I’ve started creating what I call “laundry line frames” as a convenient display for items that I either don’t want to frame or that would be rendered nonfunctional by framing (like items that need to be unfolded to be read). It’s a fun repurposing of old frames and usually costs around $10–$15 in materials to create, depending on how much I want to modify the original frame.
I started off with a $3 frame from Goodwill. I ended up needing less than one small bottle of paint to cover the frame, and I already had twine and red and blue acrylic paint on hand.
I had to remove the backing in order to get to just the bare frame. I wanted to decorate the frame with an airmail border, since this frame will be holding letters and cards I receive from friends. Creating the border meant that I’d have to repaint the frame, so I sanded down the surface to give it a little more texture for the paint to cling to.
Probably the easiest and most precise way to paint in the border was to mask the edges with artist tape and paint over the remaining visible space. The masking ended up taking an hour or so, so it wasn’t exactly quick, but I was also being very precise with how I was laying down the tape.
The actual painting itself only took a few minutes—just a couple dabs of paint over each space.
Unmasking the frame was also quick, and it was fun to see the frame transform before my eyes.
After that, I had to install the screw eyes, which are metal loops with a screw attached to the end. They don’t require any tools to install into wood, but installation goes a little more quickly if you have a hammer and a pair of pliers.
After that, I just had to tie the twine onto the screw eyes. I use the same tie on the lines as I do when stringing a frame for hanging. This page has the clearest instructions I’ve found for how to tie the knot.
I hang things on the lines with mini-clothespins that I buy from Michael’s. For larger frames, I use regular-size clothespins.
I’m quite proud of the complete transformation of the original frame.
I’ve used this method for converting picture frames into displays on a couple other frames. I love the fun, rustic feel that the end result has. To hang the frames, I don’t use the traditional method of stringing a wire across the back, because the wire will be visible from the front—instead, I either use a sawtooth hanger across the top, or install D-rings for hanging on either side, but put each on its own hook instead of stringing a wire across them.
I’m not sure where I got the idea to create these displays—I think I saw a jewelry display made out of a frame at a vintage shop and realized that the design could be applied to other functions. It’s really easy to do and makes for a fun result that fits in with most decors. Let me know in the comments if you make a laundry line frame of your own!