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How to Frame a Vintage Brooch for Display

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!

Frame a vintage brooch

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.


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!

Repurpose vintage frame

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.

How to display brooches

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).

Create an upholstered backing display

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:

Use staples to hold art into a frame

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.

Framed Vintage Brooch

Now I just need to figure out where to hang my new framed brooches…

Framed bakelite broochCraft ideas using vintage jewelleryFramed bakelite brooch

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.

How to Frame a Vintage Brooch Collection



  1. modern jane
    November 18, 2011 / 4:45 pm

    This is beautiful! I love that you made a padded backing. And the broches are beautiful!

  2. Nette @ This Dusty House
    November 18, 2011 / 4:53 pm

    Gorgeous! I love the colour you've painted the frame. It's so soft and beautiful, a wonderful way to showcase the brooches! I love it!

  3. Amelia @ House Pretty
    November 18, 2011 / 4:57 pm

    Beautiful! I'm always attracted to brooches, but would never actually wear one – this is such a great way to be able to enjoy them! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Carol@TheDesignPages
    November 18, 2011 / 5:36 pm

    Tanya, these are gorgeous!! I would have no doubt that you could turn a tiny little brooch into a gorgeous piece of artwork. They are so simple and clean but make a huge statement.

  5. natasha {schue love}
    November 19, 2011 / 6:36 am

    What a gorgeous way to showcase jewelry…love how it makes it into a work of art!

  6. barbara@hodge:podge
    November 19, 2011 / 4:03 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out. Sure love those brooches framed AND I LOVE those frames!

  7. Beth
    November 27, 2011 / 5:00 am

    I love everything about this: the color of the frame, the fabric, the brooch. My grandma gave me a beautiful aurora borealis crystal brooch that I don't wear often. I think I need to do something like this with it.

  8. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    November 27, 2011 / 4:29 pm

    Thanks, Ladies!Beth: I think your sparkly brooch would look fabulous framed! It is easy to take off if you still want to wear it for a night.

  9. Anonymous
    December 5, 2011 / 6:17 am

    I love this post because I have new fascination with vintage brooches–in part because they seem like little works of art to me. Framing was an idea I had also.I would encourage you to consider wearing them once in a while. You can do so much more with them than just put them on a jacket. Check this out:,Susan

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 30, 2012 / 4:15 am

      Hi Susan,Apologies – I somehow missed your comment! I just clicked the link and I love the look of brooches on a skirt. I have to try this look.Thanks 🙂

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