Reclaimed wood is having a major moment. In today’s world of mass-produced furniture and throwaway culture, there’s something special about decor and furnishings made from wood that has been reclaimed and given new life. Of all the many great ways to incorporate reclaimed wood pieces into your home, picture frames are one of the most charming.
Picture frames crafted from reclaimed wood have an irresistible rustic vibe. The natural knots, cracks, nail holes, and texture of the salvaged wood pairs perfectly with your favorite photos and art. And you can find reclaimed wood frames to match any decor style – from the clean lines of modern spaces to the agricultural chic of farmhouse rooms.
So what makes these eco-friendly frames so special? Read on to learn all about the appeal of reclaimed wood picture frames, how to select the right frame for you, creative DIY reclaimed frame projects, and answers to frequently asked questions.
The Natural, Rustic Beauty of Reclaimed Wood Frames
One step through the door of any Anthropologie, West Elm, or Etsy shop will tell you – reclaimed wood is trending. This repurposed raw material has adorned everything from dining tables to headboards. But perhaps one of its most fitting uses is for displaying photos, art, prints, and mementos.
Reclaimed wood picture frames lend rooms a natural, rustic aesthetic that provides the perfect accompaniment for cherished images and memories. Here are some of the reasons this eco-friendly decor pairs so beautifully with photographs, art, and prints:
- Vintage Vibe – The nicks, nail holes, stains, and imperfections in the salvaged wood gives it a timeworn, antique look. Your images will appear as if they’ve been displayed for generations.
- One-of-a-Kind – Since no two reclaimed wood boards are alike, each frame will have its own unique knots, grain patterns, textures, and markings. Your framed piece becomes truly distinctive.
- Artistic Accent – The organic shapes and lines of reclaimed wood have an inherent beauty. The frame itself becomes an integral part of the artwork display.
- Eco-Friendly – Sourcing already existing wood reduces waste and need for additional lumber production. It gives new life to old wood.
- Tells a Story – The wood’s imperfections hint at the previous life of the boards. Where did they come from and what did they once build?
- Design Versatility – Rustic reclaimed wood frames pair equally well with traditional farmhouse style as they do with midcentury modern or industrial decor.
- Cost Effective – For the price, you can get uniquely beautiful frames made from quality old-growth wood.
Truly, reclaimed wood frames allow you to surround your most cherished snapshots, fine art prints, accomplishments, and collections in a border that feels special. Keep reading for pointers on selecting the ideal frame for you.
Choosing the Perfect Reclaimed Wood Frame
Once you’ve decided to display your important photos and artwork in reclaimed wood frames, how do you choose the right one? Here are the key factors to consider while you shop frames:
- Size – Measure your artwork or photo first. Then shop for same-sized frames or sizes close to your piece’s dimensions. Standard photo sizes like 5″x7″ or 8″x10″ are readily available. For odd sized original art or prints, custom framing may be needed.
- Color/Finish – Do you want an all-natural frame to showcase the wood grain? A bold painted frame in your accent color? A whitewashed or distressed finish for a timeworn feel? Consider the frame color and finish that will complement your art while also coordinating with your room’s color palette and style.
- Wood Type – Favored kinds of reclaimed wood for frames include pine, oak, fir, and mango. Heartier hardwoods like oak will be more durable. Avoid woods prone to rotting like poplar. Distressed barn wood has a great worn-in look.
- Condition – The small knots, nail holes, and nicks in upcycled wood add character. But avoid boards with major cracks, gouges, splintering or other excessive damage that affects integrity and durability. The frame should feel solid.
- Hardware – Does your frame include D-rings or a cleat for hanging on the wall? Is there protective padding or felt on the back to avoid scratches? Does it come ready to stand on a table or bookshelf?
- Assembly – Do you want the ease of a prefabricated frame or are you up for a DIY woodworking project? Reclaimed wood kit frames offer the middle ground – assemble it yourself for a satisfying project that looks handmade.
- Budget – Prices can range from $20 – $200 depending on size, materials, and intricacy of design. Set realistic expectations based on your budget and the frame details that matter most.
Once you decide these details, you’re ready to start shopping! Read on for a list of go-to spots to buy fabulous reclaimed wood frames.
5 Best Places to Buy Reclaimed Wood Frames
Where’s the best place to buy that perfect reclaimed wood frame for your favorite 8×10 photo print or treasured art piece? Here are five great options to source wood picture frames ethically sourced and creatively upcycled:
The online handmade marketplace Etsy offers an enormous selection of reclaimed wood frames in every style imaginable. The frames come in standard sizes or can be customized to your artwork’s dimensions. And you’ll be supporting independent craftspeople and small business owners. Look for shops with plenty of great reviews and happy customers. The frame can be shipped directly to your door.
This boho-chic brand curates reclaimed wood frames with a distinctly artistic aesthetic. The wood surfaces are often whitewashed, softly distressed, or finished with artisanal touches like hand painting. The frames skew towards the higher end price-wise, but make a sophisticated statement for elevating your fine art prints or family portraits.
3. West Elm
For well-crafted reclaimed wood frames with clean, modern lines, West Elm has lots of options. Frames come in a range of sizes from tiny to oversized. Finishes include natural, gray washed, and lacquered in on-trend colors. Materials are ethically sourced. Choose in-store pickup or delivery.
