Want to learn how to frame a vintage brooch for display and turn vintage jewelry into art? Framed vintage brooches are a fun way to display a special collection and create one-of-a-kind wall art with some history and sparkle. You can buy inexpensive vintage brooches at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and online – or you can use what you have, like a special inherited treasure you love but likely won’t wear. However, framing brooches this way keeps them accessible, in case you ever did want to wear that special piece there’s no need to fuss around with glass – just remove the brooch from the backing and enjoy!
I had a wee bit of an eBay addiction in my early twenties. I spent many sleepless nights “sneaker-fishing” my way into senseless purchases (waiting until the last second to enter my bid, which sometimes meant staying up super late). I was especially smitten with vintage jewelry and scored many gorgeous pieces. But it was a stupid habit – eBay was just so addictive! I kicked my habit but have many reminders, including two fabulous, but un-wearably inconvenient, vintage Bakelite brooches. The solution to a collection of brooches I don’t wear? Frame them!
I loved how my framed vintage brooch art turned out, so I’m sharing the easy tutorial today.
- Cotton batting (I used leftovers from an upholstery project)
- Silk (sourced from my fabric hoard)
- Primer (leftover)
- Paint (leftover from paper storage organizer I painted)
- Small paint brush
- Glue (Aleene’s Tacky Glue worked well!)
- Vintage frames ($5.00 for pair at estate sale – but this one from Amazon is cute)
- Vintage brooches (try flea markets, yard sales and estate sales)
How to re-paint wood frames:
I lightly sanded each frame, removing any sheen. Then I gave the frames a quick wipe with a damp cloth. Using a small brush I applied a coat of primer, let it dry overnight, then applied two coats of paint. I used a smaller artist’s brush to get the paint into the “carved” detail. Spray paint with a built-in primer would make light work of this job!
How to create a padded backing to display a brooch:
To affix my vintage brooch, I created a padded backing, here’s a closer photo. I used leftover dupioni silk in a creamy white because it’s the right amount of fancy, but you can use any fabric. I just think the sheen of the silk adds a special touch of luxury.
I used the original “artwork” as my base – you can cut a piece of thin plywood if your frame is empty. I cut a piece of batting and silk slightly larger than the backing and “upholstered” it. I wrapped the fabric tightly, squeezed the backing back into the frame to check fit (and make sure the lines on my silk weren’t woobly), and then glued the batting and fabric in place on the back. I secured with tape while the glue dried (hot glue is faster, but I find that it doesn’t always have as strong a hold as I would prefer).
Putting it Together:
Working with finishing nails was a pain (it is aggravating to hammer something that tiny, super gently). Instead, I stapled beside the backing so instead of the staples going through the backing (into the thinnest part of the frame), the staples hold the backing in a kind of friction fit:
This framed brooch artwork combines my favorite things: a silhouette look (black on cream), turquoise, an ornate frame (I’m accidentally growing a collection), vintage jewelry, and making use of what I have! Oh – and I love a good upcycle project too.
Now I just need to figure out where to hang my new framed brooches…
Do you have a passion for vintage jewelry too? If you have a larger brooch collection, you could take a large frame and make a bigger version of this to store and display your brooch collection all in one place. There are so many possibilities with this basic idea.