Thrift shop repurposed artwork

I’m pretty excited to show you a DIY thrift shop repurposed artwork I recently did. My daughter Shannon moved into a new house 6 months ago and is slowly making it a home.  I have been helping her via texting and a few trips to her house {she is 3 hours away}.  Her living room was empty and was in need of a sofa. So I went a hunting on Craig’s List and found this expensive modern sofa for $325 for her living room {deal!}

Craig's list sofa

And once we got it in her house, I told her that she needed a big piece of artwork above the new CL sofa.  She said yeah, but they are a lot of money, so that won’t be happening.  HA!  She forgets that I am a queen of DIY and budget decorating.  I went on a hunt for a large framed piece of artwork at the thrift shops.  It’s the framing that can add up.  So I didn’t care what the artwork looked liked, I was mainly concerned if it was a frame I could work with and the size.  On my last stop I found this

Thrift shop artwork

It is 50″ x 50″ which was the perfect size, and the frame was exactly what I was looking for.  So I paid the $34 and brought it home and got painting over the original artwork right away.  I really don’t know if the original artwork was oil, it didn’t seem like it, but after I put acrylic paint over it, the next day the design was faintly showing through. Hmmm…I wasn’t going to let that deter me! I thought for about a second to try using oil paints for the first time, but I chickened out. I realized that if I used darker colors the original artwork didn’t show as much.  So I did this one {the frame is going to be painted gold, so over look the paint on the frame} and sent Shannon a picture, and that’s when I noticed something…

abstract blue painting

See how the original artwork is still showing through?

abstract blue painting

But it didn’t matter because she didn’t want blue.  She liked the painting, but she said “I’m over doing blue in my house, it seems I always do blue”  Oh, oops, I missed that memo lol.  I guess being pregnant with your third son makes you not want more blue.  {But yay for me! It will be my 4th grandson}  So I painted over it with blacks and grays and a little mustard color

grey and black abstract art

I wasn’t a fan of it, and neither was she.  But at least the original artwork isn’t showing as much now.   I re-painted it all black and added some white abstract lines

Black and white absract

She said she wished it had more white…yeah me too.  It was a cool painting but kind of on the dark side for her house.  SO!  I painted it all white to start over again lol  Shannon felt so bad.  Said I was crazy {some truth to that} and that I didn’t have to re-do it, but I wanted her to really love it and I just wasn’t feeling anything I had done so far.  And acrylic paint is cheap, so why not!

repurposed thrift shop artwork

It took 3 coats of white paint to cover the black. I had to use a roller to put the white paint on to save time and eliminate brush strokes.  But I finally got the surface uniform and ready for my design. But I didn’t have a design…that was the problem.  Then I remembered this trick I learned in my watercolor painting class.  To create easy abstract shapes, overlap different letters at various heights and angles.  And after painting over this thrift shop artwork four times, this design was the keeper

Black and white abstract art

And both Shannon and her husband LOVE it!  They love it even more because it spells their last an abstract way of course 🙂  They picked it up this weekend and sent me a picture of it hung up on their wall. It’s not the greatest picture, but boy do I love how it looks!

DIY abstract art

They decided they liked it better in this orientation than what my previous picture showed.  I hope that the original artwork doesn’t show through over time.  I don’t think it will, with all the coats of paints I have on there it shouldn’t! lol

Since I had my paints out, I also painted a black and white abstract for my youngest daughter Tiffany.  I don’t have a picture of it in her apartment yet, just this one I took after I finished it.  But I think it turned out pretty good and she really loves it, and that is what matters right?

DIY black and white abstract art

DIY abstract art


Since she already had an existing frame, and just wanted to change out the artwork, I didn’t need to do any thrift shop hunting.  I used a 48″ x 36″ canvas that I purchased from Michaels {with a coupon of course} and painted the black abstract lines.  I used the white of the canvas instead of painting the whole thing white. I don’t know if that is the right way to do it, but that is how I did it. Once I brought it to her, her friend fell in love with it, and asked if I could do one for her.  I of course said yes!  I LOVE TO PAINT! But I hate doing paintings and then not have anywhere for them, so when someone specifically asks me to do a piece of artwork, I am all over it!

I found another large framed thrift shop artwork to re-purpose again.   This time I paid attention to the type of painting it was before I bought it.  I got lucky, and I found this framed 50″ x 50″ one for $18!  And the tag said it was an acrylic painting..hope they are right.

Repurposed thrift shop artwork

Of course I will be painting the frame a different color and painting ANOTHER black and white abstract.  Black and white abstracts are on trend right now, so what the heck.  If you follow me on Instagram you will probably see the finished transformation a lot faster than here on my blog…that seems to be my MO lately.  So does this give you incentive to go find you own thrift shop artwork to repurpose?  I hope so!  It really is an inexpensive way to add unique artwork to you home without breaking the bank.  Try it, and if you don’t like it, do like I did, paint over it and try again…

Want large artwork but can't afford the price tag? See how I repurposed large thrift shop artwork with acrylic paints for $34




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  1. You can paint over the original with Gesso. That might hide it better.

    • Thank you Carla! I have tried using Gesso, but I haven’t gotten the hang of putting it on evenly. Guess I need to practice using that stuff, because that would of given it a nice base coat.

  2. I would do that on thrifted artwork IF I could paint a lick! but I can’t!

    I loved the final result for Shannon’s picture and love Tiffany’s too. You’re so good. Redoing it 4 times sounds like something I would do. Jamie would have said the same thing, but for our kids…. we’ll do it, right?


  3. Wow Stephanie you do amazing work, lucky daughters. I was looking for something but found your blog on this art work instead and It’s fabulous I love it, great idea..Thank you for sharing

  4. Also I meant to say that second abstract painting (I lové it) looks like two birds landing on a telephone wire! Anyone else see that or is that just my crazy brain!☺

  5. Great work. Did you end up painting the frame as well? If so what did you use (color, etc.) to paint it? Thanks

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