Marbled Picture Frames

Talk about a fun, easy, and cheap project!  This occupied my evening last night until far too late.  It was one of those evenings – out with friends and home with every intention on going to bed, but alas, art got in my head instead.  Once I am set on a project, I have to complete it, or it just completely takes over my brain’s functioning ability.

Supplies needed for this project:

  • old/cheap frames that can be dismantled
  • disposable bucket/container for water that is big enough for your frame to fit inside
  • assorted nail polishes 
  • newspaper for drying frames on
  • toothpick for swirling designs
  • fan or well-ventilated room, if doing this project indoors
  • gloves (optional, for keeping hands cleaner)

I started with 3 cheap frames from a dollar bin at a big box store.  The yellow was a nice color, but since they were from the dollar bin, the paint job was cheap and chipping off.  Nothing some paint wouldn’t fix!

Next, I rummaged around and found some of my cheaper and dying nail polishes.  Then I filled a bucket, big enough to fit the surface of my frames, with water.  Then, carefully poured a mixture of nail polish colors onto the surface of the water.  If you pour too fast, some of the nail polish will pop back up to the surface of the water.

Once the design was complete, I dipped my disassembled frame carefully just onto the surface of the water.  Then, I quickly lifted the frame straight up, so as not to ruin the design on the surface.

Here is the marbled design of the first frame.  Allow the frame to dry on newspaper for an hour, at least.  Keep using the same water, just use a piece of folded newspaper to skim the nail polish off the surface and then add new colors.

 For my second two frames, I decided to create a new base color with red and dark silver nail polish.  After the base coats were dry, they too were marbled.

The water bucket will have droplets of remaining nail polish leftover at the bottom and edges.  This is why it is important to use a disposable container.  When I was completely finished, I poured the water into a trash bag that was already full of trash that would soak up the water.  Do not pour down drains or flush this water!

I created some marbled sticky labels after the frames were done.  I plan on using these to label boxes and bins to keep my art room organized.

The frames look great alongside Greta’s abstract painted frame that she painted for me.


Published by Chelsea

Art teacher by day. Mother of 2 - day and night. Thrifter, crafter, artist, baker, chef, and DIYer in free time.

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