Restoring A Picture Frame


As you can see from the picture below, the mouldings on the top of the frame resemble a roller coaster, due to the frame having got damp in the past. One corner motif and a couple of pieces of moulding were missing. Some pieces were previously glued using contact adhesive (nightmare) and the frame had been brush coated with a green/gold paint.

CIMG4378Where the moulding was rocking from being curved I put pressure on each end to snap it, thereby straightening it and gluing it back into position. Once I had a good straight line of moulding, using dentists amalgam I made an impression of the moulding, blocked off both ends with modeling clay and filled with resin mixed with dental plaster. (This gives a harder casting with no air holes). When dry the casing was removed leaving a perfect copy of the moulding.

CIMG4374The moulding was then bedded into place in plaster. Left to dry then trimmed to fit and papered with a fine grade Lubrasil. When papering any mouldings or cavettos use an object of the same shape to wrap the paper around (I used a piece of plastic tubing ) as finger papering will just follow the bumps.

CIMG4381 CIMG4384The missing corner motif was built up using plaster and diluted PVA.  When semi dry it was carved to match. While the plaster was workable I filled as many large gaps as possible between the mouldings and damaged outside edges and corners to the frame.

CIMG4382Once all the plaster work had been done I gave the whole frame a wash coat of Antique Gold Finger mixed with shellac polish and a touch of grey umber.

CIMG4389a When touch dry I dusted some rotten stone (ground pumice powder) with a paint brush around the frame to give the frame an aged look.

CIMG4386I then made a small dry pad and using Antique Gold Finger I went over the surface lightly highlighting all the high spots, motifs, mouldings etc.leaving the grey rotten stone in all the depressions.

CIMG4388When dry the slip and the painting were pinned back into position and the frame was rewired.


Please note this frame had been previously ‘Painted over’ I would not have used this technique on a gilded frame. I would touch in small spots but would not have gone over the whole frame.