Get Thrifty and Release Your Creativity
It is easy to forget that thrift stores can provide more than just vintage and trendy clothes. At many thrift stores, there is a world of opportunity in different sections that many people don’t take advantage of. Here are three examples of simple, cheap, and easy crafts that you can do with non-clothing items frequently found in a thrift store. These look great in a dorm or apartment, are easy to individualize and make your own, and are just a fun activity to do!
Picture frame art
In every thrift store, it is almost guaranteed that you will find some sort of frame, whether empty or already accompanied by a piece of artwork, which usually can be easily removed. I love doing 2D artwork, specifically across a bunch of different mediums, to put into these frames and hang around the house. My personal favorite, pictured above, is a Bananagrams mosaic that my roommate and I completed last winter. Bananagrams tiles are almost always in a thrift store’s board game section. You can put any words on a piece of cardstock with the tiles and make an adorable hanging piece for your dorm or apartment.
Puff paint and recycled glass
Searching through the glassware section of a thrift store can be overwhelming, but it often yields some fantastic finds. Colored glassware, clear glassware, and porcelain/ceramic glassware are all suitable for this craft. Puff paint, which you can find at any craft store or department store for relatively cheap (approx. $1-$2), is a thick paint that allows you to create artwork that you can feel, as the paint is raised and, well, puffy.
First, find a piece of glassware that you like and that you could use. For example, you might use a vase for flowers or a shorter glass for holding pens and other stationery. Using the puff paint, paint on the glassware’s surface. You can choose any design you like. I personally suggest doing small repetitive dots in a cute pattern, like swirls or a vine. To add an extra kick, you can paint over the glass and puff paint with an acrylic paint to create a faux-ceramic look. After drying, these glasses are a super cute storage option to decorate your desk or countertops.
Make your own chalkboard
Last but not least, chalkboard making! Chalkboards are a great addition to shared spaces like the kitchen or dining room. My roommate and I have found that using a chalkboard helps us remember what to make for dinner and when the other is planning on being home. This is another easy one, if you’re willing to put on your painting clothes!
Find a mirror or picture frame (with glass still intact) with a design that you like. You want the border to be cute and to show your personality (you can paint the borders as well, if you’d like) as well as what you end up eventually drawing in the center. Chalkboard paint is around $15 either online or in person at a store like Lowe’s or Walmart. This craft is simple: Just paint the mirror or glass part of the picture frame over with a few coats of the chalkboard paint and wait for it to dry. You can use any chalk on these once they are ready, and hang up nicely on the wall for decoration, or even more tactical uses like grocery lists or to-do lists.
Here are some of the closest (and in my opinion, best) thrift stores around campus that sell more than just clothes. Each of these is fairly inexpensive and within 10 miles of campus.
800 Easton Rd.
Women’s Center of Montgomery County Thrift Store
318 Leedom St.
133 N York Rd.
*10% discount with an Arcadia ID