Another portrait project: ‘Two Little Sisters’ by Alice Kent Stoddard

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I mentioned recently that I have been on the hunt for portrait paintings to include in my evolving decor, and that they are very rare in my neck of the woods so what I find are most often portrait art prints. In that regard, I have found some really lovely pictures including this favorite which has been waiting in the wings for quite some time to be displayed.

Two Little Sisters portrait

This is a print of “Two Little Sisters” by American painter Alice Kent Stoddard (1884-1976). I found it back in August 2023 at my favorite consignment store, where it was 80% off. I paid $6 for it. It was 26 x 30 inches, including the frame. I haven’t been able to find much information about it, but it is a similar style to other portraits by Ms. Stoddard completed around 1925-1930.

Two Little Sisters portrait

Generally speaking, to look more authentic as an old portrait, it needed to be hung without glass, without the matte, and in a more ornate frame. I also wanted it to look more like an original painting, but of course as a print it was two-dimensional on paper. I had seen a method for adding “oil painting texture” to an art print, and since the paper used for the print seemed to be of higher quality (i.e., not a glossy poster), I decided to try it.

I started by removing the print from the existing frame. It was solidly affixed to a piece of foam core so I kept that intact.

Two Little Sisters portrain

To create the texture, I used a paint brush to glob clear-drying white glue in “brush strokes” all over the picture, trying to go in directions that made sense for the different parts of the picture: short, wispy strokes for the girls’ hair, longer strokes for the dark parts of the background and their dresses, etc.

Two Little Sisters Portrait

Not gonna lie, this was scary! I wasn’t going for a light, even coat – I wanted raised texture, and I’m not a portraitist so what did I know about brushstrokes?! I certainly didn’t want to ruin this lovely print, because the odds of replacing it at such a bargain price were pretty much zero. (Although, you can find it online at,, and other art print websites.)

Two Sisters Portrait
At this point I was definitely screaming “What have I done??” in my head…

I covered the whole picture, and when it was dry I felt that it had worked, but the effect was very subtle. So I went back over the whole picture again with more of the glue. After it dried again I was quite satisfied with the overall look – not entirely realistic, but it did provide texture which I felt was a better look than the flat paper print, especially since it would not be behind glass. It’s hard to capture the effect in a photo, but here are a few attempts.

Two Little Sisters Portrait

Two Little Sisters Portrait

Once I was happy with the texture, I cut away the excess print paper so I was left with a picture the size of the printed portrait itself: it was 22 x 24 inches.

Next step was to patiently hunt for a frame. I had nothing in my stash that would work – this is an odd size, so I knew it would take awhile. I have a beautiful large picture hanging in my hallway that had the perfect level of ornate detail – I held my portrait up to it to see how it would look if this were its frame, and I was thrilled with the look, but also a bit dismayed because the odds of finding this frame in this size were just not good.

Two Little Sisters Portrait

I looked often at thrift stores, flea markets, and consignment stores but after weeks of hunting I was getting discouraged. I did find an empty wood frame for $5 that was the right size but that didn’t have much detail – I bought it anyway and decided to use it, knowing I could always replace it later if I found something better. I immediately framed up my “Two Little Sisters,” and thought they looked adorable!

Two Little Sisters Portrait
Hung in the hallway with a so-so wood frame – at least it was less modern-looking and had more texture than the original.

But there is one more step that really helped me love it: I discovered a product called Rub ‘n Buff! It’s a gold-tinted paste that you apply to metal or wood to give the item gold highlights or even to change its color altogether. I bought a sample pack with three different gold tints, (Amazon affiliate link – if you purchase through my link you’ll pay nothing extra but I will earn a small commission to help offset blog hosting costs.)

Rub and Buff sample pack
Rub and Buff on the frame

I applied Rub and Buff all over the frame, and it really changed the look! This is what completed the project, for me and my “What’s in the Downton Attic”/Gilded Age heart – the gold just gives it a warm shimmer that I really love.

Two Little Sisters portrait

I previously had three small botanical prints in this spot, then three Christmas prints throughout December. For now I’ve returned two of the botanicals to flank the portrait, but this area definitely calls for something else now.

Once again, I am on the hunt!

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