Do you ever wonder how some people come up with such clever projects? I do. But on the other hand, occasionally I come up with some rather clever things myself, and I'd like to give you the inside scoop on my thought processes so you can become one of the clever people too!
Some thought is required here.....
First and foremost, you must think of what something could become, not get stuck on what it is right now. If your mind has a hard time working that way, maybe it just needs a little push. Perhaps keeping a little composition book filled with pictures of things you like with you at all times would be a good idea. That way you could leaf through it when you are waiting in line at an estate sale, or when your friend is driving you around to garage sales. With inspiring images fresh in your mind, it might be easier to visualize transforming "blah" things into something fabulous. Now that we have Pinterest, a quick view of some of your Pinterest boards might give you a reminder of looks you are striving for.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. I saw this headboard in an estate sale ad. I like the shape, the flowing lines, and really think it would look great painted with my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Maybe Old White with French Blue trim.
To give you an idea of the colors, here's a project I completed last summer. I still have enough of the paint left over to paint the bed. In fact, the bottom shelf almost looks like the headboard, doesn't it?
Not only would the bed look good painted, but I remember seeing ads for "Do It Yourself Chic" wood appliques in several of my favorite magazines. I always wanted to try them, and this headboard would be perfect for one of them, perhaps the wreath of roses in the center of the headboard would be nice. Now I'm putting two things together in my mind and I can visualize the finished project. Can you?
Photo Credit: doityourselfChic.com
I'd love to show you the finished project, but I never purchased the bed. Oh, well. It was a good idea, anyway!
One of the easiest ways to transform something is with paint. Walk through a flea market or estate sale with an invisible can of spray paint in hand and imagine what various things would look like in your favorite colors.
This grouping of classic iron patio furniture could be any colors you wish. What colors would you paint it?
I often use decoupage or stencils on various items as part of my "up-cycling" projects. What I'm looking for is a blank canvas for my work. Suitcases make great blank canvases. So do hat boxes, white ironstone platters, and on a smaller scale, bottles and jars. All of these items are inexpensive, too!
Here's a dreary looking suitcase that's destined for dumpster doom:
But I rescued it and transformed it into this with some old sheet music, spray paint, and Mod Podge:
I bought this three panel screen for a future project, and it was cheap because it had water damage. You'll see it again soon in an upcoming post as I transform it into something much more interesting. Can you visualize something you would do with it?
There are many wooden butter bowls in the world. Unless they are burl wood, it's OK to enhance them with paint, which is what I did with the group below. They look pretty dried out in the first picture:
These sold quickly in my antique mall booths after being painted and waxed:
The common garage sale lamp is always a good bet for a makeover. One coat of primer and a couple coats of spray paint and you'll have a great looking lamp base:
These lamp bases have been transformed from "Early American Garage Sale" to "Modern Chic":
Lampshades are another blank canvas. So many possibilities! This one isn't finished, but you get the idea....
Books and paper ephemera are finally getting the attention they deserve. Large books like dictionaries and encyclopedias with embossed covers and marbleized paper ends add vintage style to vignettes in just about any room in the house. Even books without covers can be tied together and used in displays:
Have you ever wondered where people are finding so much sheet music? I think most of it comes from old paper covered books like "Favorite Christmas Songs for the Piano" and similar compilation books rather than the beautiful sheet music with colorful cover pages like "Let Me Call You Sweetheart". Those should be left alone, in my opinion, or the innards copied on a copy machine for use in craft projects.
Changing the color of something doesn't always have to involve paint. Take the common crocheted doily, for example. I have been dying them with Rit fabric dye to give them a new twist:
This rather sad grouping of garage sale finds got the royal treatment with some vintage wallpaper, which you will see in the second picture:
The gold framed piece ended up in my living room and isn't pictured below, but you can see how fun the other pieces look with the addition of some patterned paper. They can be hung on a wall, or just leaned against the wall as a cool and colorful focal point:
Maybe it's a fad, but I think "framing" prints inside jars is unique and fun:
So there you go, a few ideas for finding "pieces with potential". Always think how something would look with a color change, which is pretty easy to do, or a purpose change, like the bottle "frames", which requires a little more imagination. But I know you can do it, if I can!