DIY Tacky Vintage Painting Upcycle

Vintage Thrift Store Painting

I picked up this oversized painting for $25 at the MCC Thrift store last week. (Have I mentioned MCC is one of my favourite stores?) I’m always pumped when my day off lands on a Tuesday because they restock on Mondays! Anyway, I had seen this a few days prior and couldn’t get it out of my mind. I got lots of “looks” as I proudly left with this baby under my arm.  Not sure why….it’s a real beaut!  Remember, when you’re “thrift shopping” it’s not about what you see, but all about the potential you see and the vision you have for a piece.

We have been making over our staff room at school (for the last 3 years) and our current project is the creation of a staff Coffee Bar. It’s actually almost finished, but not yet set up. We just finished painting a beautiful antique buffet and are now planning how to pull it all together. We thought it would be cool to have a chalkboard sign above the coffee station. The buffet is very large, so when I saw this frame (54″ X 21″), I figured the size was perfect. I loved the detail in the ornate frame and the upcycle was simple.  All it took was some TSP to clean off any residue and scuff up the gloss finish a bit, a coat of primer and a coat of paint. I’m not a big fan of gold, so paint was must. I was going to purchase a piece of wood for the chalkboard, but quickly realized that I could probably get away with sanding down the original oil painting. (I know someone out there is cringing at the idea that I ruined this piece of art…so sorry!) I used my mouse sander to smooth out the surface and then primed and painted overtop with spray paint. For this project I used chalkboard spray paint, but often just make my own homemade chalkboard paint.Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 1.28.11 PM


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I’m just in the planning stages for the chalkboard word art that will be applied. It will be something simple, but the intention is for it to be a permanent sign, not a message board. Here’s to hoping the coffee station all comes together nicely and proves to be more functional for our large staff at school.

Upcycled Picture Frame/Chalkboard

You know how I love a good deal. Well, I have used the same technique to upcycle both picture frames and dollar store slates. Basically, you are taking a somewhat inferior product and kicking it up a notch.

Upcycled Frame:

For this particular project, I used a dollar store slate, paint, homemade chalkboard paint, Modge Podge and some scrapbooking paper.

  1. First, tape off the slate portion. Give it a very gentle sanding and then add a fresh coat of homemade chalkboard paint. (I often find that the dollar store ones are not very user-friendly and the surface does work well with chalk, so I give it a coat of my own paint.)
  2. Once the chalkboard paint is dry, remove the tape and paint out the back and edges of the slate with a colour of your choice. (If this is being mounted on a wall, you can omit this step and leave the plain wood.)
  3. Cut a piece of coordinating scrapbook paper, that is slightly bigger than the size of the frame.
  4. Add a very thin coat of Modge Podge to the frame. You want the coat to be thin, but be sure to cover all of the frame so that the paper sticks well.
  5. Lay the scrapbooking paper over the frame and firmly press the paper to get out all of the air bubbles.
  6. Once completely dry, carefully cut away the excess paper from both the inside and outside of the frame by running a utility knife along the edge of the frame.
  7. I like to sand the edges where the paper and wood frame meet. This tends to expose the “white” surface of the paper below the print on it. I like the distressed look of the exposed white.
  8. You can add a coat of Modge Podge over top for protection, if desired.
  9. You must prepare the chalkboard surface by completely covering it with chalk and then erasing it. (I usually hold my chalk on the side to prime the surface.)

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