Thrift Store Upcycling Ideas

Thrift Store Upcycling Ideas

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Thrift shopping and upcycling are two very sustainable and very creative actions you can do to help make the world a little bit better for us to enjoy in the future. Thrift shopping alone can save 213 pounds of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere and can prevent 58 pounds of waste from going into landfills*. Upcycling and repurposing these items (and even ones you already have in your house) is a great way to give new life to everyday items. Some of the ideas I’m going to write about, I can’t take credit for because I looked them up online but there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we need inspiration before we can create something awesome our selves.

First up, is a pretty easy one and it hurts my heart a little bit to do. Using individual letters, a painting or picture of some sort, a paint with good coverage, and a quote or phrase you can stand to see often. The phrase I used from “Life is tough but so are you” which is something I found and saved on Pinterest. Once I placed the letters in a good place on the picture frame, I used masking tape to stick the letters down to make sure that they stay in place during the painting process. I, unfortunately, didn’t have enough letters to spray it completely so I painted mine in two halves. Once one half was dry, I switched around some letters to finish the rest of the statement. I also used spray paint as time was tight, which isn’t the best paint option, so if you have a paint and a painting method with better coverage than spray paint, by all means, do that instead. The wooden letters that I used are also something I can reuse for future projects, but if you have a better method, again, go for it. Whatever is easier for you that makes it come out the way you want it, do that instead. Mine did not come out the way I wanted it to which is what happens when you try to rush things, so another recommendation would be to take your time. But here is the successful one that inspired mine.

The website I got that idea from was which had a lot of other ideas I liked such as ashtrays that were painted to upcycled coasters, turning damaged records into bowls or wall art, using various teacups as planters, and turning old “vintage” sheets into napkins. Some of the ideas were so original and I probably couldn’t have thought of some of them on my own, even the really simple ones (spray painting wicker baskets to match your decor?… so cute!)

The next two were far more successful than the first one I tried. For the first one, I did a wreath which I really like because it is something you can do for any time of year. I was looking for a small hula hoop to hang on a wall in my apartment but when I went to Saver’s, I found a small wicker wreath and some fake flowers and vines. When I went to the craft store to get the wooden letters for the previous craft, I saw “Hope” which I semi-impulse bought for the wreath. With a little planning and some hot glue, I had a cute little wreath that is now going to sit on my back door. I also didn’t use as much hot glue as I was expecting because I was able to intertwine the vine with the actual wreath itself.


This idea came from DIY Beautify, a blog I discovered while looking up these ideas. There were some really cute and chic (something I never say seriously because I think it’s funny but these ideas really are chic). it is also filled with a lot of ideas that I probably would never have thought of on my own like using the front of a fan cover as a light fixture. I am also really glad I found this blog because I love a good DIY. I just need the motivation to actually do them more.

Lastly is a picture frame with a plant pot, an original idea of my own. On my thrifting expedition, I found a little silver frame that was very pretty but I didn’t need a picture frame. But I do need more plants (not really but I like to think so). I took out the glass and back and painted the frame and a small ceramic plant pot yellow. With my dad’s help, he sandblasted a small part of the glass to epoxy the clay pot to it. My recommendation and my original intention would be to find an old cup, preferably made of plastic so it could be cut in half, and then super glue it to the glass itself without all the sandblasting and epoxy. And the best part about this one is that you can display any picture and you can use the cup or pot to hold other things like pens, paper clips, chocolate for your work desk (we all know they’re actually there for you), or whatever else you want. It’s so cute and so easy.



These are just a few ideas that I liked but there is so much one can get and make at thrift stores it makes me wonder why more people don’t buy from them and upcycle. and they don’t need to be total makeovers, either. Like if you see a shirt you like but the sleeves are not your style, change them. Can’t find shorts that fit? Find some jeans that do and cut them however you want. There are endless possibilities to upcycling and all you need are a creative mind and about $20 dollars.

And here’s when I open it to you again! Comment below what you like to upcycle or any ideas you want to try the next time you go thrift shopping. And do you have any suggestions for future posts on similar or other topics? I want to hear everything!

Also, thank you for all of your support. It means the world to me that I have people who like to read my posts, even the small group that it is. This blog helps me through some really tough times even if I don’t post about them (or on time… oops). It’s good to know I have such lovely readers that actually want to hear what I have to say. Thank you for your support!

*Yearly impact data came from the JouleBug app.


  1. L. Hembree
    April 18, 2019 / 5:48 pm

    Fantastic ideas!

  2. Sara
    April 19, 2019 / 8:18 am

    These are awesome ideas. I’m moving into my own apartment in august so I’m going to need to decorate it. If you have more creative decor ideas please let me know!!!

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