It was time to trouble shoot. My growing collection of 18th century French bird engravings by Francois Nicolas Martinet had been tucked away for way too long. Every so often I would take them out from my flat file cabinet, spread them out for a few days, and just enjoy this beautiful collection. So why did it take so long to frame them? The cost. Framing 20+ prints professionally was not a priority.

I headed to my favorite art supply store, Jerry’s Artarama (just love the name, and they’re also online:, where I found unfinished ready made square stock wood frames under $10 each. They were simple “blank canvases” that just needed to be painted, and a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint would do the trick!

The painting was very easy, and fast. I brushed the paint onto each one, and let it semi-dry. As they were drying (which took only a few minutes, so I had to work fast), I used a rag to gently wipe the edges and corners to give them an imperfect and softly distressed look. (Some frames needed a little more rubbing than others.) I purposely tried to make each one look a little different from the other, so it would look like a collection of “found” frames.

I love how the white painted frames just float on the white walls, keeping all the attention on what was the most important … those stunning birds!

This little project is testimony to my belief in working with what you’ve got!

Happy decorating!

Love, Nora





  1. Ellen on February 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Love the prints and the frames!They are beautiful!

  2. Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things on February 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Love them!

  3. Jane on February 16, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you, NOra.! I miss your little quick inspirations, although I know you’ve been crazy with your book and candle sales. Can not WAIT for the book; not until fall? I love the idea of chalk paint on frames — I was just exploring the possibility of painting a wicker desk for my greenhouse.

  4. FrenchGardenHouse on February 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    I love this! The cost of having antique prints framed is always prohibitive, but like you, I’ve found a little “do it yourself” goes a long way to make a beautiful statement. I love the antique prints we sell at FrenchGardenHouse antiques, but the thought that they might be languishing in someone’s drawer is disappointing, these beauties were meant to be seen.

  5. Lorraine on February 16, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    so lovely and I love the frames ! thanks for posting Nora !

  6. Victoria on February 16, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    These are spectacular Nora one or two would have been a nice look. Multiples takes it to a another level. Can’t imagine the impact when standing there
    in person. Hope you captured this for the book!

  7. Jan Fairchild on February 16, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Where did you find your prints Nora?

    • maude ciardi on February 22, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Love your prints! I really enjoy all your posts. Looking forward to your new book. Will you ever have your home on tour again? That would be so inspiring. Thanks for all the hard work bringing us so many unique ideas

  8. Linda Rossi on February 16, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    I saw this collection in person when your house was on tour and it is exquisite. I love the pair that are over your bed the most. Just stunning!

  9. Nancy Kabonic on February 17, 2018 at 1:57 am

    You are always inspiring !! Especially love seeing pics of your lovely and charming home!!

  10. Douglas on March 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Love those frames 🙂 As the dad of a three year old ball of energy, not sure I could finish all of that work in a weekend, but I am going to give it a shot. Thx for the “how-to”

  11. Christie on April 3, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Hello, can you please tell me the frames item number and or what ones exactly, as I would like to purchase and there’s many on their site. Thank you

  12. Christie on April 5, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Thank you but can you tell me did you get the 4by6 in, 5 by 7 in, or 8 by 10 inch. That’s where I’m confused. Thank you

    • Nora on April 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Christie! I used 8″x 10″ frames (bought them in bulk). But the size of the frame really does depend on the size of the art.

  13. Christie on April 6, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Hello Nora, how do you do the glass on front of these and the backs? Thank you

    • Nora on April 7, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Christie! The frames come with plexi, not glass. If I understand your question, the plexi pops right out, so you can paint the frames solo. Very easy!

  14. Christie on April 14, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Forgive me ,but how do you get the pictures of the birds to stay in the frame as there are no backs to the frame, framing is new to me , as you can tell by my guestions

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