How to Restore an Old Window Frame as Art

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Old window frames or window sashes are often discarded when new windows are installed by homeowners. You can find discarded windows at building salvage yards; they are ideal for a wide variety of do-it-yourself projects, including hanging window art. A reclaimed window frame makes an ideal art piece that can frame smaller works of art behind each pane of glass. Take your time and restore the window frame to good condition to turn it into a hanging work of art.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Sanding pad, fine-grit
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Window glazing
  • Masking tape
  • Clear spray lacquer
  • Tape measure
  • Clear contact paper
  • Paper cutter
  • Art cards/post cards/photo prints
  • Drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • 2 Eye hooks
  • Place the reclaimed window frame on a work surface. Brush the wooden parts of the frame lightly with a wire brush in the same direction as the wood grain to remove any loose paint and debris from the surface.

  • Sand the wooden parts of the frame with a fine-grit sanding pad in the same direction as the wood grain to smooth the surface of the frame.

  • Score the edges of the window glazing that surrounds the edges of each window pane with a utility knife.

  • Slide a putty knife between the glazing and the wooden frame to carefully pry each length of glazing from the frame. Sand the area where you removed the glazing with a fine-grit sanding pad to remove any remains of the glazing.

  • Roll window glazing into thin beads approximately 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter and approximately the length of each side of each window pane. Press the rolls into the edges of the frame around each pane of glass where you removed the old glazing.

  • Drag a putty knife across the surface of the putty while holding it at a slight angle to make a clean angled surface around each pane of glass with the window glazing. Allow the glazing to dry 24 hours.

  • Tape off the glass window panes with masking tape. Spray the wooden part of the window frame with clear spray lacquer. Allow the first coat to dry for at least four hours and apply a second coat. Wait 24 hours after the second coat and peel off the masking tape. The clear lacquer will allow the rustic beauty of the reclaimed frame to come through.

  • Measure the dimensions of the panes of glass with a tape measure. Cut the clear contact paper to the dimensions of the window panes on a paper cutter.

  • Place the window frame with the back side facing up on a work surface. Center your art piece in each window pane with the front side facing down. Peel off the adhesive backing on the contact paper and press the sticky side down over each window pane to hold the art in place. Run your fingers over the contact paper to ensure that it is smooth.

  • Drill a 1/16-inch diameter hole 1/2-inch deep, 2 inches in from each side on the top side of the window frame, using a drill equipped with a 1/16-inch drill bit. Thread an eye hook into each hole with your fingers. The eye hook can be used to hang the completed art piece.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint the frame a bright accent color for a more modern style of art piece.
  • Wear eye protection when working on window frame projects to help prevent injuries.

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