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Thrift Store Trash to Treasure

While shopping at a local charity thrift store, I found this diamond in the rough.

Notice the price on the glass there... $3.99 for this beauty! I was so jazzed to find it! I got started on this project piece right away. It was priced so low because the frame and matting had some pretty serious issues. I knew I was going to need to take the frame apart and give it some much needed TLC to help this beauty shine once again. 

I LOVE a good bargain and I'm always more pleased with a project when I can use things I already have on hand. So, with this one, I challenged myself to use only items I had on hand. As most crafters know, that can usually be done pretty easily, though it's always fun to check out what's new at the local craft supply stores. I gathered up the supplies I thought I would need, and set off to work. 

The first step was assessing the damage on the inside of this piece. This required taking the backing off. Some of the matting inside had come unglued and was potentially damaging the beautiful butterfly specimens.  

Next, I needed to pull the matting out to get to the internal frame that had separated from the back matting. For this I needed to turn 4 metal brads holding the matting onto the frame to separate the pieces. Most of these guys moved surprisingly easily. 

I was now able to see what needed to be done with the matting. Unfortunately, the little wooden frame inside (part of the matting) just wouldn't stay in place for me, so I had to get it out without damaging the butterflies. I used a pair of needle nose pliers and snapped the frame in one spot to allow me to wiggle it out without damaging the butterflies. 

I'm hoping to salvage at least part of this frame to use in a future project... 

I double checked to make sure that everything was clean and intact, then I was on to putting things back together again. I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to professional framing and matting, and again, I didn't want to spend any money on this refurbishing, so I decided I would replace the backing paper with some groovy vintage wrapping paper I got from an estate sale a while back.

I love this pattern!

I opted to use Tacky Glue & it worked out great!

To make my life a little easier, I cut some small notches out for the screws that hold the hanging wire on. I also finished off the edges in some gold washi tape just to help me be a little happier with the slight unevenness of my edges. Also, because I'm always looking for an excuse to use the stuff! Again, not professional, but I had fun and I used supplies I had on hand. 

Now on to fixing up the outer frame. 

As you can see, there were some pretty significant gouges out of the frame that needed some attention. I used some wood filler I had on hand to fill in the holes.

This stuff is easy to use and comes in handy for a lot of projects involving wood. 

I simply squeezed some wood filler onto the frame and smoothed it in with my fingers. It cleans off quickly and easily with just a simple wash with soap and water. I wasn't worried about how smooth or bumpy the wood filler looked because the plan was to stop here for the night, let the wood filler set up, and lightly sand the wood filler by hand the next day. 

Gouge filled in with wood filler. 

The next morning, I grabbed a piece of sandpaper I had on hand with my painting supplies and began to smooth out the wood filler and lightly sand the rest of the frame to prep it for a shabby chic paint job. 

Everything was going smoothly!

After sanding, I wiped the frame down and removed the price (written with marker on the glass) with a Tub O' Towels heavy duty cleaning wipe. 

Let me stop to say discovering these wipes was the best thing about the disinfecting wipe shortage that went on in my area last spring! They are fantastic! Check them out if you haven't. They are even made in America! Gotta love those made in the USA products!

Love these! They even contain aloe, vitamin E, and lanolin so they are not harsh on your hands. 

On to painting! I used two well loved chalk paints for painting the frame (Excuse the messy paint jars).

Waverly Ivory
This green color by DecoArt  is named "vintage".

I applied the ivory color first. After I painted a section, I went back and wiped some of the paint off to allow the existing black and gold painted detailing to show through. 

I then applied the green color using a dry brush method. Before I knew it, I was finished painting, and the paint was dry. 

Ta-da! Shabby Chic success! 

I added this piece to tie in some existing items. I am pleased with the results! 

I find great satisfaction in knowing I purchased this from a charity thrift store. I kept something that some might discard as trash from going into a landfill, and I used what I hand on hand to help this diamond in the rough become something I will treasure for years to come. 


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