Create a unique photo display by painting mismatched picture frames with a carefully orchestrated palette
How to Create Colorfully Framed Photos
Rob D. Brodman


(not including wooden picture frames)

  • black-and-white photographs
  • five colors of latex paint, sample sizes
  • precut mats, if needed


  • sandpaper or sanding sponge, 180 grit
  • microfiber dust cloth
  • drop cloth or newspaper
  • scraps of wood (to support frames while paint dries)
  • synthetic-bristle brush, 1 inch or 1½ inch
  • hammer
  • picture hangers or nails


1. Design the layout. Arrange the frames and select which color to use for each.

2. Prep. Remove the mat and glass from each frame. Lightly sand any sheen off the wood with the sandpaper or sanding sponge. Remove any residue with the dust cloth.

3. Paint. Spread the drop cloth or newspaper, and arrange the wood scraps to support the frames. With the synthetic-bristle brush, paint the frames different colors.

4. Mat. When the frames are dry, buy precut mats for them, all in the same color. If you have a frame that a precut mat won’t fit, choose a photograph that doesn’t need a mat for that frame.

5. Mount. Assemble the mats and photographs in the frames. With the hammer, tap the picture hangers or nails into the wall and then hang the framed pictures.

Style note

For a sleeker look, paint all the frames the same color as the wall. Use only black-and-white photographs and see how they pop!