Learn how to update thrift store art by using flat paint and a can of spray paint! It's such an affordable way to give new life to wall art.
Welcome to this month's thrifty makeover challenge with the team!
Each month, we each take an item that is technically one person's trash and turn it into a treasure.
Check out all of the fabulous BEFORE photos of this month's projects above. You'll find links to each one of them below!
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How to Update Thrift Store Art
Most of the time when I am scouring the local thrift stores in my area, I just come across great frames. It's quite rare that I actually find art that I LOVE.
The moment that I saw these custom matted and framed prints, I knew they were coming home with me.
They were a whopping $3 each!
Where to Find Art
- local thrift store
- flea market
- estate sales
- garage sales
- yard sales
- Facebook Marketplace
Let's take a look at how unappealing this art was to start. It was so dirty. I had to just take a chance that what was beneath the grimy glass was salvageable.
Scroll through more before photos
You can really see how beat up the old stained wood of the frames are. We won't even discuss all the grime on the glass. Yuck!
What Might Be Wrong
The frames are usually an easy fix with simple repairs and a bit of paint. Frames are actually one of my favorite things to give a fresh look.
Finding actual art that looks modern in those frames is usually like finding a unicorn. Check to make sure the actual art doesn't have water damage. A sure-fire sign of this is the wrinkling or crinkling of the print paper.
Inspect the mats. Again, check to make sure they have no visible signs of water or heat damage. These mats have a nice linen texture that will be very forgiving when painting.
If the glass is damaged and it is a standard size like an 8×10, you can easily find a replacement by buying that size in another thrift store frame.
Ways to Update a Frame
This is usually a quick and easy fix. Occasionally, you may want to give the frame a light sanding after you have thoroughly cleaned it.
Lots of times, you can easily spray paint a frame. I prefer to remove the glass and all contents first. Sometimes that just isn't feasible. You can always completely cover the glass and or contents with some newspaper and painter's tape.
You can even use gold paints to mimic gold leafing.
Sometimes, I like to give a fun multi-finish paint treatment to a frame like black Rub ‘n Buff in this project, this very old post showcases how I unified frames for a Santa Gallery Wall, and my favorite framed mirror makeover.
Painting Photo Mat Board
Yes, you can paint the mat board. If I had a very precious print, photograph, or art piece……I might test it first. I had no problem painting the mats of this thrift store wall art. Jazzing up an out-of-date mat color can take boring paintings and art and give them a more modern look.
I used regular flat finish wall paint from the guest room painting project. I already had it on hand. You could also use spray paint, chalk paint, and acrylic craft paint.
Are your wheels turning? I am so happy with the end result of this project.
I did use a foam brush to paint my mat. I wanted minimal brush strokes. Paint several coats to cover previous dark mats and stains.
Let it dry and cure over several days before putting the glass back with it.
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Give the art a good cleaning. Windex is usually all you need. I like to use microfiber cleaning cloths.
Remove any staples with a staple remover.
Using a knife, cut away and remove the brown paper backing used to cover all of the staples used to hold it in place.
You will either see staples, wire, or small nails used to hold everything in place. Use a flat head screwdriver and pliers to remove them or just wedge them up a bit to get out the glass, mats, art, and cardboard.
There are two mats: dirty cream and gold.
Separate the two mats and lightly dust them. They were both in good shape. The cream one is very dirty and yellowed with age. I wanted to use the gold as is.
I started out painting with the mats attached and decided that I wanted to speed up the process and removed the gold one. They are just taped together.
What a difference!!! I just used regular leftover flat wall paint in Simply White. It's the same paint used in the room that these will be hung. I painted 3 coats.
I let the mats drive and cure for about 3 days.
I took the frames outside and sprayed them with this champagne gold paint. I'd have rather used a darker gold, but I just used what I already had. I do love this soft gold paint!
TaDa! Not bad for $6!
This is our guest room. It's a work in progress. I just finished painting the walls and hanging these new white velvet curtains. I love how the armoire and rug really stand out now in the room with the SImply White walls.
Here are my must-have picture hanging supplies!
- long level
- short level
- tape measure
- picture hanging tool
- picture hanging tool (not pictured)
- laser level (not pictured)
They look so fresh now!
Here is another view of the room. I'm doing all-new art in this room…..or new thrift store art! Ha, ha! I'm kind of on a mission to find more art like this. I actually have 2 new pieces in the garage.
Use the slider tool to check out the pictures up close.
Why Use Thrift Store Art
- It's a great way to start a gallery wall like the one that I did on our staircase with landscapes.
- It's an affordable option on a tight budget!
- Recyling is always good.
- Old paintings and art add character. Sometimes you can even luck up and find original paintings.
- Works well will multiple design styles especially vintage and French Country styles.
NEW Projects from the Team!
Thrift Store Metal Pumpkin Domestically Speaking
Bar Stool Makeover My Repurposed Life
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How to Update Thrift Store Art Our Southern Home
DIY Mini Succulent Garden In A Sugar Mold My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Boho Candle Holder (and Crazy Brass Cleaning Hack!) Sadie Seasongoods
Quilted Mason Jar Makeover House Of Hawthornes
Goodwill Shadowbox Fall Decor Makeover Organized Clutter
What to do with Old Shutters Reinvented Delaware
How to Make Pumpkins from Scrap Wood Shop At Blu
I hope you are inspired to go on the hunt for art to transform your home!
More Art Ideas you might like!
- Landscape Gallery Wall
- Creating Gallery Walls
- Hanging a Gallery Wall
- Santa Gallery Wall
- Gallery Wall Inspiration
- Vintage Wall Art
- Thrift Store Chalkboard
- Farmhouse Art
- Picture Frame Makeover
- Botanical Art Makeover
- Thrift Store Mirror Makeover