Upcycling: From Ordinary to Art

My goal as an artist is to create beauty.  My goal as a thrifter and as a person that is concerned with adaptive reuse is to look at an object through different eyes than most people.  I want to think out of the box.  A feed sack can cover a chair, right?  An old ladder can become a bookshelf, an old teapot can become a cool lamp.  I don’t think I ever feel as charged up as I do when I stumble across something that I can use in an artistic way that others have not considered.

That is how I felt when I was walking through a local thrift store and saw this.



It was originally a mirror(which I blurred out) surrounded on each side with places to put photos.


It really wasn’t attractive.  In fact, lots of people walked right by it.  It was SHINY gold and a little too glitzy to be a serious consideration for most people but I saw it and pounced on it like a cat on catnip.  Get back! I can make this into something really special.

The first thing that I needed to do was get rid of the shiny bright gold. I wasn’t sure if we were going to sell this piece or keep it for ourselves so I decided to do a neutral treatment so that it could fit into any house.  So, we painted the frame  white but it was still too new looking and totally lacking in any kind of vintage charm.

We then glazed with raw umber paint wiping it off quickly with a paper towel and allowing some of the dark color to remain in the grooves of the piece.  It now looks old and vintage.  The shiny bright gold was all gone and an interesting, distressed frame was in its place.  I love it but forgot to take a picture of the frame at this step and it is at the shop.  Darn.

Decision making is part of the artistic process and this piece provided lots of opportunities to make decisions.  Now that the frame was painted Cathy and I had to negotiate how we would use the piece.  There were really three places that were up for negotiation, the mirror and the two areas for pictures.  We decided to keep the mirror and replace the photo areas with paintings.  We felt that the combination of the distressed, vintage looking frame, mirror and floral painting would be quite lovely.

So I cut masonite panels to paint on and based them white.

And then I painted and painted until these two panels were completed.


We love the way that this piece turned out and we added this little flourish to the top.


What do you think?  We love it.


So folks, think out of the box, use things in different ways, surround yourself in beauty and enjoy the journey.  On to the next challenge….Thanks for the visit.

Until next time,

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I’m partying at:

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