how to make faux vintage paintings

Step 01 — Find the Perfect Thrifted Frames

When embarking on my DIY vintage art project, the first step was to find the perfect frames.

I scoured various thrift stores and vintage shops, looking for frames that had a unique and vintage aesthetic.

I was particularly drawn to frames with a touch of gold for that classic vintage look. After some hunting, I was able to find a few frames that fit my vision.

PRO TIP: if you want frames with a vintage gold look you can use rub and buff — just rub a little on with a clean rag and smooth it out for a metal-look.

Step 02 — Select and Print Your Vintage Artwork

Once I had my frames, it was time to select the artwork that would be the centerpiece of my project. I decided to go for a vintage-inspired piece, something that would complement the frames and give my space a touch of nostalgia.

I found some beautiful artwork HERE for one of the pieces (theres lots of options on Etsy too!) If since you’re on a budget, you can opted for some vintage artwork that’s outside of the public domain, which you can able to download for free.

Another great source for free vintage artwork is the MOMA website, which offers a wide selection of high-quality prints you can turn into posters.

Once I had my artwork, I printed it as a colored poster at my local CVS. I made sure to choose a size that would fit my frames perfectly, but I also wanted to add some matting to create a more polished look. For the larger frame, I decided to create my own matting using a piece of poster board.

Pro tip: CVS often has sales on printing services, so keep an eye out for discounts. I was able to snag a 50% off deal, which brought the cost of each print down to about eight dollars each.

Step 03 — Apply Matte Mod Podge for a Professional Finish

To give my vintage artwork a professional finish, I decided to use matte mod podge.

I used a chip brush to apply the mod podge over the entire surface of the poster, laying it on quite thick to create a textured effect.

I tried to follow some of the brushstrokes of the original painting to make it look more realistic and add depth to the print.

I applied two coats of mod podge, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Step 04 — Frame Your Vintage Artwork

With my vintage artwork now coated in matte mod podge and dry, it was time to frame it. However, the thrifted frames I had purchased didn’t come with a back, so I had to get creative.

I cut some recycled cardboard to fit the back of my frames and taped my poster to the cardboard, ensuring it was centered and secure.

I then carefully placed the cardboard-backed poster into the frames and secured it with a few pieces of tape. If you prefer, you can also add hardware to the back of the frame for easy hanging.


And there you have it! With just a few simple steps, I was able to create beautiful vintage-inspired artwork for my home using thrifted frames and printed posters.

The matte mod podge added a professional finish, giving the artwork a realistic painted look. This budget-friendly DIY project was not only fun to do, but it also added a touch of charm and character to my space.

Now I have a stunning piece of vintage art that looks like it came straight out of an art gallery, all thanks to some thrifted frames and a little creativity.

faux vintage paintings from thrifted frames

faux vintage paintings from thrifted frames


Printed Posters — I printed mine at CVS


01 — grab some thrifted frames

I looked for frames in a variety of sizes with a vintage style and grab some gold ones. If you want to change the color, you can use some rub and buff to make them gold.

02 — print your vintage artwork as a poster

I selected artwork and decided on the right size for my frames, and printed it at CVS as a colored poster. 

You can get artwork from Etsy order for free if you download vintage artwork that is outside of the public domain, I like the MOMA site for this.

You can print your poster to fit your frame or create some matting using a piece of posterboard (like i did on the larger piece) 

CVS offer sales on Prince a lot of the time I used to keep on for 50% off which is listed on the site bringing each print to about eight dollars each

03 — paint the poster with matte mod podge

Using matte mod podge and a chip brush, paint over the poster, laying it on pretty thick. I tried to follow some of the brushstrokes of the painting, to make it look more realistic.

I gave my poster, two coats, letting it dry completely in between.

04 — frame it 

My thrift and frames didn’t come with back so I cut some recycled cardboard to fit the back of my frame and taped my poster to the cardboard then stuck into the back and secured with a couple pieces of tape. You can also add hardware if you want to hang it.

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