How to Antique a Gold Picture Frame

Today, I want to share with you how to antique a new gold picture frame and bonus it’s super easy!

A few weeks ago my mom was out shopping at thrift and antique stores for a few accessories for the blue and white bedroom makeover when she texted me a picture of this lady.

“It’s $20 and I really like her,” she wrote, “What do you think?” To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sitting right by my phone at that moment and about 30 minutes later sent her a note back that read, “OMG! I love her too! I hope you put that thing in your buggy!”

She unfortunately had not but after a quick call and a “Mom, what are you thinking! GO BACK! You will SO regret it if you don’t!” my mom safely had the picture we now call “Isabella” in her car.

A few days later my mom called to see if I could help her age the frame. She told me that while she loved the picture she thought the framed looked “too new” and I totally agreed.

Aging a frame is relatively easy if you have the right supplies. (*Affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

For this project, I used:

Annie Sloan Dark Paste Wax

*Antique Gold Rub n’ Buff

*Wax Brush

*Drop Cloth (not shown) (similar here)

*Tissue Paper (not shown) (similar here)

Here are the steps:

If you’ve never used Rub n’ Buff, it’s super simple, just make sure to follow the directions on the package.

You’ll put a small amount of Rub n’ Buff on your finger,

then rub it directly onto the frame you’re working on. On a side note, you don’t have to be using a gold frame to get this look. Rub n’ Buff works for almost any color frame and it comes in a lot of different colors too not just Antique Gold.

The Rub n’ Buff does rub off onto other surfaces and can be a bit messy so you’ll want to make sure you use a drop cloth to protect your other surfaces and you’ll want to keep a wet napkin or wash cloth nearby for messy fingers too. As always, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water!

At this point, you could technically be considered finished.

But most antiqued pieces have an extra layer of patina on them so I brushed a bit of dark wax into the curves of the frame as well. You’ll want to use a brush to apply the dark wax as opposed to a cloth so that you’re not simultaneously rubbing off the Rub n’ Buff while applying the wax. Keep in mind you may get small bits of wax on the picture so you’ll want to cover the actual picture portion with a piece of tissue paper to help protect it.

Continue working the dark wax into the nooks and crannies of the picture frame…

until you’ve achieved the desired amount of “antiquing” you’re after.

I think the entire application time may have taken about 15 minutes and then there’s a bit of time for the wax to cure too.

The difference in the frames is definitely subtle but it made a big difference as far as overall appearance.

It looks like the age of the photo and the age of the frame are more appropriate now. And, I know my mom was excited about the way the “antique” frame helped pull together the other elements in the room too. It’s all in the details you guys!

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.


Many blessings,


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    1. Thanks ladies! I think that picture is probably the best $20 we spent in that room 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

  1. This turned out beautifully, and your entire blog is so attractive and easy to read. I love the layout.

    1. I appreciate your sweet words, Stacy, thank you so much! Hugs, CoCo

  2. Hi! I’m wanting to paint or antique some wood picture frames. one just needs some black floated on the high spots where some scrolling decor is, and on the sides. The frame has a satin finish on it. Will I need to do anything to it before I brush on the craft paint? Will the paint stick? I assume I’ll have to reseal it afterwards.

    Thank you for you input. I’m a little afraid to start.

    Sincerely, Lorey

    1. Hi Lorey!

      It’s hard to say without being there to actually see, touch, feel, and inspect the frames you’re talking about and I’m definitely not an expert. But in general, I usually give the thrift store frames I’m working with a very light sanding with 220-grit sandpaper to give them a bit of tooth prior to painting them. I also normally use chalk paint, not craft paint.

      Since it’s hard to say if the craft paint you’re using will stick you might consider painting a small portion of the back of the frame to see if any issues come up prior to painting the entire thing.

      As always frames that have significant value or are heirloom quality should be restored by a professional.

      I’ll look for some satin finish frames the next time I’m in the thrift store and update this post.

      Hope this helps and happy painting,

      1. Carol Watters says:

        You mentioned wax? Is this something different than the rub and buff?

        1. Yes, the dark paste wax is different than the Rub n Buff. I added a layer of dark wax to mine after I used the Rub n Buff to give it a more aged look but you certainly don’t have to. The Rub n Buff is beautiful on it’s own. Hope this helps and happy DIY-ing, CoCo

  3. Why did you need to use the Rub n Buff before using the Annie Sloan Dark Wax since the frame was already gold? I have a gold painted wood frame and I’m wondering if I can just go straight to the wax step.

    Thank you!

    1. The original gold frame was really shiny and almost had a plastic gold kind of look which is why I used the Rub n Buff first. It helped to tone it down a bit before adding the dark wax. Hope this helps and happy DIYing, CoCo

  4. I would like to perk up an old picture frame. I enjoy your blog and suggestions.
    May I send you a photo of my framed art for your suggestions? I do not have any experience.

    Thank you,
    Janice B.

    1. Thanks so much, Janice, I really appreciate it. As far as I know (I’ll ask our tech whiz just to be 100%) there’s not a way to upload your pictures to this specific messaging platform. If you have Instagram though, you should be able to direct message them to us at thecrownedgoat and I can take a look at them on Monday when we get back to the office. It’s always fun to try something new and I’m excited for you. Hope your day has been filled with all good things, CoCo

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