Try This: DIY Modern Art for a Vintage Frame

Make this bold and textural art— perfect for mixing with antique frames!Hi, guys! It's Mandi here to show you a really quick and easy art project you can make for your home. I've had this antique frame for a few years now, and since moving from a beautiful old apartment into a midcentury modern ranch, I just haven't figured out what to do with that darn frame.

Then I laid eyes on this little notepad designed by Garance Doré, and I thought what a simple, graphic design that I could implement into some homemade wall art! The combination of bold simplicity with the ornately carved frame seemed like a lovely match for my home. If you have an old frame that needs to be filled, or if you simply need some modern art for your home, why not try out this bold and textural project?

Make this bold and textural art— perfect for mixing with antique frames!Supplies:
-1/4" oak plywood cut to fit the opening of your frame (I bought mine for about $5 and had it cut for me at the lumberyard)
-painter's tape
-primer + paint (spray cans are optional)
-masking paper (optional, but helpful for larger spaces that need covering)

Make this bold and textural art— perfect for mixing with antique frames!Step One: Prime and paint the 1/4" plywood with the lighter of your two colors.

Step Two: When the paint has completely dried, tape off the negative space of your artwork.I cheated and used an X-Acto blade to cut away extra tape so the X in the middle was really precise. Make sure you run your thumbnail along the edge of the tape, or paint bleeding may occur.

Step Three: Paint over the exposed area with a couple of lights coats of paint. I used black paint, but if you're looking for less of a "hazardous materials" vibe, you might choose a different hue. When the paint has dried, gently peel off the tape and put your art in its frame!

Make this bold and textural art— perfect for mixing with antique frames!I really love how the texture of the grain is still very visible, despite being covered in paint. That's a quality of oak that's really great if you're aiming for a textural finish. You can also use other materials besides oak plywood, such as maple or birch plywood, but you won't have that beautiful grainy look after painting. Heck, you can even use foam board if you have some extra laying around. But as far as cost goes, you might as well spring for oak plywood for just a couple more dollars.

Make this bold and textural art— perfect for mixing with antique frames!Make this bold and textural art— perfect for mixing with antique frames!The juxtaposition of styles is just great for our home, but if you're less into antique frames than I am, you might try doing this project on thicker plywood and simply hanging the finished wooden piece without a frame. All you would need to do is attach picture-hanging hardware to the back. Such a simple idea with a big impact! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson, Photos edited with Color Pop of the Signature Collection.

  • This looks so easy!! I can’t wait to try. I honestly think your blog has become my favorite blog to follow — and I follow a lot!

  • So amazing, i love this diy ! 🙂

  • I think it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in “bells and whistles”…this is such a simple graphic (and project!) but it still really makes an impact; I think it would complement a lot of different decorating styles!! Great idea!!

  • Good evening,

    I love your art in the old vintage frame:-)
    Must try it myselft.

    Also he bench I love:-)

    Greating from Heidi in Denmark

  • Yeah! I mentioned that in step three. I definitely noticed that when I was finished. I was just using paint colors I had on hand and was really restraining myself from using yellow and pink (husband is tired of pink).

  • I love this DIY!

    Juxtaposing modern and ornate is truly fun. I do this, too–I shoot underwater photos, which tend toward a more contemporary look, and I love pairing them up with carved frames. For example, I blew up this flashy purple sea slug and dressed it in an opulent gold frame (check out the second pic):

  • I love how this DIY shows we can get inspiration from anywhere and make it work for our own needs! Love what you came up with and thanks for sharing!


  • I love that frame! What a simple and beautiful DIY.


  • Love it! Contrast makes everything so interesting, especially when combining ornate with modern. And painter’s tape is my savior.



  • Oh, this is really cool Mandi 🙂 Maybe I’ll do this for a weekend project with my daughters. I love this style of art. Beautiful and kind of modern too.

    Love and Luck,

    Laurali Star

  • Love this mixture of the old and the new! So great! And can we talk about how awesome that fireplace is?! Love it!

  • Very pretty mix of past meets new!
    x Eveline from

  • Such a cool and easy project and it looks really great!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.