materials! I’ve found that the blue fume- free can of Easy-Off oven cleaner works better than the yellow can. You’ll also need some rubber gloves, dish soap, and scrub brushes. I tried out a few different kinds to see what would work best for me! This is definitely an outdoor project. I laid out a plastic sheet on some gravel in our yard, and it worked great.
The first step is spraying your frames down with the oven cleaner. You want to make sure you’re getting the cleaner over the entirety of the frame, and then you can sit back and relax for about 20 minutes while the oven cleaner does it’s thing!
After you’ve let it sit, you’ll start to scrub! It’s really important that you remove all of the oven cleaner, and you’ll notice the old stain coming off with it. I filled a container with some concentrated dish soap, and used quite a bit to make sure I was getting as much off as possible! This step is so important! A good scrub is what will give the frame a consistent finish in the end, that isn’t splotchy. I found that the sponge worked great for the flat areas, and I really loved this wooden brush to get in the grooves! This is definitely the most time consuming (and messiest) part, but it will be worth it!
Next you’ll want to rinse off your frame until the water runs clear. The color doesn’t look too different right now, but you just have to trust the process! Once the water is running clear, you’ll just lay the frame out to dry! Look at this color difference after only a few minutes of sun bleaching!
After the frames were completely dry, I went over them with a sanding block and did a really light sand everywhere, focusing on any spots that looked darker than the rest of the frame. After you sand, wipe it down with a rag, and your frame is complete! Next is my favorite part- choosing artwork!
I knew I wanted to hang these frames in my office at work, so I decided to go with some new abstracts I painted for Juniper Print Shop, called Calico I & II! I love using permanent double sided tape to mount the print to the glass, instead of having the glass cover the print. This creates a stretched canvas look once its framed, and looks more like original art! I line the back edges of the paper with tape, and then stick a few pieces in the middle. Flip the paper over, make sure your edges are all lined up, and then smooth the paper over the glass with your hand!
The frames turned out to be the perfect natural wood color, and I even switched out the large print behind my desk to Pastel Valley, from our vintage collection to bring in some warm tones for summer!
I’ve rounded up a few similar natural wood frames below if you’re wanting to get the look, but don’t have a frame to DIY! Leave any questions in the comments!