Framing Interesting, Memorable, or Vintage Objects

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In the past I've had a difficult time finding wall art for our home. I tried buying a print from Homesense once. It's hanging in our spare room and I secretly want to get rid of it. It's just not interesting or memorable. It's a generic print that a hundred other people prob'ly have too. Boooo to that.

I've tried to find other ways to fill up the walls of our home by:

a) Purchasing Etsy prints from various artists (see post here).
b) Framing vintage botanical prints from an encyclopedia (see post here).
c) DIYing a typography collage with print from a favourite book (see post here).

But I still have some empty walls. So on our recent vacation to Ottawa/Montreal I came up with a brilliant (to me) idea. Since I have this odd fascination with doors/doorknobs/locks/keys I decided to purchase a set of door knob plates from an antique shop and frame them as a little collection.

These doorknob thingies vary quite a bit in finishes and styles but I decided to get some plain, rectangular ones with chippy white/off-white paint. Three were bundled together so I bought the little set.

I took a look at Homesense for a shadowbox but they were all really deep. I spotted a frame that was shallower than a shadowbox but deeper than a regular picture frame. It was perfect. 'Cept I had to tell the cashier that I wasn't a crazy cat lady. {Might be a crazy dog lady though.}

This project was so easy.

First, I cleaned up the door plates with a little windex. Then I opened up the frame and removed the ugly matte. I used a gluestick to glue a piece of white scrapbook paper directly to the back of the picture frame. (I had to secure the paper to something sturdy since the metal was quite heavy.)

I had a tricky time trying to adhere the doorknob thingies to the back of the frame. At first I used a glue gun but it didn't hold to the metal very well. Next I tried some silicone that was leftover (and laying right beside me) from our last project. It was stinky but I used it anyway.

I let the silicone dry for about an hour and then reassembled the frame.

So easy and so unique! What I really like about this project is the contrast of the new, white frame with the old, chippy doorknob plates inside. They look so tidy and cute!

My plan is to use this on a future gallery wall in our bedroom. I'll lean it on a shelf for now though.


I put together a few inspiration photos of other vintage/antique items that would look super cute framed by themselves or as part of a collection.

The possibilities are endless if you really think about it. Just dig around some antique shops for some interesting items:

(Image: Little Frame Big Wall)

(Image: Lovely Package)

(Image: Unknown)

(Image: Little Vintage Violet - Etsy)

Tart Tins
(Image: French Larkspur)

(Image: Glam Lamb)

(Image: Stephie B.)

(Image: Fresh MD)

(Image: Home Shopping Spy)

(Image: 2B Creative - Etsy)

(Image: Show and Tell)

Cookie Cutters
(Image: Bird Nests and Paper - Etsy)

(Image: Lox Papers)

Typewriter Keys
(Image: Moxie Thrift - Etsy)

Thread Spools
(Image: I Could Make That)

So, which collection is your favourite? Do you have any objects/items to add to my idea list???


Linking to: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm, Twice-Owned Tuesday @ Creating a House of Grace, Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle, White Wednesday @ Faded Charm, Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts, Good Life Wednesday @ A Beach Cottage, Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage, Show and Share Day @ Just a Girl, Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest


  1. Great ideas! Your door plates in the frame looks good. I'm like you I don't like generic pictures hanging on the walls. I would much rather have what you just made! Thanks for sharing your ideas:)

  2. What a great idea!
    It is things like door plates that appeal to me much more that regular 'art'.

    You did great!

    White Spray Paint

  3. Your door plates are so very very cool! I saw some at the antique store where I bought the kitchen scale last week, but we were already on the way out the door. I didn't ask the price :(
    So many great ideas, and I have a few favourites including: the buttons, keys, typewriter keys, the flashcards and the cookie cutters. I know what you mean about art having to mean something and any of those would be cool in our home. Thanks for the great ideas!

  4. love, love, love this idea! your stuff is always so crisp, clean, and vintagy---just what i like!

  5. I like your shelf and the framed door thingies. The other collections are fun. I feel the same way about wall art. Can't seem to find what I want.

