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New Kitchen Art + Smaller Wood Burning Project Idea

If you loved my shou sugi ban outdoor projects but were looking for a smaller wood burning project to try, I have an idea for you!  I’m so excited to show off my new kitchen art – and the DIY wood burned picture frame Hubby and I made for this sweet painting.  If you follow me on Instagram you might have caught a random Instagram story about this and gotten a chance to vote on the art I was pondering for the kitchen: a moody painting of three birds at night, an uncharacteristically dark choice of art for me because it was inherited from my grandparents.

Turquoise Kitchen with Vintage ArtWood Burned Picture Frame TutorialHow to Build a New Frame for Art

The original frame (see below) was not my style, but the painting always drew me in and because it was hung in my grandparents’ “clean room” (as we call it in Hungarian), it seemed extra special to me as a kid. When no one else wanted it, I encouraged my Mom to take home the painting when we emptied and sold my grandparents’ home a few years ago.  I always envisioned it in a modern and dramatic black frame and her decor palette of warm hues seemed to suit it better than my lakehouse vibes.

Update Vintage Artwork with a DIY Frame

She didn’t really share my vision though, so the painting sat in storage.  Itching for a change in my turquoise kitchen – but unwilling to paint the cabinets I love so much – I focused on the art, because art is always an easy way to dramatically freshened up a room.  I lugged that painting out of its storage spot and put it to a vote. 75% of people voted “yay,” while 25% of Instagram friends were not feeling it (which side were you on?).  That majority vote was all the encouragement I needed and I’m loving the modern black frame we made – and how both the painting and its new frame add a little earthiness to the kitchen decor and echo the wilderness outside of our windows.  Although Lake Superior is our backyard, we have trees between us and neighbors and behind us is a forest and mountains so our location is definitely just as woodsy as beachy.

Build this Modern Black Frame for ArtAqua Kitchen Cabinets and Open Shelving

The frame construction is the same floating frame tutorial we shared a little while ago – but we just flipped it to cover the edge of the canvas because the painting didn’t go all the way to the edge.  With the solid red oak DIY picture frame built, I pondered finishes.  Black paint? Black stain? I was on my shou sugi ban wood burning kick, and I had tons of propane and patience left, so I decided to wood burn it!


You can click over to see my full wood burning tutorial, but I did make one change with this wood burning project.  I noticed with my wood burned steps and bench that the scraping process removed the coolest parts of the charred texture.  That charred layer really shimmers and gleams but it can slough away so it’s best to remove it.  But for a piece like this, which isn’t handled at all, I wondered if I couldn’t just leave it and seal it in?

Turquoise Kitchen with Eclectic Style

Just like the wood burned steps and bench, I used my mini blow torch to deeply char the wood.  This frame took about an hour to char and then I very gently brushed any really loose pieces off.  I didn’t scrape it at all.  Then I let it cool, and applied multiple thin coats of my favorite spray lacquer.  I applied about six coats in total, to the front and all of the edge – basically any place I charred, to prevent any loose bits from falling out.

Beginner Wood Burning Project

I was very nervous about the outcome and envisioned this picture frame shedding black soot anytime anyone sneezed in its vicinity, but I am pleased to report that the frame leaves NO ash or soot.  The charring is completely sealed in there – there’s not a hint of it on my white walls, which is such a relief.  And I love how the wood burning lets the grain shine, which is a perfect complement to this woodsy painting.  It’s so much more interesting than just black stain or paint, plus this was a really fun wood burning project because I could seal in some of that gorgeous, shimmering charred texture – I love experimenting like this.

Wood Burned Picture FrameBlack Charred Wood Burning ProjectsWood Burning Wood Frame

I wanted to share this project for anyone who wanted to try the wood burning tutorial (do it!) but didn’t want to start with a large wood burning project.  This is a great beginner wood burning project to tackle and you can even find inexpensive solid wood frames to experiment with at places like Michael’s Crafts if you’d rather not build one.

Wood Burning Project Idea: DIY Picture FrameDIY wood burn frame tutorial

Along with the new art, I rearranged my kitchen shelves for a more eclectic and earthy vibe – but that’s a story for tomorrow!  Come back for the scoop.

Vintage Art in Retro Style KitchenDIY wood burning tutorialTurquoise Kitchen with Vintage Art



  1. Mia
    July 23, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    So creative, and it turned out great!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      July 23, 2018 / 10:32 pm

      Thanks so much!!

  2. Miriam Sohlberg
    July 23, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    Hi Tanya,

    I get more and more inspired by your projects recently. Perhaps my tastes are evolving with yours?

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. That frame MAKES that piece, Andy it’s so nice to see how someone with vision can transform what I might have overlooked. Can’t wait to try this technique with some woodcuts I’ve been meaning to frame.


    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      July 23, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      Hi Miriam, that’s so nice to hear! I’m glad you’re feeling inspired – I’ve been feeling creative lately and I always find that it’s kind of contagious. If you try the wood burning, I’d love to see how your projects turn out. I’m sure they will be amazing!!

  3. Aram
    September 2, 2019 / 9:17 am

    It looks stunning and I am thinking about doing this to a round white oak coffee table for my living room. I want the same dark charred look but a matte finish AND worried about soot/debris. Plus, it will be used (cocktails/hors-devours etc.). How do you recommend I finish the surface? Did the lacquer you used make it shiny? Thanks!

    • September 2, 2019 / 11:35 am

      The lacquer I used is a satin finish – so it’s not matte, but not glossy, it’s somewhere in between. I have used it for furniture but only for a TV unit which didn’t see moisture/drinks. You should be able to put any kind of finish for wood on top of charred wood, so I’d upgrade to something even tougher.

      If you want something super durable for furniture, I really recommend the top coat we used for our kitchen counters. There’s a photo of the can at the bottom of this post (click here). Or head to a local paint/stain store in your city and ask them what they have that is the closest to that.

      Also make sure you’re really diligent about scraping off the charred wood. That means you’ll have to do more charring to get that darker look once the debris is brushed off. But just clean it really well and then after its sealed, you won’t have any issues with soot or debris.

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