Our Little Book Company / Wise Craft: Updated Oil Paintings


I love this idea of taking old, outdated paintings and giving them a makeover with pops of neon and 3-dimensional elements.  It adds a quirkiness that’s so easy to execute and stands out among the norm.  For more craftiness visit author Blair Stocker’s personal craft site and pick up a copy of Wise Craft, a collection of seasonal DIYs, shot by EJ Armstrong.

“Having oil portraits painted of children was popular where I grew up in central North Carolina; maybe that’s why I love them so. I’m always on the lookout for interesting secondhand original oil paintings, and I picked up these two oil paintings for ten dollars each. An afternoon of sprucing up and they are beautifully original again.”  – Blair Stocker, Wise Craft



Framed oil painting Spray paint

Enameled jewelry, pearls, extra beads and crystals left over from other projects, craft store birds, or any other kind of trim that could be used on the painting

Scrap fabric (optional)

Picture-hanging hardware (optional)



Newspaper or drop cloth, to protect work surface

All-purpose cleaner and cloth

Painter’s blue tape


Face mask

Rubber gloves Apron

Acrylic craft paints


Hot glue gun

Fabric scissors

Craft glue (I used Mod Podge) (optional)



1) Lay down newspaper or a drop cloth, to protect your work surface. Thoroughly clean and lightly sand the picture frame. Use newspaper to cover the picture and tape it off completely. Don the face mask, rubber gloves, and apron. Apply several light coats of spray paint to the frame and allow to dry thoroughly.

2) Spruce up the painting. The colors of the original paintings I found were a little drab, perhaps from sun fading or age, and I wanted to brighten them up and unify them visually, as they would be hanging together. Using acrylic craft paint and brushes, I just added a little color here and there, whitening the teeth, brightening the darkest flowers, changing the shade of the yellow flowers a bit. A few alterations made a big difference.

3) Add dimensional embellishments. Using a hot glue gun, add dimensional embellishments, such as enamel jewelry pieces, beads from an old necklace, a pair of earrings (with the backs cut off), and flocked birds from the craft store.

4) Embellish the frame (optional). If you want to add to the frame, glue on fabric trim as I did on one of mine. Simply cut a small strip of a pretty fabric and apply with craft glue around the frame. Allow to dry. Add picture-hanging hardware, if needed, and hang your new masterpiece.


Posted By: EJ
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