Of course IKEA offers its signature inexpensive, minimalist style frames – but made from eco-friendly reclaimed pine and mango woods. The home furnishing giant has many sizes of wood picture frames at affordable prices. Materials are recycled and sourced through sustainable initiatives. Shop in stores or online.
5. Local Craft Fairs
Don’t overlook neighborhood craft fairs, flea markets, farmers markets, and holiday bazaars as sources for handmade reclaimed wood frames. Connecting directly with local artisans allows you to ask questions and explain what you’re looking for in a custom frame. And it supports small businesses.
Inspiring DIY Reclaimed Wood Frame Ideas
Are you a DIY fan with basic woodworking skills? Making your own reclaimed wood frame is a satisfying weekend project. You can repurpose and upcycle various old wood sources. Here are some inspiring ideas:
- Pallet Wood – Pallets are typically made from decent quality woods like oak or pine. Once broken down, the individual boards can be cut and assembled into a picture frame shape. Sand, finish, and add hardware.
- Old Barn Wood – If you can get access to a classic weathered barn ready for demolition, you can salvage amazing boards full of character. Faded red paint and rusty corrugated metal patches add to the authentic vibe.
- Fence Wood – Planks from an old wood fence being torn down make sturdy picture frame material. They likely already have an alluring sun-bleached and aged gray patina. Just cut to size and join together.
- Salvaged Flooring – Refinish old wide-plank flooring salvaged from a remodel or building demolition to create thick, solid frame boards that play up the rich patina. Use molding for elegant decorative edges if desired.
- Wooden Crates – Old wooden vegetable/fruit crates typically have a cool stamped logo from the farm or brand. Remove a side panel of slats to create an instant shallow box frame. Love those rustic grooves.
- Architectural Salvage – If you have access to parts salvaged from 100 year old barns, homes, schools, etc., look for decorative mouldings. Attach vintage Victorian trim edging to basic wood frames.
Tips for Creating Your Own Reclaimed Wood Frames
If you’re inspired to craft your own eco-friendly frames from salvaged wood, follow these tips and tricks for success:
- Start with a template. Trace an existing frame or use cardboard to create a template for the inner and outer dimensions. Add about 1″ width all around.
- Sand the wood boards smooth. Use coarse then fine grit sandpaper to remove splinters, rough patches, and soften edges to ensure a flat surface.
- Join frame boards carefully. Wood glue and nails, screws, or classic wood joints like dove tails or biscuits will keep the frame square and stable.
- Apply your choice of finish. Based on the look you want, use stain, whitewash, paint, or a clear sealer to protect the wood grain.
- Add hanging hardware to the back. Attach D-rings, a cleat, easel, or standoff tabs that allow it to stand on a shelf.
- Insert artwork and secure in place. Lay picture/print inside the frame. Nail or glue slender strips of wood around the edges, covering and holding it in place.
With some basic skills and recycled old wood, you can create charming, eco-friendly, custom-sized frames for your home decor needs.
Reclaimed Wood Frame FAQs
Have questions about working with and decorating with reclaimed wood frames? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
- How durable is reclaimed wood for picture frames? Very durable since the wood is dense, cured, and stable from prior use. Avoid using salvaged wood that is extremely weathered, warped, or shows signs of rot/pests.
- Does the type of wood matter for a picture frame? Hardwoods like oak and pine have superior longevity compared to softwoods like pine or poplar which are more prone to scratches and dents over time.
- How do I refinish/restore a reclaimed wood frame? Lightly sand down the surface, fill any holes/gaps with wood putty as needed, then apply new stain, paint, or protective sealer finish.
- What’s the best way to hang a reclaimed wood frame? Use D-rings or a cleat attached to the frame back along with sturdy picture hanging wire to distribute weight evenly on your wall. Or utilize a built-in standoff frame back to stand on shelves.
- How much do reclaimed wood frames cost compared to new frames? Generally 20-50% less than new solid wood frames of similar size and quality. But handmade reclaimed frames can still range from budget-friendly to high-end.
- Can I make a frame from pallet wood? Yes, deconstructed pallet wood boards provide an inexpensive and often high quality reclaimed wood source perfect for DIY projects like picture frames.
- Should I finish reclaimed wood with stain, paint, or sealant? Personal preference! Stain enhances the natural wood grain, paint allows bold custom colors, and sealants/oils provide protection.
- What are signs that reclaimed wood is poor quality/unusable? Warping, cracking, splintering, evidence of rot or pests, funky odors, and overall lack of stability or durability.
- *How thick should reclaimed wood be for a picture frame? * At minimum, 3/4 inch provides enough thickness for a sturdy frame. For more presence, 1 – 2 inch thick boards create a bold, substantial frame.
- Where are good places to source reclaimed wood? Salvage companies, thrift stores, garage sales, antique shops, demolition companies, word-of-mouth leads on neighborhood buy/sell/trade Facebook groups, Craigslist, and local community bulletin boards.
The Perfect Frame for Precious Memories
Surround your most cherished photos, achievements, and fine art with a frame that adds rustic warmth and eco-friendly style. Reclaimed wood picture frames made from salvaged boards and upcycled materials bring a touch of nature into your decor.
Hopefully these tips give you inspiration on integrating wood picture frames crafted from recycled lumber into your home. They provide the perfect presentation for precious memories and images worth displaying.
What favorite photo or art piece are you planning to frame in reclaimed wood? Do you have a great source for salvaged lumber? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!