Salvaged mirror with framed wallpaper samples

Broken window frame - before

“First rule in government spending: Why build one when you can have two at twice the price?” Any guesses what movie that line is from? I loved these salvaged window frames so much, I bought both. This one was a little worse for wear, but it was nothing wood glue and a fresh paint job couldn’t cure. I got the (free!) wallpaper samples from FabMo, a volunteer effort collecting discontinued fabric samples from the San Francisco design community. Thanks, Hannah and Jonathan!

How to turn a salvaged window into wallpaper frames


  • salvaged window
  • wallpaper samples
  • masking tape
  • spray adhesive
  • 2 keyhole fasteners
  • 4 washers
  • 4 small wood screws
  • 2 felt pads
  • 2 drywall screws
  • corrugated cardboard
  • primer
  • paint (I used Benjamin Moore Aura in Steam [AF-15])
  • newspaper or drop cloth


  • drill and drill bit
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • screwdriver
  • utility knife
  • sponge paint brush
  • self-healing mat (optional)
  • stud sensor (optional)
  • level (optional)

Broken piece fixed with glue and clamps

1. First, repair any broken pieces with wood glue and nails. Clamp them together until the glue dries. Clean, sand any imperfections, and dust the window frame.

Prime and paint the window frame

2. Prime and paint the window frame. I used spray primer, but decided it was too windy outside for spray painting, so I applied the paint color by hand. I’ve become a fan of sponge paint brushes for painting wood. They give a smoother finish, and allow more control over the flow of paint. Let dry several hours.

Stack of cut cardboard

3. Measure the openings, then cut 18 pieces of cardboard (two for each opening).

Various wallpaper samples

4. Choose your wallpaper samples and arrangement.

Cut the wallpaper to size

5. Using one of your cardboard pieces as a template, cut the wallpaper samples to size. A utility knife, ruler, and self-healing mat made this part easy.

Spray adhesive to the cardboard

6. Adhere each wallpaper sample to a piece of cardboard with spray adhesive.

Cardboard pieces in place with tape

7. Insert each wallpaper-covered piece of cardboard into the window frame. Then insert another piece of cardboard behind each. Tape in place with masking tape. Not much tape is needed. The snug fit of the cardboard (plus the wall) will keep them in place.

Salvaged mirror with framed wallpaper samples

8. Follow steps 7, 8, and 9 right here to finish this project.