DIY Ombre Matted Picture Frames

See how I transformed regular {boring} white matted picture frames into DIY ombre matted picture frames!

Every month I participate in a fun Create with Me DIY Challenge, where we all create a DIY project using the same material.  

The material we were to use this month was picture frames.  To be honest, I was kind of stumped!  Make something out of picture frames (like a terrarium?), or make our own picture frames out of wood?

Related Reading – Check out these picture frame craft ideas for even more inspiration!

I’ve had this thing with matted picture frames lately though.  I’m using them in our modern farmhouse hallway, too!  So, I decided to try and jazz up from regular white matted picture frames.

A set of three framed black and white photos of a newborn baby hang on a white wall next to a window. The picture mat boards within the frame are painted different shades of gray, creating an ombre effect from top to bottom.

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How to paint mat boards for frames

Supplies Needed for Painting Mat Boards:

Step 1: Remove the picture mats from the frames

Three picture frames with white wood frames, white mat boards, and black and white stock photos are needed for this craft.

I started with these picture frames.

They aren’t the best quality.  But, when you only spend $14 a piece, you know you’re not getting something great.  They are fine for the look I’m going for, though, and I think they look pretty nice for the cost.

Step 2: Paint the mat boards

I removed the mat from the frames and painted one with Maui Grey chalk paint and one with Parisian Grey chalk paint.  You guys, I LOVE this chalk paint!  I had never used it before but the matte finish is seriously beautiful.

An image showing the process of painting mat boards with a dark, almost black, chalk paint.

I applied two coats of chalk paint on both of those mats.

To create the ombre effect I mixed both chalk paint colors together on a paper plate using a 2:1 ratio of Parisian Grey to Maui Sand.

Two pools of chalk paint - black and grey - floor together in a paper bowl with a flower design. This mixed paint color will be used for painting mat boards, giving them an  ombre color effect.

Make sure you have enough paint to apply two coats onto the third mat.  You don’t want to run out and have to mix the exact color again!

I tested my new color out on the third mat and compared it to the other two mats to make sure if was complimentary.

An in-progress photo of painting mat boards. Three picture frame mat boards are being painted different colors. One mat it fully painted black, a second is partially painted a medium-toned gray, and the third is fully painted a lighter grey. A paper bowl with mixed paint sits between the mat frames.

Since I loved the color, I finished up the two coats and let them dry!

Three fully painted mat boards sit on paper towels, drying after being painted black, medium gray, and light gray.


I finally had Evie’s hospital pictures printed.  You know, 3 months later.

I used black and white photos since the mats were all in the grey family.  All the black and white and grey go so well with Evie’s nursery colors!

Ugh, and I didn’t get the best pictures of the picture frames because of the reflection in the glass.  Sorry!

The Final Product: Painted Mat Boards

Three framed black and white photos of a newborn baby hang on a white wall, next to a pick shadow box and behind a gray chair with white pillows. The frames have white frames and painted mat boards in three shades of grey.

I love how they look in the nursery AND look at my sweet baby when she was just born!

Three white-framed baby pictures with painted mat boards hang on a wall, half obscured by a wall. The mat boards within the photo frames are painted black, gray, and a lighter gray, creating an ombre effect.

Painting mat boards on the picture frames with an ombre effect gives the plain white frames a little pizzaz!  Nothing wrong with white matted frames but sometimes something a little different is interesting, too!

A corner of a baby nursery is decorated with a grey chair with white floral pillows and a pick shadow box on the wall. On the other wall hangs three picture frames in a vertical line. Each frame holds a black and white photo of a baby, with a painted mat board.
A closer look at the three ombre picture frames hanging on a white wall. The white-framed pictures each hold a back and white photo of a newborn baby. The frame mats are painted light grey, medium grey, and black.
A corner of a baby's nursery. There is a white door, a pick shadow box hanging on a wall, a grey chair with white and floral-patterned pillows, and three framed baby photos with painted mat boards in shades of grey.
Three framed baby photos hang on a wall next to a window and a pink shadow box. The picture frames hold back and white baby photos, and the mat boards are painted different shades of grey to create an ombre effect.

And remember to check out what everyone else made using picture frames!

A collage of images showing different DIY projects made with picture frames and other pieces of decor. Image text reads "5 creative ways to decorate with picture frames"
Scissors and pieces of crafting ribbon on a white background. Colorful  text overlayed over the image reads "what can you make? Create with me. A Monthly DIY challenge"

Wishing you a joyful day!

How to Paint Mat Boards (Ombre Picture Frames)

DIY Ombre Matted Picture Frames using plain inexpensive white frames from Amazon and chalk paint! Easy DIY project to hang your family photos!

Upgrade regular picture frames simply by painted mat boards! All you need is some paint, mat boards, and pictures to create these ombre-effect picture frames.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $50


  1. Remove the picture mats from the frames.
  2. Paint the mat boards. Paint one with Maui Grey chalk paint and one with Parisian Grey chalk paint.
  3. Mix the paint for the third mat board. Mix both chalk paint colors together on a paper bowl or plate using a 2:1 ratio of Parisian Grey to Maui Sand. Test the new color to make sure it's complementary to the other two.
  4. Allow the painted mat frames to dry before putting the picture frames back together.

Did you make this project?

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  1. I’m beginning to get into an hombre mindset. But I almost didn’t see the mats for looking at your sweet baby’s face! Seriously, the mats are done well and the progression from one mat to another seems natural. Gray is still not in my color wheel, but I can appreciate it for others to use. Best wishes ?