not reinventing the wheel.

OK, so I’m not reinventing the wheel or anything with today’s post.  I’m sure you’ve all seen old windows turned into photo frames many times before.  Initially I wasn’t even going to blog about this project, but it was a fun one to work on and I love how it turned out so I decided, why not?

What’s the worst that can happen?  You’ll all get bored, move on to the next thing in your day and not leave any comments.  I can live with that.  So here it is.

My neighbor, nnK, has a stash of old windows from a barn that was torn down.  I was over at her house one day because one my fellow vendors from Reclaiming Beautiful, Amy, was looking for old windows to build a green house (I can’t wait to see how that project turns out for her!)  Amy left with a truck load of windows, and afterwards I noticed that there was just one 3 pane window left in the stash and it had perfectly chippy white paint so nnK let me have it, sort of like a commission for finding her a buyer for the windows.

I brought it home and gave it a good cleaning.  Then I sanded it down to knock off any really loose paint.  Finally I used The Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat Finishing Cream to seal it.

Today’s q tip:  Always remember that old paint may contain lead.  You can buy inexpensive testing kits at any DIY store if you want to know for sure.  Lead paint is more dangerous for children than adults, but still you should take proper safety precautions when working with it.  I like to seal chippy old paint like this to keep it from continuing to flake off.

Once the Finishing Cream was dry I added some random leftover bits from the Prima Marketing Seeds transfer.

I also added the old window hardware.  This was some old hardware that I picked up at a garage sale once upon a time.

Next I went through my photos and picked out some of my favorite travel pics.  I used PicMonkey to make them black and white and then printed them off as 5″ x 7″ photos on 8.5″ by 11″ matte photo paper.

I chose this picture from our trip to Budapest.

This one from our trip to Venice.

And this one that I took at the Beamish in England.

I totally loved that place, so if you’re ever in Newcastle upon Tyne you should absolutely check it out.

Initially I was thinking that the tricky part of this project would be trimming the photos just right to fit the window panes, and then figuring out how to adhere them.

But then I realized that I liked the look of the photos with a little space between them and the glass.  So taping them to the back of the window frame without trimming them at all worked out perfectly well.

And the 5″ x 7″ dimensions also worked perfectly leaving some visible white space around each photo, sort of like a mat.

I added these hangers to the back of the window …

I prefer this style hanger to the saw tooth version because they screw in and will hold heavier items like this with no problem.

So, to recap, the window was free, the photos were free (unless you count the ink and paper, which presumably one already has on hand), the transfer was left over from another project and the window hardware was something from my stash of old hardware.  The only things I had to purchase were the hanger thingies.

Although I originally intended it for the living room …

I’ve now moved it to the piano room.

Down the road I can always swap out the photos for different ones, or move this to yet another room.

Not bad for an investment of just a couple of dollars and about an hour or so, huh?  Do you have any old windows lying around that you can turn into photo holders?

45 thoughts on “not reinventing the wheel.

  1. Well I didn’t find this boring at all. I love how this turned out and especially that it cost zero to make …a nice upcycle! 😊.


    1. Thanks Sarah, it’s good to know that people enjoy posts like these! I always hesitate to do them because I imagine people thinking ‘been there, done that’ or ‘this is so last year’ … 🙂


    1. Yep, those were definitely some great trips! I love seeing pics like these on my walls because they remind me of some of the amazing travel experiences Mr. Q and I have had.


      1. Love the post. This is one that a person could actually follow thru on with minimal supplies and effort. That makes it blog-worthy right there! Love the black and white pics too…nice way to remember your travels. You should do a coffee table photography book on your travels. Your photo skills are top notch. Maybe a retirement project down the road…😮


  2. Your photography is stellar, you have such an artists eye. The diagonals and movement is great. I love the window size and the fact that you could just tape the photos on the back so you could swap them out. I keep meaning to purchase the finishing cream but it seemed expensive. Does it last for a number of projects? Does it create a hard finish when dry? Great project, love it on your wall.


    1. It seems to last forever. I’m still on my first container and I have at least 1/3 of it left, but it’s the big 32 oz size. I seem to have used it on countless projects though. It does create a hard finish similar to what you would get with Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat or the Dixie Belle clear coats.


  3. You know my husband brought a window home that someone painted in a rainbow of colors. Me not being you let in languish in the garage for a couple of years. Finally he tossed it. 😳 That said the shape of your window from nnk perfectly suitable for framing.
    The addition of hardware = sweet. Love your travel photos too. Reminded of your piece on the “funicular”, at least that’s what I think it is called.


    1. Yep, ‘funicular’ is one of my favorite words. My niece gets totally annoyed with me and thinks I should just say ‘cable car’ or something else. But I love funiculars and have ridden in a few of them around the world 🙂


    2. A new take on the photos to put in the windows panes. I’m going to share this to my daughter…she has 3 photos in Miss Mustard Seed’s 2nd Look book. They would look amazing In black and white and hung on her wall and is a great memory of Europe She has a similar eye for photographic moments like you.
      I can see this paired with a vintage camera collection.


    1. Yes, that would be tough. Although I have to say, my dad never wanted to travel outside the U.S. so my mom became a travel agent and then went without him! She has traveled with colleagues, her sister, us girls, and her friends.


  4. Not boring at all Miss Quandie! I wish you posted every day…….we could all just watch the paint drying on your current project!! Why not? Does that make me a voyeur? Lol………


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