Window Photo Display

At one point we had a wall filled with family photos. After a while I started to get a little tired of looking at it. It was just too busy for me and the collection of cheap mismatched frames just started to be annoying to look at. So we moved the majority to photo albums and a choice few are on our desks at work.

I did want to have the basics displayed though. A simple declaration of whose home this is. Since the boys were little we have had these five pictures on a wall somewhere. Their baby pictures on top. Their current school pictures on the bottom and our wedding picture in the center. Clean uniform frames spaced exactly evenly apart to the centimeter.

Lately though I wanted to display them a little differently. I wanted more of an organic feeling to the display. I’ve seen window picture frames around and liked the idea. I made the Dutch-Door Menu board some time ago and used the same basic process for this. This project was much easier though because being a window frame and not the top half of a door, it is much lighter.

The glass was broken, scratched or warped and not worth saving. Scraping out the glazing and removing the glass wasn’t difficult. The glazing was brittle and crumbled under slight pressure. I used a box cutter for the majority of this. I wear a Kevlar glove just in case.

Stripping off the old paint took more time. I used a no odor stripper paste that is safe for indoor use. A traditional stripper would have worked much better, but it is winter in PA and I was working in the basement not the garage. I used two treatments of the paste on each side and got the vast majority of the paint off. The wood is old and porous it absorbed moisture from the stripping so I let it dry for a full day before sanding. I used a palm sander and a dremel tool with a sanding wheel to get the paint the stripper didn’t.

When we chose the paint we went for semi-gloss latex for a few reasons. Like I said before the wood is very porous and I was concerned that it would soak up whatever moisture is in the air. I also wanted to exaggerate the nicks, gouges and cracks in the wood. If you ever painted a less than perfect wall with semi-gloss paint you know that every imperfection shows. We went with black paint because we already have a similar project in the dining room in white and didn’t want a redundancy. We also haven’t painted the walls in that area yet and we needed a neutral color until we make a decision on wall color.

Now it is time to replace the glass. Measuring from the back, the panes needed are 13” x 9”. I go to Lowes for glass and mirror cutting. They will cut to size for no additional charge. I would like to find a place that can cut arches for a future project. It cost about $17 for 6 panes. It was a little bit of a tight fit. I had to shave down a side of one the panels ever so slightly, probably a millimeter. Each panel is held in by 2 glazing points on the long sides of the glass. Here is a tip when dealing with older frames. After you put in one panel turn the frame around and see if you can see the glazing points through the glass. Older frames have less of a lip than newer ones and modern glazing points are longer. In my case I could see them. I pulled the glazing points and clipped off half of the back side of the points then replaced them and it looked perfect.

I mounted an eyehook on either side on the top and used picture frame wire for hanging. I am thinking about relocating the eye hooks to the back to hide the wire. I like the look of the wire but not the nail sticking out of the wall. If I can come up with something that looks better than a nail, I’ll leave it alone.

Matting and placing the pictures is easy enough. I had the black and gray matting from the old frames but, I will be updating them. I’m thinking a burgundy or maroon matting. We also need a 6th picture to fill the last spot. A picture the dogs, maybe?


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