Thrift store shopping is something I love to do. Finding forgotten treasures and bringing new life to them is so rewarding. And easy on the budget. Among my favorite things to discover are old paintings. And it’s even better if they’re super cheap. With real wood frames.
Never mind if they’re sporting a pastel color scheme circa 1990 with shiny gold trim around the mat. I’m going to show you how to completely transform any cringe-worthy castoff into a modern new masterpiece.
We’ll start with this beauty. It would make any Thomas Kinkade fan proud. I myself am not partial to the syrupy sweet style, but if you are, and you like this painting as it is … you might want to look away now.
Okay, if you’re still with me – here’s what we’ll need for Operation Transformation:
- A lovely vintage sheet (which you were hopefully able to find on the same thrifting trip as the painting – or in your Grandma’s linen closet)
- Adhesive Vinyl Letters like these ones (you may need to adjust the size depending on your painting and what words you choose)
- Some White Acrylic Paint (or any other color, if you’re feeling adventurous)
- A good sized Sponge Brush
And maybe a snack. Snacks always aid in creative endeavors, don’t you think?
So, now you get to arrange the letters however they look best to you. I’m partial to the right-justified-margin look myself. The best thing to do is to cut your letters apart (they’ll come in letter paper size sheets). Don’t worry about cutting them out perfectly – just enough so you have the general idea of the shape to see how they’ll fit. If your painting has a frame, make sure to do this first with the frame on, so you can see how much room around the edges you need to leave.
Once you have them arranged how you like, start peeling the adhesive and sticking them on one by one. Make sure to leave the others where you positioned them – this way you can keep things nice and (relatively) straight.
Once you have them all stuck down (firmly – you don’t want paint to seep underneath the letters), it’s time to get messy. Just be sure to separate your frame from the canvas first. Once the frame is safely away, there’s no precision required. Brush on the paint as thinly or thickly as your heart desires. Cover everything, including the sides.
You’ll end up with a bumpy looking canvas like this. Leave it on its own for awhile to dry.
While you wait (impatiently) for the paint to dry, you can start on your frame. Enter sheet and scissors.
Cut (or tear) your pretty sheet into 2 or 3 inch wide strips – the longer the length, the better.
Then just start wrapping a strip around the frame, nice and tight.
When you near the end of a sheet strip, tie another on to the previous one and keep going. Make sure the knot is on the backside of the frame so it won’t show – unless you’re going for the knotty look. You could also hot glue it if you wanted to. I chose the MacGyver technique myself.
When you get to the end, just tie, tuck, or glue the last end under on the backside. Then, flip it over – and behold your handiwork.
Your paint probably still isn’t dry, so go have another snack. Or take a walk with the kids. When you’re absolutely sure there’s not a speck of moisture left in the paint, you can start removing the letters. I used a razor to help lift any stubborn spots that didn’t want to come up easily (and yes, you’re right – I didn’t wait long enough for it to dry – even with the snacks and kids).
Ta-da! Now your pastel village scene looks all modern and hipster. Slip it back into it’s freshly dressed frame, and you have a lovely new work of art to display. Thank you, Thomas Kinkade and Grandma’s Linen Closet!
All you have to do now is find the perfect spot to hang your re-purposed masterpiece. And then sit back and enjoy your craftiness!
Let’s be honest though – if you love simple DIY projects, but sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the options out there, let me just say – I’m totally with you.
There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? What with your work, helping the kids with their schoolwork, preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone and putting yet another load of laundry in, there’s very little time for sleep – let alone DIY and crafting!
But do you ever look at that bare wall in the family room and that ratty (or non-existent) tablecloth on the kitchen table, and just wish you had a few hours to do something about them? Or do you browse through those wonderful crafting successes on Pinterest and think to yourself that “one day” you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself so that you too can create something meaningful?
You’re not alone. I get it. I’m there too. And there’s a huge community of people out there who are feeling just as overwhelmed as we are!
Thankfully though, I’ve recently been able to partner with an amazing group of authors and teachers to help you quickly and easily get into (or back into) the creative projects you’ve been itching to start. It’s called The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and it’s a collection of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry.
For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses. And let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information.
Topics in the bundle include:
- Home decor
- Furniture painting
- Chalk pastels
- Handmade gifts
- Homemade skincare products
- Cake decorating
- Photography and photo-editing
- Paint colors and interior design
- …and a whole lot more (76 eBooks and eCourses in total) – to help you be inspired or get started with your next DIY or crafting project!
There’s no need to worry about information overload either: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!
Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post – but only for stuff that I really like, and that I hope will be useful to you too ;)