Turn old windows into photo frames

How to recycle those old windows & showcase cottage memories

By Cottage LifeCottage Life


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Salvaged windows that are old, cracked and no longer suitable to reflect the great outdoors, can reflect the great indoors when the old glass panes are replaced with mirrors or artwork.


  • An old window frame
  • Varnish
  • A few yards of canvas
  • Wood and nails to make canvas frame
  • Wood glue
  • Gesso
  • Paints
  • A phone book

Step #1:

Old windows sometimes have layers of paint and broken hinges still on them. Whether you choose to refinish your frame or leave the original character is entirely up to you. If you choose to refinish your frame, just remove any left over paint or rough





Step #2:

Apply desired stain colour, followed by two to three coats of varnish.






Step #3: For artwork, measure out the inside of the window panes.






Step #4:

Cut sticks of wood—¼ round works well—to fit into the window pane and nail the corners of the frame together. Pull the canvas tight over the frame and staple gun the canvas down, making sure there are no wrinkles on the flip side.





Step #5:

Apply an even coat of gesso onto the canvas.






Step #6:

Let dry, apply a base colour, and start painting!






Step #7:

If you would prefer to reflect the great indoors using mirror, find a local glass cutter in the phone book to cut and install the glass for you. It will be a lot easier and cheaper for a professional to install the mirrors.




Whether you decide to replace the empty window pane with mirrored glass or with artwork. Both are inexpensive and design-friendly ways to shed new light to an old window frame!

This article was originally published on April 20, 2005

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