It’s CRAZY what you CAN create on a tight budget. Seriously.


Creating spaces that make you happy is not always as easy as it seems.

I get that.

I have it happen to me quite a bit. I have an idea in my head or scroll past something on Pinterest that makes my heart POP and then set about trying to create something similar, with what I have. Because let’s face it, that’s what most of us can afford. Only to be in a foul mood ten minutes later when I realize I have very few of the goodies I need to create the look…despite being a “keep it for later/cool stuff” collector (I’d say hoarder, but I abhor keeping PILES of things about I don’t actually use)

So, foul mood: ENGAGED. Not enough frames to create that killer wall layout you spotted? And we all know that frames can be costly little buggers… So, what to do?

Well, sadly you kinda have to buy a few if you really are serious about creating a specific look for your space… at least a few livable ones to pull the look together… BUT… they needn’t break the bank. Also, there are ways to make/fake frames, so I’ll teach you to create a few of those too, but that is a post for another day, so stick with me a while, okay?

In the last two months, I have sent out two different sets of wall art as freebies to our awesome subscribers. And many have written back or posted shots of how they have made them work in their spaces, and it was SO heartening to see! So thank you! But… many said “thanks, these are great, but frames are expensive and we can’t afford to frame them nicely.

I hear you. I do.

So I took a quick jaunt to my local Crazy Store.

***Guys, this isn’t a sponsored/paid for post at all. I don’t do those. And if ever I had the opportunity to punt another brands products, I’d say so, clearly. So please don’t feel like I’m punting you all stuff to make a sly buck, or for my own benefit in any way. I just really want to show you what you can achieve on a really small budget.

What I found when I got there was pretty damn cool actually. There was a range of really great frames, from about a standard A5 (148.5mm x 210mm) to larger elongated ones that could hold a few pics of 100 x 150mm at a time. There were some sale/specials on and a few were at REALLY good prices. I had a good feel, they all seemed solid and decent. On a par with what I have found at other, better known “décor” retailers locally. Not what I expected from a discount store at all. So YAY!

I had a good feel, they all seemed solid and decent. On a par with what I have found at other, better known “décor” retailers locally. Not what I expected from a discount store at all. So YAY!

I’ll post a few below so you can see what I mean… and mess with a few in Photoshop to show you how nicely they would work with artwork in them. (yay photoshop)   😉


Let’s start with a simple “certificate frame”. Not always considered very sexy but if you were to place five in a row about 25cm apart with a similar group of images in them, they would look AWESOME. Sometimes simple is truly just best. Price wise, this is damn good. And if you can’t print the artwork you’d like at home (if it was a freebie) it will most likely cost you R10 or less to run it off at a print shop. So all in, you will have spent about R70 framing a great little piece for your home. BONUS!


This little guy was the same price as the certificate frame (R59). Not loving the tone of the faux wood? No problem. What you need to bear in mind, is that paint is ALWAYS an option. Especially with frames, if they are hung up and not often touched. (less chance of chipping the paint off) Granted this was touched up in photoshop… but the idea is the same. 

So, if you find a frame you like, but it doesn’t really suit your colour scheme or the wood isn’t the right colour,

PAINT THE THING! –  I’m a huge advocate of throwing paint at stuff (also a post for another day.)

They are low budget items, not antiques. They can be played with to reach just about any desired effect, depending on your patience and skill level. 

How fab does October’s Freebie look in this frame now? Pop that up on a sassy dark grey wall with a few more of its buddies… MAGIC!

**Another thing to note is that while you’re in the Crazy Store, they may well keep tubes of acrylic paint. Mine does, so picking up a colour/shade I need was super easy and I’ll be honest, as an artist, I was THRILLED to see the prices actually. WAY cheaper than my local stationery supplier.

Something to consider if your frames are in “high touch” areas or standing on shelves and need to be lifted and dusted and run the risk of chipping or scratching, make sure you give it a decent light sanding (220 – 300 grit sandpaper would be best) before you paint, and put a layer or two of water-based varnish over it. But honestly, our house is a ZOO and my painted frames have survived us, without varnish.


With a little more to spend, a lot of the paint effects are pre-done, and yours for the taking. This really great weathered frame was only R40 more at R99 each. This look is however, quite easily achieved as a DIY project, and I’ll be posting about that soon. 


Not completely breaking the bank here with a much bigger option and more unusual option. At R159, it’s a great way to set multiples up on your wall at a pretty low investment. These could be hung either landscape or portrait for a bit of fun. Again. this could be painted should you not be a fan of the coastal/weathered wood look. 

Ok, so you’re getting the gist of what I’m getting at here. And Crazy Store isn’t the only place to get great looking lower budget frames to create your ultimate look with. I’ve mentioned before that places like MrP Home, Woolies and even Macro/Game have good deals from time to time. Never rule out crafters markets or flea markets for awesome finds too. And if you are REALLY adventurous, like I was in my 20’s, trawl second-hand stores. There is a wealth of fun to be found in them if you are not adverse to nursing and DIYing things back to life. 

And on that note, I’ll be putting together some posts in the near future that show you some DIY ways to “frame” artwork without actually having frames. I’ll make sure I cover reworking old frames and a few nice paint effects too, just for FUN. 


If there is anything you’d like me to touch on in these posts, drop me a mail, comment below or find me on SM and come have a chat. I’m super keen to make sure these posts are helpful and relevant to you. 


Until next time, happy framing. I wish you beautiful spaces and more beautiful memories in them. 


x x x 





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10 thoughts on “It’s CRAZY what you CAN create on a tight budget. Seriously.

  1. I have those smalls ones in the last pic sitting at home with no pictures!!!! Bought them about two months ago!

    1. Hahaha! Well Tracy (look, we have matchy-matchy names! well…nearly!) I think we will just have to fill them up for you!

      How about you email me how many you have, and their sizes… and I surprise you with something to fill them? I LOVE getting feedback and interacting with my readers, and this is just a little “thank you” for being part of my adventure.

      Have a wonderful Friday!

      1. This is awesome, I will do so!

        1. Fantastic! I look forward to hearing from you!

  2. Lovely budget saving tips

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, Sula. I’m thrilled it may have helped in some way!

  3. What a lovely read and thoughtful blog. More importantly, I love the colour that you painted your walls! It’s gorgeous. Would you mind me asking what the name of the paint is?

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, @Troy! This header image is, in fact, a digital comp from stock imagery (as a little business, finding the budget for beautiful photo shoots is rare) BUT… my own bedroom at home is painted the self-same colour! Soooo, I can tell you that I used a mix of Annie Sloane Chalk Paints. I used the colours “Pure” and “graphite” and mixed them in a clean tin until I was happy with the tone. I’ll be honest here and say I was always wary of Annie Sloane, as I felt it would be very expensive (or at least more so than your average wall acrylic) I was proved VERY wrong when I ended up using way less than I thought I would. It went much further and is a wonderful matt, thick, cover. I’m not certain where in SA you are, but they are available countrywide through different outletters. Most outletters run wonderful courses on how to use the paint creatively too (It was one of the most fantastic courses I’ve ever attended, SO creative, such a flexible product) – Again, not a sponsored opinion, I just truly love this paint. You can find them here (see web address) though, and I’m sure you can find an outlet near you to take a look at should you wish too. 🙂

  4. Love this post, thank you. I am looking forward to your post about framing artwork without frames!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it Margaret, I really do appreciate it!

      So glad you’re looking forward to the “frameless” post!

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