How to recycle an old picture frame and fabric pieces

See how some scraps of fabric were turned into an original art piece.

I started this project to try a new technique on a small scale before applying it on a much more large surface, a panel headboard for our bed.

As usual, I'm looking at reusing whatever I had around at home. I considered a small wood panel but in the end, chose an old picture that had been collecting dust for a long time.

My idea was to use small pieces of fabric with different textures, cut and glue them on a plain surface and finally paint over stains to simulate rust.

Step 1


I was able to reuse that old picture frame, but you can take plywood, hard cardboard or anything similar that you may have around at time. You will need some acrylic paint (in different colors), brushes, multi-use glue, scraps of fabric and scissors or a cutter.

Step 2

Fabric & Design

Cut the fabric scraps in different shapes and present them on the base without gluing, looking for the best design possible. In my case, I tried to combine the textures in rectangular shapes to simulate something like an old rusty roof. Fabric colors are not really important, as they are completely covered by the paint.

Step 3

Glue it

Once you have decided on a design, take a picture to use as a guide later.

Glue each piece of fabric individually. Spread the glue on the holding surface and spread some extra on the overlapping borders of the fabric.

The glue I used was thick and difficult to spread. I had to thin it a bit adding some water to get a better absorption in the fabric. It is important to glue each of the pieces completely and use some pressure to remove air bubbles. After you finish, let it dry completely before the next step.

Step 4

Prepare the surface to paint it

I used clear gesso to seal, stiffen and increase adhesion in my painting surface. This step is extremely important, in particular if you use synthetic fabrics like polyamides and polyesters or nylon.

Step 5

Color 1

First, create a dark base painting the entire surface with black acrylic using the dry brush painting technique. After seeing the results, orange or blue may work better in future projects.

You can keep the original color by using a base similar to it.

Step 6

Color 2

As a second step, I added different colors by section using the same technique.

After finishing, I added some acrylic metallic colors to emboss and resurface the texture.

Step 7


Once the paint dried, I cut out the borders and used varnish to protect the piece before completing the frame to hang on the wall.

Next time we want to try

From what I learned, these are the things I'd like to try the next time:

  • A different base color. Something in the blue or orange gamma.

  • Additional textures. Perhaps I can get fabric with floral decorations in relief.

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