Updating Thrift Store Art

I’ve seen several ideas online (Pinterest, Apartment Therapy and A Beautiful Mess) for updating thrift store art, so when my husband brought home a painting that fell in the category of “What were you thinking?!” it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

updating thrift store art You can use any second-hand painting or artwork, any size, with or without a frame. The painting I used was large, 42″ wide by 30″ tall. I was too lazy to take it out of the frame but, if you want to be really exact with your painting that would help. I wanted to do something that would hide part of the painting that I didn’t really like. So I decided to put a favorite saying on the bottom of the painting.

I found some nice vinyl letters at Office Max, they had a variety of fonts. I picked Helvetica 2″ and 3″  in black. They were a little pricey ($7-$8 per pack) I bet you could find them cheaper if you look around.

I think the hardest part of this whole project is positioning the letters. I measured the area that I wanted to put the wording in then laid out the letters to adjust the spacing. Once I had the general alignment figured out I started applying the letters. Just peel the backing off and adhere the letters to the painting surface. If they are not quite where you want them you can peel up and move.

thrift-art-sprayNext make sure you mask the area you want to keep the paint off. I chose to spray paint, but you could also use other types of paint and apply by brushing on. I wanted to block out all of the painting near the letters. When the paint dries and the letters are peeled up it gives a neat effect by revealing bits of the painting below.

I didn’t like the frame around the painting so I decided to spray paint that as well.  I masked off the painting to leave just the frame exposed. I chose a dark blue-grey color from Valspar spray paint. The inset part of the frame had a type of fabric tape around it, which was dirty and damaged. I pulled that off and it left a bunch of glue behind, so I sanded and scraped but the glue was more stubborn than I had the patience to deal with, so I used some paint from one of the samples you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot to paint it over. It’s a neat bright green, yellow color which makes the painting more modern. Don’t you think?

thrift-art-finalThe saying I used to update my thrift store painting was from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost”. I think it works well with the paintings landscape. I’m pretty happy with the final results and will definitely try updating more thrift store art again soon.

Once I got into working on this project I started having more ideas for other ways to re-use, up-cycle and update some of the not so great art I see at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.

How about you? Let me know if you’ve updated any second-hand art.

Hope your having some great adventures….