Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Transformed Thrift Store Artwork (in which painted velvet is actually a good thing)

So. You remember this ugly piece of thrift store artwork I picked up for $5 here, right? I know, I know, how could you forget this nightmarish painting? It’s downright scary. My apologies. Ken shrieked when I brought it home, poor guy.
old artwork in antique frame

But no worries. I used oil paints for the first time and it actually turned out pretty cool-looking. Except for the frame.

framed oil painting

So I polled you guys since I was sincerely bamboozled. Many chimed in with GREAT ideas, so click over to that post if you are ever in a dire situation like this. (HA). Pretty sure no one’s had this problem ever.

I ended up diving in headfirst by painting the velvet-y strip of the frame navy. I’ve done this before, on this frame, and it worked out well then. It does get stiffer, but after 50ish years, these velvet bits aren’t exactly something you want to rub your face on anyway.

Paint a thrift store frame's velvet section with craft paint.

It dried SUPER quickly (YAY) so I flipped the frame over and secured the oil painting in its grasp. Also–I painted on the backside of the painting if, justincase I ever wanted to, I don’t know? flip it over and use the original gross side? Completely unnecessary, now that I think about it.

old artwork preserved! just in case.

I’m in love with the painting and how easy it was. KEY: use lots of white. When I didn’t, things got murky FAST.

Oil painting for beginners! Super easy.

It now hangs in the 12 square feet that is our hallway, between our bedroom on the left and bathroom on the right.

Ugly thrifted artwork turned beautiful!

I left the outer creamy portion of the frame as is for now. I’m still mulling over whether or not I want to paint it. It’s currently acting as a nice bridge color between our creamy walls and the bright white in the painting.

Oh, and I made a nice (PINNABLE, hint) before and after image so you could see the contrast without scrolling up.

Transform old thrift store art!

So, for $5 and the cost of paint (maybe $6? I had a giftcard), we now have a sweet custom piece of artwork.

Moral of the story: don’t pass up ugly pieces of art in the thrift store, but don’t show it to your husband before you transform it. Things go much better that way.



Dressing Up an Old Oil Painting’s Frame (in which I realize I am enamored with fancy artwork)

Yes, I realize it’s a cumbersome blog post title. If you come up with something better, let me know…actually, just kidding on that one. Start your own blog with catchy blog post titles and I’ll read it. 🙂

Let’s get to some real content. Aging is a fact of life. Occasionally, time actually makes things better, things like friendship and wine and rare antiques that keep going UP in value the older they get.

But sometimes, the passage of time is not as kind. I will not give examples since I’m sure a few popped into your head immediately.

Well, okay, here’s one example.


Yes, it can get pretty gross after like 50 years or so. Maybe not with quality velvet stuff, but in the instance I’m thinking of, well, let’s just say it was yucky.

Especially when used on an old frame.

Folks, this is not the type of antique painting you would see on Antiques Roadshow.

At least, it’s not the type of painting that would be worth any money on Antiques Roadshow.

At least, I sincerely hope not. Because if it was, I just ruined a priceless antique.

I give you Exhibit A:

This is a super sweet original oil painting with a 85% fantastic frame. (I had given it a 90%, but that was a bit too generous, so I took it back).

See that velvet strip? That was the one thing that almost made me keep walking past this $5.99 beaut in the thrift store. That and the layers and layers of grime on the frame and painting, from which I will mercifully spare you from looking at.

“BERRJ?” Who is that? If its one of the grand masters, I’m not sure if I want to know since I have since defiled it, as you will soon find out.

As you can see, the rust-colored velvet was not doing this painting any favors. So I took matters into my own hands and got all crazy with some $.57 craft paint from Hobby Lobby.

And FrogTape, because apparently I have hand tremors that prevent me from painting in a straight line.

using frogtape to dress up an old oil painting's frame

I was a bit peeved at how “navy” this navy actually was at this point, but, happy day! it dried darker.

Ready for the big reveal?

Ta da!

You can still see where the velvet was worn away and where it was still going strong, but I think it lends some texture to the piece that is awfully nice.

I’ve got to confess, oil paintings with chunky frames might be my latest obsession. I now own two, and let’s just say that no oil paintings in the Grand Rapids area thrift stores are safe from my scrutiny and eventual purchase. Unless they’re more than $10 or ’70s ugly–I draw the line there.

I do have some standards, people.