How to Touch Up Wood on a Picture Frame

by Kathy Adams

A wooden picture frame adds a distinctive bit of natural decor to the room in which it is displayed. Once you discover a scratch or ding in the finish, however, the defect stands out even more than the image within the frame, detracting from your original decorative plans. Touching up the frame hides the problem, making the frame useful and acceptable once again.

1. Power of the Pen

A touch-up pen designed for wood finishes provides an accessible, easy-to-use means of wood scratch repair. This pen resembles a permanent marker and is available in a number of wood colors. If you don't find what you need at a home improvement shop, a standard permanent marker will do, provided the shade is a close match. Craft and art supply stores sell quality artist's markers available in shades far beyond what's found in a child's marker set. A crayon can be used in a pinch as well.

2. Grounds for Celebration

Coffee grounds -- those damp discards left over after brewing your morning pick-me-up -- hide light scratches on medium to dark wood picture frames. To use, dab a cotton swab in damp coffee grounds, then rub the swab over the scratch, wiping away excess with a paper towel as you work. If the coffee looks too dark, moisten the paper towel and go over your repair to slightly dilute the effect.

3. Not-So-Nutty Solution

Both brazil nuts and walnuts contain oils that come in handy for wood repair. Rub the meat of either nut over the scratch or ding to darken the damaged area, making the damage nearly invisible. Buffing the area with a soft cloth blends the repair in even more.

4. Nailed It!

If the frame's damage is limited to the finish, resulting in an area that doesn't match the surrounding pristine finish, touch it up with a dab of clear nail polish. Apply a thin coating with the brush included in the polish, wait for it to dry, then buff sand with the grain of the wood using a 600-grit sandpaper. For a glossy finish, rub the repaired area with a car polishing compound and soft cloth.

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