A Frame Transformation + Vintage Button Valentine

You’re in for a treat today–it’s time for our monthly Thrifty Chicks challenge, and this month is frames. If you’re like me, you have more than a few (try a couple hundred) lying around, waiting inspiration to strike.

We’ve got plenty of that for you with this challenge! I’ll be using my transformed frame to hold a vintage button Valentine that I think you’ll agree is lovely. Vintage mother of pearl buttons on red velvet and framed by a freshly beautified frame.

What’s not to love?

Related posts: Collecting Vintage Buttons Part I, Part II, Ten Decorating Projects Using Vintage Buttons, How to Display Your Vintage Buttons

a frame transformation + vintage button valentine adirondackgirlatheart.com

* This post contains affiliate links for products necessary to complete this project. This is both for your convenience as well as to support this blog, as I receive a small compensation whenever you click on such a link and make any sort of purchase, for which I thank you.

Materials for Transforming (Aging) a Frame

  1. Vintage brown frame (or a new one)
  2. Black chalkpaint (I use DecoArt’s Carbon)
  3. Sand paper
  4. Paste wax (I use Johnson’s)
  5. Cheesecloth
  6. Piece of cardboard the same size as your frame

vintage wooden frames

Like I said, I’ve got frames galore (or maybe they have me?). I have them in every conceivable size, color, and texture.

vintage frame

Once I settled on creating a button heart, I chose a 5″ x 7″ frame to go along with it. I always choose brown (or orange-y brown in this case) when  I want to use black paint because the brown shows through nicely when the black paint is distressed. I like the slightly aged and time-worn look that’s created.

How to Age a Frame for an Antique Look

Painted vintage frame

Step 1: Give the frame two thin coats of Decoart chalky paint in Carbon and allow it to dry.

Step 2: Lightly sand all around the edges and corners to allow some of that brown color to show through.

close up of distressing

Here’s a closer look at the distressing.

Step 3: Next apply a thin coat of clear wax, left it to sit for five minutes, and then buff it out with some cheesecloth (see photo below of a finished frame).

Materials for Making a Vintage Button Heart on Velvet

  1. Vintage white buttons (or new ones)
  2. Tacky glue (I used Aleen’s)
  3. Red velvet

red velvet, tacky glue, vintage buttons

Now to create the “art” that the frame will hold. I cut a piece of red velvet from an old curtain I bought for crafting purposes and set my frame on top of it. 

How to Make a Vintage Button Valentine

heart outline with vintage buttons

Step 1: With your buttons, create a heart shape, gluing them to the surface of the velvet with tacky glue. Here you see the first round of buttons.

Step 2: Position more buttons in the interior of the heart shape and glue them into place. 

close up of vintage button heart

I recommend using vintage buttons because, as you can see in this photo, they offer a variety of textures and shades of white, which makes things interesting.

Step 3: Add a bow to finish off your Valentine–I used vintage seam binding. It only takes an hour or so for all the glue to dry, and then you’re ready to adhere the velvet to a piece of cardboard that fits the frame opening–in my case 5″ x 7″.

Step 4: Staple the velvet to the cardboard around the edges and then trimmed the excess velvet.

Step 5: Insert your beautiful creation into the frame, securing it with small nails and then backing it with brown paper (see a full how to in this post: Framing Like a Professional).

framed vintage button heart

Here you can see the satin finish that a coat of wax gives to chalk paint. It also prevents the paint’s chalky-ness from rubbing off onto your hands or clothing and protects the painted surface as well.

[Did you notice that I ended up using a different frame than I started with?!! Turns out the one in the photos at the top of the post had a weird back that would not work for this project. So I had to use a previously painted one that I had on hand. Luckily, I keep a stack of frames ready to use in projects like this.]

gallery wall and ironstone cupboard

I had been planning to write a Valentine sentiment on my chalkboard but had a sudden inspiration that my new “art” might work perfectly. I hung the frame using a piece of ribbon and a couple of tacks.

gallery wall

A simple hanging solution that creates a lovely Valentine decoration.

framed vintage button heart on chalkboard

I hope you all have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with someone you love, whether it’s a dear friend, child, or spouse.

vintage button heart on chalkboard 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Friend!

Be sure to check out my fellow Thrifty Chicks creative projects:

1. A Frame for Valentine’s Day, Shoppe No. 5
2. Coastal Picture Frame Serving Tray, Interior Frugalista
3. A Frame Transformation + Vintage Button Valentine, Adirondack Girl @ Heart (me!)
4. Upcycled Valentine Picture Frame, Little Vintage Cottage
5. Sheet Metal Frame, Lora B Create & Ponder

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Vintage chalkboard with framed vintage button heart/text: Learn how to age a frame and make a vintage button heart

A frame transformation + vintage button Valentine adirondackgirlatheart.com

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  1. I love your button valentine art, Diana! The red velvet background against the pretty pearl buttons is lovely but then hanging the frame on a large chalkboard makes such an impact. You nailed this challenge!

  2. I don’t have enough vintage buttons, but I do have a stash; this would be fun to try. I have some 3″ wide red Christmas ribbon which might make an ornament sized base….Hmmm! Maybe reds on a white base. Will hafta think on it…for next year!

  3. This is so pretty. The black frame showcases the button heart just right. I like how you hung it on the chalkboard.

  4. What a cute idea and you did it so well. I love the size of this one and plan to make one of my own. Great post–I’ll be watching for more ideas from you.

  5. Well, I just really love this project Diana! I think the part I like the best is how you framed it with another frame (the chalkboard)!


  6. What a cute project! I love and have a lot of old buttons from my mom. I remember when I was little, on snow days, I would always beg to play and sort her buttons! My questions is this. I also have a lot of old frames. Have you found a good way to store them? I have them in tubs, but then it is hard to dig through them to find the right frame. I need a better solution.

  7. Lovely project Diana! I love the frame within a frame and that little heart is adorable. So pretty!

  8. Really pretty, Diana. I have so many buttons, and not enough craft ideas, so thank you for the inspiration. I just read about your “big news” with the Shaker Craft Fair gift shop. Congratulations! It’s a perfect fit for your creative ideas.

  9. I love the look of this! I have plenty of buttons too. Just now getting around to reading this post. Snow day!

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