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Frugal Wall Art Gifts for Your Home


By Monica Resinger

There are some lovely pictures available in retail stores, but they can be very expensive. I'd like to suggest some less expensive ways to make your own decorative wall art that will be more charming and beautiful in your home than any picture that can be purchased.

To get started, you'll need frames. Frames are also expensive when purchased retail, so I suggest buying them used. You can find good picture frames at yard sales and thrift stores for a fraction of the retail price. If there are minor problems with the frame, such as chipped paint or nicks and scratches, don't worry, you can cover that part up with the decorative ideas that follow.

What to Put in the Frame

Family pictures are a great, personal way to warm your home. Looking at them brings back memories for the owner or brings up conversations with guests. These also make great gifts for family members. If you're planning on designing family pictures to give as gifts, it's a good idea to start getting double prints developed from your films.

Pretty pictures cut from magazines, calendars or holiday cards are other items that make great wall art. You can choose pictures that have to do with the theme or colors in your home or in someone else's home if you're planning to give the picture as a gift.

Pressed flowers and leaves are beautiful framed. Outdoors, try to find flowers or leaves that are naturally flat and will lie between paper well, then press them between pages in a book. After a week or more, check to see if they're dry and crisp to the touch.

Frame crocheted doilies on a contrasting background for a beautiful picture. Hankies are another item that's easily framed. These are really special if the item belonged to a family member.

Save memorabilia from vacations such as ticket stubs, menus, napkins, pictures or other flat surface items and frame these for a unique picture that brings memories and conversation.

For a garden look, a pretty seed packet could be framed with a complimentary background. Hot glue small pinecones or other natural material to the frame to finish it off. If you don't have a pretty seed packet, you could cut a pretty garden picture from a magazine or birthday card.

Frame a recipe. What I like to do is copy and paste a recipe into a card/calendar or art program on my computer and change the colors and fonts of the text then add clip art, pretty backgrounds and/or a border. Print it out and you have a nice item that can be framed and used in the kitchen. You can also photocopy your own recipes to be framed and take a picture of the finished recipe to include with it.

Decorating the Frames

Decorate a picture frame by covering the entire frame with shells, buttons, pebbles, bottle-caps or other small items. Hot-glue would work best for attaching items. If you'd like, you could finish it off with a complimentary ribbon bow. You could also use these items or silk or dried flowers as accents and attach a few to a corner with a ribbon bow.

Paint it. Choose a color included in the picture you're framing and paint the frame that color with acrylic paint. You may need to apply 2-3 coats to cover the frame completely; be sure to let each coat dry before applying another. When the frame is completely covered and dry, you can then sponge paint a darker or lighter shade over that for a very pretty look. To sponge paint, simply dip a small area of a sponge in paint, blot on newspaper a few times to get excess paint off, then blot the sponge onto the frame. Another idea is to paint polka dots, squiggly lines or another small design in a contrasting color.

When decorating a frame to be given to a family member or friend, think of their favorite color, the color of the room they will most likely display the picture in, their hobbies, or what they enjoy. You could design a garden picture for your gardening friend, a family picture for a family member or a doily picture for your grandmother or mother. Have fun with it and unleash your creativity, the possibilities are endless!

Copyright, 2003, Monica Resinger

Monica Resinger is a loving wife and doting mother of two who enjoys gardening, painting, dancing and homemaking. She edits and publishes the e-zine The Homemaker's Journal, a free e-zine published Monday through Friday, that features a useful homemaking tip and scrumptious recipe of the day;if you'd like to subscribe, just send a blank e-mail to:
[email protected]

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