  6. Oooh, I love the map hearts!

  7. Ha, I totally opened this post, saw your awesome door knob plates and yelled out loud at you! I have 3 of these (mine are brass/bronzy/coppery though) sitting around that I bought at an antique show in May and I've been meaning to do the same thing to them, just haven't gotten around to it yet. Yours look so great! I was going to frame mine separately (the smallest with a key) and hang them one above the other in a small vertical space. Darn, I thought hot glue would work, thanks for the silicone tip. Love the typewriter keys and vintage flash card ideas!!!

  8. I love these! Actually framing unexpected items is one of my favourite things - it's just unexpected and a bit quirky. I've had framed vintage milk tabs and old potato bag tags in my kitchen for a while and I've just purchased some vintage math flashcards that I plan to frame. I also just need a frame for my antique button card I picked up while at the Paris flea market a few years ago. :)

  9. Just wanted to mention that I enjoyed your posts about your antique shopping in my neck of the woods of Muskoka. Red Barn is one of my favourite haunts, as are the shops in Rosseau (also, best butter tarts in Rosseau too!) Since moving to Dubai, I'm really missing summer in Muskoka and all the good things it brings :)

  10. Fabulous post! Love all the pics and inspirational ideas... your door posts artwork turned out gorgeous! :)

  11. This is so cute! Love the idea of buttons and maps cut out in heart shapes too. Very inspirational.

  12. Lots and lots of great ideas... thanks for sharing!

  13. I love this - the mason jar and flowers are gorgeous too! I love all your ideas too... makes me want to shop some thrift stores and start a gorgeous collection like one of these... : )

  14. Love the framed door plates!! I'm nota crazy cat lady...but I'm totally with you about dogs! :) Thanks for sharing. :)

  15. This looks GREAT! I don't think I have anything "normal" hanging on my walls. I love collecting antique post cards from places that we have been. It is really neat to have images from London, New York and Paris from the turn of the century and these post cards are CHEAP. I buy them for under $3 from places like Aberfoyle Antique Market and Southworks Antiques in Cambridge. Don't know if your near to these places but they are great to shop at.

  16. That is such a great idea! I love old doors/door parts! I would love some like that in my house!

  17. What great ideas! I love all of them but I really like the doorknob thingies the best!

    Visiting from Someday Crafts linky!


  18. Love this idea! This is the first post I've ever read of yours and I am a little hooked I think. I want to try this to decorate some of my empty walls. Thanks for the tip!

  19. Hi Sarah ~ I love your framed doorknob plates! Such a great idea ~ I have struggled to find wall decor also and have attempted to make some of my own. Sometimes it turns out well and other times not so much. Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. Aacck!! I love this!! I love found art!! :) I framed some arrowheads -- might be another to add to your list!!

  21. I love your framed art!! And I'm also loving all of these fabulous ideas!! Thanks for sharing!

  22. I love it!! Thanks for stopping by my anthro dresser post :) your pics are so the spools of thread one :) happy friday!

  23. That looks lovely, one of a kind wall-art :) Thanks for sharing at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  24. Love! Love! Love this! I hope you don't mind if I borrow your idea. :) Vintage clock faces would be fun to frame too.

    I would love it if you came by to visit me sometime!

  25. Love! Love! Love this idea! I hope you don't mind if I borrow it. :) Vintage clock faces would be fun to frame too.

    I would love it if you stopped by to visit me sometime!

  26. Hi! Love this post, and also wanted to say thanks for the window tutorial. Just so you know, I've finally finished my window, and I mentioned/linked to your blog.
    Thanks again!

  27. What a great idea!!! I go back and forth with buying art I like, but that everyone and their brother also owns and making my own. I only have a few 'bought' pieces left...more and more I lean towards artwork with meaning. :)

  28. Hi! I am so excited to have come across your blog! Your projects are amazing and have inspired me and can't wait to start a bigger project like you. A desk perhaps? I am looking forward to your next post. Thank you Jen (all the way from the other side of the world - New Zealand) :)


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