Thrift Painting to Word Art


thrift store transformation I’m so excited to share my latest transformation with you all, which is going up a day early to participate in this winter Pinterest Challenge! So let’s get to it: how to turn an ugly (come on, gotta call it by what it is…) painting into some awesome art.

When I found this amateur canvas painting at a thrift store awhile ago, I knew exactly what I’d do with it since I had seen lots of examples of word art made with stickers and paint on Pinterest. Many are done on blank canvases, canvases finger-painted by kids, or even mirrors and wood. All very cool, but since I’m into transforming thrifted stuff, this is the version that caught my eye from A Beautiful Mess (and got pinned to my board).

However, I pondered awhile about what words to use. As well as wondering if the colors would work – they’re kinda dull and blue (even the trees looked a bit blue!) and I’m into lighter, definitely non-blue colors. I actually liked the ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ signs for awhile but it’s been done to death – as well as anything beginning with ‘Keep Calm.’ I wasn’t really looking to go the whole subway-art route, but I did want something meaningful.

When I found this quote a few weeks ago, I knew the first part would work beautifully.


And really the toughest part of this easy craft is finding all the letter stickers needed. Seriously – I think it took 30 minutes just to find and place all the letters! I kept thinking there was some easier way other than rifling through all the stickers over and over again searching for the next letter. I guess if I had used stickers attached to sheets (like scrapbook stickers) it would’ve been quicker, but this is what I had (left over from my preschool-teaching days).


The painting was meant to hang horizontally, as you can see in the first photo, but the words worked better vertically so I decided to go with it, even though I wasn’t sure how it would affect the way the original painting showed through. After placing and adhering the stickers, I sprayed the whole thing with a couple of light coats of paint (heirloom white by Rustoleum). I attempted to spray straight down to minimize any paint going under the stickers, although in the end some did get under the edges.

However, when it was dry and I started pulling the stickers off, I could see that it didn’t bother me and in fact I think the blurred edges add a nice touch. And you know what else? I was completely surprised by how much I loved the result!! Really – look how cool that ‘R’ is with the tree tops on one half and the sky on the other. Ah…a good diy project sure feels great when you love the result, huh?


I like everything about it: that the letters aren’t perfect, that each one has something different going on – trees, mountains, sky, water – and of course the sweet sentiment.

thrifted word art on mantel

And as for the colors I was worried about? They work perfectly with the green moss and ivy on our early spring mantel and the white adds the brightness I was after. In fact, the resulting art inspired this green-white-with-a-bit-of-yellow mantel that I’m sort of embarrassed to say makes my heart, well…kinda sing when I see it. Sappy, I know, but what other way to explain it?

Cost? $1.99 for the thrift store canvas and I already had the stickers and paint from other projects. Pretty cheap for a singing heart, I would say.




Oh, and I’m happily linking to YHL’s fun Winter Pinterest Challenge as well as Chic & Crafty, Frugal FridayI’m Lovin’ It, 6 Days of Spring Party, March Before and After 


  1. What a great idea and a beautiful end result! Thanks for sharing. “Pinning”

  2. That is a really cool idea! I’ll have to remember this one when I find cool frames with ugly photos in them!

  3. Cindy Amweg says:

    You think of everything! What a great project, I love it!

  4. I love the quote. And the finished artwork turned out really well! Stunning!

  5. Stunning!! I love the colors that come through the letters. So beautiful!! Love it!!

  6. jeanne kuskowski says:


  7. I love it! I really want to make one of these myself.

  8. I love it too! At first I loved the bright colored version & thought I want to do something just like it. But then I saw the black/white version, I love that a whole lot more. It’s very dramatic. the design, the mantle arrangement, everything. I’d like to get a shelf or a cabinet to do arrangements on in my living room.

  9. Your project is the most clever and pretty upcycle I have seen in awhile. Well done!

    I am visiting via Jill’s blog Sew A Fine Seam. I too sew on a Janome. In fact my daughter does too. My most recent project was turning a dishtowel into a slipcover. :)

  10. Thanks! I actually think I could manage this project!

  11. Absolutely beautiful!

  12. Adrienne says:

    I absolutely love this! My favorite letter is that “R” too! I have been following your blog for a while now and this is my first comment! Dont ask… I dont know why either?! Anyway just wanted to tell you I love your blog, I love your house, and all you do for us ladies (and gentlemen) that like to live an enriched yet simple life. Take care and God Bless!

  13. I love this but I also liked it when it was just sprayed with a light coating of white paint.


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