Turn an Old Window Frame Into a Jewelry Display




Introduction: Turn an Old Window Frame Into a Jewelry Display

Welcome to my first Instructable! I will be going through the basics of how to convert an old window frame into a Jewelry Display, which has several utilities and can be modified to fit your needs.

I made two of these at the same time that were relative in size, for my mother and my partner's mother as Christmas gifts. I previously made one for my girlfriend with a different technique and a smaller window. 

- Window Frame (I used one that was 28" x 31", which is rather large for this project)
- Chicken Wire or Utility Wire (both have their benefits, this instructable used chicken wire)
- Hooks (10+ depending on your tastes)
- Drawer Pulls (8+ depending)
- Drawer Pull Bolts (2 1/2", the standard is not long enough to go through and screw into the knobs)
- Paint
- Hot Glue
- Sandpaper

Optional Materials: 
- Mirror
- Framing Wire
- Mirror hanging hardware
- elmers glue (or cheap school glue and more paint for the crackle effect)
- Ikea picture hanging hardware (to secure mirror)
- D hooks ( to hang)
- Burlap Rope (used to cover wire ends, fabric works as well)

- Drill & Drill Bits for pilot holes 
- Hot glue gun (High and Low Temp depending on if you are covering wire ends with fabric)
- Scrub Brush
- Bucket
- Staple Gun & Staples 
- Wire cutters & Pliers
- Paint Brushes
- utility knife or razor blade


I am entering this into the holiday gift contest! Please vote! 

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Step 1: Scrub a Dub, Clean It UP!

Once you obtain the window you can start on the first step. CLEAN and REMOVE GLASS, METAL and GRIME. Then allow window to dry. 

- Remove any remaining glass on the window (can be dangerous please use caution and common sense, wear a decent pair of work gloves).
- Remove metal that may be sticking out of the frame, old windows used small metal pieces (diamond shaped) to hold the glass in place. These need to be removed for safety. I used a utility knife but a pair of pliers can be good too.  (Again, please use caution and common sense.)
- Clean the window of any grime, use a scrub brush along with a hose to remove old dirt, cobwebs, etc. Also, it is good to utilize the hose to remove the old paint. (Paint may contain lead, which can be hazardous use caution and wear protection).

Step 2: Sand, Fill and Sand Some More!

Preparing the frame- Sandpaper

- Grab your 80 grit sandpaper and get to work sanding the frame, remove AS MUCH PAINT AS POSSIBLE.
- Once you have removed any stray pieces of wood and old paint, grab the fine grit sandpaper and smooth the surface.

Fill In the Gaps- Putty Knife, Wood Filler, Sandpaper

- To strengthen the frame I filled in the little spaces in the wood where two sides meet. You can also use wood glue if your frame is wobbly. Keep in mind that wood glue does stain differently, be sure to test the dried glue if you choose to go this route.
- Once the fill/glue dries you will need to sand the areas you filled for texture and evenness. Be sure the wood filler is dry, usually it takes 2-3 hours depending on the level of filler. See product for exact times.

Step 3: Painting the Frame

Before painting, the frame should be free of sanding dust. I use a spray water bottle with a paper towel to clean all the cracks and crevices.


- This is up to you. The technique shown is called crackling, which uses a base coat, Elmer’s glue and a top coat.
- Alternatively you can paint it one color and use a sander for texture. Use your imagination!!!

Crackling Effect- 

 Make the Best of Things Blogspot has a great post on this. Please note the credit**

- Testing is crucial. Grab a scrap piece of wood and try the technique out, you may find that watering down the paint or glue looks better. I did not water down the glue or paint.
- Note- Wood glue and the new formula Elmer’s glue will not work. Use any cheap white school glue (I used dollar store glue as well).
- First, paint your base coat. I used spray paint on one and gloss interior paint on another, both turned out great.
- Allow the base coat to dry completely.
- Apply Elmer’s school glue, don’t be afraid smear it on there. You want to cover the whole frame liberally.
- Allow the glue become sticky, DO NOT LET IT DRY COMPLETELY or this will not work. (about 3-5 minutes should be good).
- Apply the top coat. You want to paint in one direction, DO NOT go back and forth or it will not work right. Make sure the whole frame is covered with paint for the top coat.
- Watch the crackle effect! (it actually happens pretty fast but if watching paint dry is your hobby we may need to talk.  JK!)

Step 4: The Poultry Wire

This step deals with all things poultry wire (or utility wire). Make sure you have a great pair of work gloves as wire is sharp. Use caution. 

Preparing the Wire- 

1. Measure the window frame (if you have not already done so, do it now). 

2. Unravel the wire, be sure to secure the rolled end of the wire before cutting. 

3. Cut the chicken wire with wire cutters, to the measurements you make earlier. 

4. Flatten the chicken wire, I used a big tire, but feel free to get creative as I was. 

Optional, Paint the Chicken Wire. 

Adding the Wire to the WIndow

1.  Lay wire down on the window, trim wire as needed. 

2. Make sure all sides are evenly spaced. 

3. Clamp 2 sides of the frame and wire down to secure. Then pull opposite ends tight. Sparingly staple down the wire starting with the pulled end and then the clamped ends. 

4. Work your way across the frame pulling the wire taught. There is a method to this, as you get an area tight you want to secure it then move on to the area secured by the clamps. Trial and error. 

Once you have the wire stapled down, you will need to deal with the sharp edges. It helps to trim it down as much as possible so that it is easier to hot glue. 

Hot Glue the wire-

1. hot glue the ends of the wire all around the frame. This will ensure that the person you are giving this to and yourself do not get cut by the wire. 

Optional- add burlap rope to the edge of the frame. This gives the project a finished touch, since I am a pseudo-perfectionist it was a must.  You can really get creative with this part. 

Step 5: Hardware & Mirrors ALMOST THERE!


Depending on your window frame this step may require a few different approaches.

Some window frames have a small slot for the glass, if this is the case for your window there is no need to drill pilot holes just screw the hook into the slot. If your window does not have this slot see below. 

Preparing for Hooks-

1. Grab a pencil and make a level line on the top inside portion of the window frame. 

2. Decide how many hooks you would like and the proper spacing then drill pilot holes according to the hook size and spacing. 

Add the hooks, pretty self explanatory. 

Drill Pilot Holes for the Knobs. I used 8 knobs so I drilled 8 holes. 

BEFORE adding the Knobs if you opt to add a mirror then:

1. Super Glue four pieces of mirror holder hardware to the back of the mirror. 

2.  Add the hardware to the frame, I used what I had available, which happened to be ikea picture hanging hardware that I molded into something I could put the wire through that would hold the mirror.

3. Hang the mirror within the wire. This is really up to you. For the first one that I did I used a single piece of wire. For the record that is definitely the hard way.  The BEST way is to cut 4 pieces and secure each side as you go. See pictures. 

Add the Knobs (drawer pulls) and the bolt to secure into the pilot holes you drilled earlier. 

Now you are ready to share your finished product. 

I hope this instructable was useful, please feel free to leave comments or add tips and tricks!

**This instructable features 2 window jewelry displays that I made simultaneously. Please note that they are not exactly the same, as they differ in color. 

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    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I really enjoy making these, each one reinvents the wheel. Thanks for the support!