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1 Sidon Rd
Port Elizabeth, EC, 6001
South Africa

041 402 1300

Stuart Graham Fabrics is South Africa's leading independent fabric supplier. Welcome to our world of textiles. 

SG Style Blog


Lauren Graham

We created this wall art on a shoestring budget for our October Makeover of Jess and Pat's rented apartment. (See the full makeover before and after online here). As they weren't able to repaint or wallpaper their rental,  we had to come up with an alternative to breathe some life into the bland walls in their dining room area.

The budget was tight so we headed over to Gumtree to source some second-hand frames that we could repurpose. It didn't take long before we had picked up an old, empty wooden frame and some smaller gold frames, which cost us an impressive R100. The frames were in pretty bad shape from behind and some were missing the glass, but the frames themselves were in tact and provided the perfect base to re-paint and re-purpose. We chose to use a white wash finish on the larger wooden frame, and repainted the three smaller frames the same contemporary grey/ stone colour to be grouped together on the wall at a later stage.


We started by removing any old nails and giving the frames a good clean with a dry paint bush to remove dust and spider webs. We wiped down the wooden bits of the frame with a slightly damp cloth and soapy water to remove any residue.  This is what we were left with: 

We then  got to work on the frame refurbishment. For the larger frame we mixed 2 parts white Velvaglo with one part paint thinners and using a dry brush to apply the watery white paint to the frame. The fabric inlay soaked up the white, reviving the old stained fabric. On the wooden frame we used long strokes to create a whitewash effect. In keeping with the theme we wanted a slightly distressed look to add some texture.

We left the frame to dry for approximately 3 hours - the watered down paint does dry quickly, but don't be tempted to jump the gun when attempting a second coat for touch ups.

TOP TIP: Use multiple thin layers to build the effect than rushing with a thicker single layer. The thicker paint is hard to work with and can create deep streaks if you attempt a second coat or touch ups on paint that is still tacky.

Once we were happy with the result, we flipped the frame around and got to work inserting the wallpaper. This frame was quite badly damaged at the back, so there was no space to insert the paper. We worked around this by applying thin strips of double sided tape around the opening and carefully applied the wallpaper, rolling it on from the top down, using pressure to secure it as we went along. Our frame only required about 60cm so this was a great project for some leftover wallpaper pieces we had lying around from some sampling. You could also use the leftover pieces from another room. If you are looking for wallpaper, you view our selection online here.

TOP TIP: This frame had already lost it's glass front, however we would have removed this in any case to showcase the texture of the wallpaper without the glass reflection.

We selected a slightly off-white wallpaper with a blue print in keeping with our decor theme. Whilst we loved the print, it almost looked a little too "perfect" against the white washed frame. We decided to distress the paper  to tie the look together. 


Working very, VERY, carefully we dabbed an old cloth in a little paint thinners until just slightly damp. We then worked on rubbing off small sections of the wallpaper print using soft, circular motions. The thinners works quickly, so be gentle, and again, rather take the time to repeat an area than risk rubbing off too much. Rub more often in some areas and more gently in others to achieve an authentic fade.

The three grey frames were a little easier. Again, we used leftover white Velvaglo mixed with a paint tint to achieve the grey colour and then simply applied 2 coats to the gold frames. As these were still in tact, all we needed to do was to cut some wallpaper pieces to size and insert much like a ready-made picture frame. We included a piece of thick card over the paper to keep it in place. 

And Voila! Stylish decor art to fill bland walls in a flash, french style! Not bad for R200 artwork and we think the results made a huge difference to the overall makeover. 


SG Fabrics sell a wide range of wallpaper through an international partnership with Prestigious Textiles.  Take a look at our wallpaper collections online here.