How to Make a Distressed Wood Frame

Making a distressed wood frame is a fairly simple project. Distressed wood is popular in rustic decors as well as in masculine themes. You can use either a purchased frame or build your own frame for this project.

Tools and Materials
  • Ready made frame
  • Old wood (if you are making your own frame)
  • Saw
  • Wood glue
  • Woodworkers clamps
  • Varnish
  • Paint (to paint frame)
  • Wood stain (for stained frame)
  • Rags
  • Cotton swab
Step 1 -Get Your Frame Ready

Determine the size frame you will need. Frame sizes are by inside dimensions or glass size. If you are a novice at woodworking or don't have the tools mentioned above, purchasing a ready made frame would be the best choice for you. Find a color and size you like or even purchase an old frame from a thrift store. Remove the glass and keep it.

If you are making a frame you will want to measure the wood lengths for the inside dimensions, both width and lengths. Remember you will want the outside dimensions. Then using the miter box, cut the ends to 90 degree angles. If you don't want to deal with a mitered corner, you can put together flat edges by cutting the wood to meet the inside dimensions you want. Then glue the pieces together at the corners. Clamp them with the woodworkers clamps until snug. Wipe away all the glue that oozes out. Allow to dry overnight.

Step 2-Distressing the Wood

When your frame is dry, you can start to distress it. You can use a screwdriver or any sharp object, such as an awl, or a large nail to scratch the surface of the wood to make it look old. Another technique is to hit it with metal chain to make irregular marks in the wood. You can also hold a flame to the wood to give scorched or burned marks on it. When you are satisfied with the look its time to add age to the marks.

Step 2-Add Aging

Dab a little black or brown paint on a cotton swab or rag, and rub the paint into the marks you've made to fill in the crevices. Gently wipe away the excess paint on the smooth part of the wood. This will help you tell if you have enough marks on the wood to please you. If not, just add more and add more paint.

When the paint is dry, you can add a wood tone stain over the entire frame, let it sit for a few minutes and wipe away the excess. If you want a darker frame, you can put on another coat. When the stain has dried, varnish the entire frame.

Step 3-Painted Frames

If you want a painted frame that is distressed, reverse the above instructions. Paint the frame the color you want. When the paint has dried, add black paint into the marks and wipe away the excess. Then apply a coat of varnish to seal the frame.

Step 5-Other Techniques

Different looks can be achieved by using different colors of paint in the marks you've made instead of black. You can also use more than one color on the base of the frame. Paint on one color, let it dry, then apply another coat in a different color. When it has dried, sand thru part of the top coat to give it an aged look.