When we were first married, I decorated our little apartment with a ton of black frames. When we moved into our current house the black frames seemed too dark against our beautiful white walls. Alternatively, white frames seemed to beachy and light wood felt too Mid Century Modern. I decided gold frames were what fit my house best - traditional, but when mixed with the right print it felt was modern and youthful.
Seeing as I had a LOT of black frames lying around, I decided to try my hand at transforming frames into what I wanted - a rich gold frame look. Now, although you could spray paint frames gold - I found that it ends up giving you a pretty flat look and it didn't impress me very much. So I found a trick to get the best looking gold frames ever...
STEP 1: Get a black frame. If you have a white frame, or light wood, I suggest spray painting it black first. This doesn't work as well on white frames. Much like I did with my canvases, having a black base I've found gives a good base, and better results. Doesn't matter what kind of black paint, but matte works best. For this example I'm using your everyday white frame from Ikea. Another Ikea hack. I do love these. (More on that later)
STEP 2: Buy THIS paint. It's by a company called DecoArt and It's the only paint I've found that gives me the look of an expensive gold frame. I bought it at my local stationery shop down the street, so I'm pretty sure you could find it at any art store. It is a runny paint, so don't expect it to cover the frame on one coat. But trust me, this paint is THE best.
STEP 3: Paint one coat if gold onto the frame. One coat won't cover the black. So don't get discouraged by it not looking right. It won't look right. But get a single coat on, and let it dry.
STEP 4: After having let the first coat in Step 3 dry, re-apply some more gold paint. You'll notice that the second coat adheres a LOT better this time around and starts to cover it up more.
STEP 5: You'll likely need a third coat. You're just building up on the coats slowly. Apply as many coats as it requires, I've done up to 5 coats if I've found myself being patient. I know at this point you're thinking "Just spray paint the damn thing!!" But really, this paint gives you a look that a spray can won't give you.
STEP 6: As the last coat in Step 5 dries, return to the frame with your brush as start feathering the gold. (TIP: Make sure you have a little paint on your brush, and also make sure that the last coat hasn't fully dried) This is just a little trick I learnt to give the frame really nice texture. You feather the brush strokes together, and it gives the frame a "brushed gold" look. You just need to work away at feathering it to give it a look that doesn't look like you really just painted it.
Update: Feathering Explanation - Basically you want to lightly blend brush strokes together so it doesn't look like you painted the frame. Take the same brush you used with most of the paint or even a new brush. The paint on the frame should be semi dry so that you're not moving around the paint.
Step six is really the key that makes it look different than if you spray painted a frame gold.
Anyhow, that is my trick to the perfect looking gold frames. To sum it up - 1. start with a black frame and 2. Use that paint that I use and slowly build up layers and last 3. dry brus the last coat when it is semi-dry to give it a gorgeous brushed gold look.
That's my trick. :)