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Learn how to turn new, inexpensive wood into a beautiful, reclaimed wooden picture frame.

Free Printable: Square Floral Artwork, Flowers and Simplicity

Download our Free Printable at the End of This Tutorial

Have you ever swooned over a beautiful reclaimed wood frame but wanted to faint at the price tag? You’re in luck because you can do it yourself! I’m going to teach you how to turn new, inexpensive wood into a beautiful, reclaimed picture frame using two natural wood stains and some simple tools.

Let’s have some fun making a picture frame!

Materials needed:

  • apple cider vinegar
  • 2 mason jars with lids
  • 1 steel wool square
  • 2 tea bags
  • 3 tbsp coffee grounds
  • paint brush, or cloth
  • wood glue, or staple gun
  • sanding sheet
  • oil
  • 1 x 2 piece of oak. I got a6 footlong piece.
  • nailess sawtooth picture frame hanger (optional)
  • popsicle sticks

  • wood glue 

  • scissors

How to make the wood frame:

Gather your 1 x 2 oak, wood glue, and/or  a staple gun. If you go to Home Depot, they will cut the wood for you. Just tell them what size picture frame you’re making, and they’ll cut the wood free of charge.

There are a couple of options for holding the wood pieces together. I have a staple gun, so that’s what I chose to use because it’s fast and clean. Wood glue works just as well. Just make sure you clamp the pieces together and give it plenty of time to dry.

How to make the natural wood stain:

This is a two-part mixture.

For Part I, you’ll need:

  • apple cider vinegar
  • 1 mason jar with lid
  • Steel wool

Place the steel wool piece in the mason jar. Next, fill the mason jar with Apple cider vinegar, and twist the lid on. Let this mixture sit for 24 hours. This mixture will not turn brown!

Once you have let this mixture sit for 24 hours, it is time to make the second mixture.

Part II, you’ll need:

  • 1 mason jar with lid
  • Boiling water
  • 2 tea bags
  • 3 tbsp coffee grounds

Pour the boiling water into the second mason jar. Add two tea bags, and three tablespoons of coffee grounds. Let this sit for about 15 minutes, then remove the tea bags. This is your brown stain.

How to stain the wood:

Now that you have both mixtures prepped and read to go, it is time to put the tea stain on the wood. With a paint brush or rag, pat the tea/coffee ground mixture onto the picture frame. Let this dry, about 20 minutes. Do not throw away tea mix! You will reapply more later.

If you are happy with the more formal look of the tea/coffee stain, you can absolutely stop here! But if you’re wanting a more distressed, reclaimed look, keep going!

This part is pretty messy, so I highly suggest doing it somewhere that can be cleaned up easily. Once dry, pat the vinegar mix on with a cloth. There is something about this mixture that reacts with the tea/coffee that will turn the stain much darker.


Now, don’t be scared, it’s going to turn very dark, but this is when the sander comes in.

Once the wood frame is dry, distress using the sander as much as you’d like. I like it when the stain shows off the pretty wood grains. Shake off the dust, and pat with a clean wet cloth. Let it dry. Apply the tea stain again, and let dry.

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Re-sand in areas that you’d like to be more distressed. Shake off dust. Pat any kind of oil you have around the house on the frame with your fingers (be mindful of splinters!) or a cloth. I used coconut oil. It’s a bit easier to work with because it’s not as messy as a liquid oil.

To hold your picture in the frame, cut the popsicle sticks so they fit at an angle on the backside corners of the frame. Use wood glue to attach the popsicle sticks to the backside corners. Now slide your picture in, and voilá!

And there you have it! You’ve created a beautiful, reclaimed looking wood frame. I do not attach a hanger because I like to set my frames on tables and bookshelves. The 1×2 allows you to do that without attaching a dowel piece. If you’d like to hang your frame, use a nailess sawtooth hanger. Push the hanger into the back of the frame, and it’s ready to hang!

I didn’t want to give you a picture frame tutorial without offering you some art to put inside. You can download the printable I used in my frame called “flowers & simplicity” here!

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