Turning Thrift Store Junk into Art!

I’ve had a lot of pent up creative energy lately that I’m finally getting able to explore, so I thought I would share with you all my latest art project!

I had been hearing a lot about how local thrift stores are being overrun with donations after the Marie Kondo hype, so I decided to do the opposite of what everyone’s favorite Japanese organizer would recommend and went out to purposefully buy some cool garbage.

Thrift stores are one of my favorite things in the world, to be completely honest. Whenever I’m in a new city, the two things I always look up are the local thrift stores and local used bookshops. Part of it is my love for DIY projects and seeing how I can edit these clothes into something cool, and part of it I think is my love for getting something I know no one else will have.

Imagine my joy when I walk into a thrift shop yesterday and see this adorably kitschy print and frame!

The full-sized print out of the frame

I inexplicably LOVE this type of weird grandma stuff, but in an effort to act more like a woman in her 20’s and not her 80’s, I decided to try and give this little guy a makeover.

This was also the perfect opportunity for me to explore using brighter colors, as I had been experimenting for a while with using hot pink and really wanted to make a finished piece with it.

I decided that although this cat was very cute, I wanted him to be a little more rock n’ roll, so the first order of business was getting rid of these bows. I had also gotten that day a tube of some awesome lime green paint from my local craft store, and despite it going on a bit streaky at first it ended up being the perfect background.

My set up for this project

Next, the cat himself needed to get jazzed up a little, and the only clear option was that this dude needed some shades.

I also wanted to cover up the remainder of the ribbon around his neck so that where I decided to incorporate the hot pink. I was debating for a while whether or not to give him Airpods, but I decided that some nice kicks would be more timeless, so thus this cat is wearing the first ever pair of Nike Kitty Cortez.

After letting that dry, I put him back in the frame and decided to give that a bit of a boost as well. Luckily, the flower pattern on the frame was actually just a piece of paper pasted on top, so it was extremely easy to paint over with a solid black.

I had originally wanted to put a hot pink design on top, but as I was testing it out it started to feel too busy. That’s the good thing about having black be your base color – it’s extremely easy to cover up your mistakes with just some more black paint.

I really wanted to utilize the hot pink some more though, so I added little accents of it around the actual frame, and here’s the finished product!

I’m so happy with how this came out and desperately want to go to the thrift store again sometime soon and see if I can get some more prints/frames like this to do a repainting of. All in all I’d say this took me about 2 hours to plan, experiment, and paint, and came to a total of about $20 for the print, frame, and paint. Not bad for a piece of custom art!


What’s the best thing you’ve ever found at a thrift store? Do you ever make DIY projects with the things you find? Let me know in the comments!


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