DIY & Crafts, Projects

Thrift store upcycle!

September 23, 2013

I do love thrift stores. My two boys … not always, at least not for any moderate length of time, but I do love to find items to re-do/upcycle/repurpose. Every time I go shopping at Mama’s Happy (an awesome vintage/upcycle shop here in the Twin Cities), I ask the ladies where they find all their stuff, and guess what I always hear… yep, thrift stores (and estate and garage sales). I leave feeling motivated, ready to hit up the local Goodwill and a couple other thrift stores, to search online for estate sales nearby, and to actively make it to some garage sales. And then … yep, it’s next month already and I’m back in Mama’s Happy, or reading other blogs who have created some upcycled/repurposed awesomeness, and still haven’t actually stepped foot in a thrift store. Shoot! Were does the time go?!?


This month, I actually made it into Goodwill and actually came away with something! Hooray…a project! A small project, but at least it’s something! Here’s what I found:

A lovely 8"x10" canvas painting framed in an old wood frame.

A lovely 8″x10″ canvas painting framed in an old wood frame.

Can’t beat the price, either!



I wasn’t all together sure what my plan was for this frame. I knew it probably involved painting the frame, maybe some fancy paper and mod podge or pretty fabric to cover the canvas, and something interesting as the focal point. During a nap time this past week, I really got to thinking (and digging through my supply closet). What could the focal point be??? Since this was destined for Owen’s room, I started thinking about what he likes. Basically, he loves the typical boy stuff; motorcycles, trains, boats, and helicopters (and the movie The Lorax…obsessed, actually). Hmmm. I saw this cute framed picture of an old bicycle (black and white outline) matted on vintage looking paper in an old, painted, rustic looking frame somewhere in the recent past. He would love that…but I didn’t have quite the right image (or scrapbook paper) on hand. On to pondering some more…

Then I spotted this guy in the closet:

$2.50 from JoAnn (but I'm sure he was on sale)

$2.50 from JoAnn (but I’m sure he was on sale)

and remembered something I had pinned once upon a time of framed half animals:

Love these framed half-animals!

I still have a thing for fake taxidermy (I’m partial to the kind that look extremely fake). Check this guy out, and this site (White Faux Taxidermy) if you’re into fake heads, too (love all the crazy color options):

Okay, so my plan is taking shape:

  1. Paint the frame
  2. Pick out some paper in a modern pattern and mod podge to canvas for a background
  3. Cut giraffe in half (sorry, buddy)
  4. Spray paint his head
  5. Glue giraffe head onto mod podged canvas
  6. Place entire (now very 3d picture) back in frame, and….
  7. Display!

Here’s some of those play-by-play steps in the form of pictures:

Cut giraffe in two (wasn't as hard as I thought).  Also, turns out he's hollow.

Cut giraffe in two (wasn’t as hard as I thought). Also, turns out he’s hollow.


Spray paint giraffe (I used a toilet paper roll to hold him upright)

Spray paint giraffe (I used a toilet paper roll to hold him upright)

Using Liquid nails for paper/plastic, glue giraffe to background (mod podged canvas).  Find something to hold him in place while it sets over night.  Nice contraption, huh?

Using Liquid nails for paper/plastic, glue giraffe to background (mod podged canvas). Find something to hold him in place while it sets over night. Nice contraption, huh?


One more time:

A finished project. That is cause for celebration!

Want to see more thrifting? Check out all the projects over at Just a Girl and her Blog:

Or…in honor of the start of Fall, check out some other fantastic projects here:


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  • Reply carissa September 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    NICE! i never get to the thrift store as often as i’d like for the same reason. come on kids!

    • Reply Katie September 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      I know, right. Either they don’t way to go, run away from me once inside, or insist on playing with (and usually buying) a bunch of toys. I don’t love that. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog September 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I LOVE how this turned out! And I am totally over here giggling about the pics of the giraffe in the middle of the painting process. He looks like he’s struggling to escape, lol. I never would have thought to do this, but it is brilliant and so, so cute! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

    • Reply Katie September 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks, Abby!! My son, Owen keeps calling it a ‘horsey’. “Mom, where’s the rest of the horse??” Love your blog! -Katie

  • Reply April Hoff September 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Love this, Katie! Thanks for linking up at the Get Your DIY On Party! I’m choosing it as one of my features on Sunday!

    • Reply Katie September 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Awesome! Thank you so much! Looking forward to the features post! Have a great weekend!

  • Reply Mandy Hank September 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I am giggling at this project- I just love it!! My dad is a big hunter and loves taxidermy, I have to do this for him! Thank you so much for linking up your Thrifty Project with Get Your DIY on this past week. I hope you’ll join us at 4:00 today to link up any spray painting projects you have had. Have a great Sunday!!

    Mandy @ The Hankful House Blog

    • Reply Katie September 30, 2013 at 1:36 am

      Hi Mandy! Thanks so much! Love your blog, and your link party. I will get my spray paint project up soon! Thanks again!

  • Reply Danielle @ 2 Little Superheroes September 30, 2013 at 2:44 am

    OMG this is so brilliant, love this and sharing it everywhere!

    • Reply Katie September 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks so much! Such a fun project! Thanks for stopping by…have a great week!

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  • Reply Katie @ Upcycled Treasures March 18, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I love this! The colors are fun and it’s so whimsical! Pinned :)
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    • Reply Katie March 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Thanks, Katie! He kinda makes me laugh every time I look at him, but my boys get a kick out of it! Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week!

  • Reply Sonnet @ SohoSonnet Creative Living March 31, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Haha.. Katie this is TOO FUNNY. I was searching for fun unique ways to decorate blank wall space for a round up and I came across this project shared on pinterest… tracked back TO YOU! Yipee! I love love love this so much.
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    So creative! Love it.

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    Hooray! I’m not nuts (maybe just a little). I live in Oklahoma and recently went to a friend’s piece of land to hunt for cow skulls. I found one, painted it gold and love it. Most of my friends thought I was crazy. My artist friends liked it though.

    • Reply Katie May 27, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Ha! I get a lot of crazy looks from my friends … and husband. :)

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