before & after: thrift store artwork

i love this unusual before and after from amanda at red jet whistle. while trying to paint the frame of her favorite thrift store art find, amanda accidentally damaged the painting. so, rather than throwing it away, she decided to free hand a new “frame” with white paint. i love the fresh take on a thrift store find…

[have a before & after you want to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your images!]



I love it. I have been looking for ways to update an ugly old frame.

Uncle Beefy

SUCH a happy accident! I love it when that happens! An amazing transformation!

(Welcome back, Grace!)


Gotta love when happy accidents go your way! This is great.


SO FUN! Makes me want to dig around in tag sales and do something similar. Just hope it doesn’t end up being some “Antiques Roadshow” half-million find! =)


Wow, that looks amazing. When I read the description I wasn’t expecting much but then I scrolled down and was blown away! That picture is totally transformed.


This is the best Before and After that’s been on Design Sponge-and I love this feature!


That is soo much fun! I never would have thought to do that! I always find really dated paintings and prints that I would never give a second look…. until now


Accidents can come out so beautifully sometimes. This cranks the picture up several notches in terms of freshness – I love being surprised like that.


Excellent idea! I might have to try this! I have a couple of these ol’ boys in the basement! What a fun way to spruce them up! Thanks for the idea!


did you also paint over the colors in the painting or just clean it? the red looks so vibrant now!


Thanks for the generous comments everyone!

In response to michele – I didn’t touch the original, it may just be the photograph that makes it appear brighter.

fabframes – thanks for the link – I knew there were other folks out there doing this sort of thing – there are so many possibilities!


wow! what a fantastic “accident”! very creative, and what a great way to make an old painting go from drab to fab!


so unique! my grandpa had that same print in his house ~ minus the great makeover!


brilliant! so much better than the original even!


Definitely one of the better before and afters that I’ve seen – very creative.

Maria at Husligheter

Ahh, that’s so cool – I actually think the painting got much better with that creative framing! This idea goes in the vault for later use…

lisa h.

so clever and fresh!

I’m definitely tucking this idea into my little mental file…


Awesome! I have a friend that takes thrift store art work and paints in random zombies and such over the existing characters!

AND…I love that coffee table! Where can I find it?


Fantastic!! What a really creative way to transform thrift art. I have to admit that I didn’t even like the before, but the after is very cool!!


I love it. Now the painting has a dream-like quality

betsy and iya

…that’s it! I’ve had two great friends who’ve experimented with this before, and it always comes out lovely/intriguing. I can’t wait to have the space to test it out!


That is so cool! I love all of the before & afters, but it’s great to see something totally new. I would love to try this “on purpose” myself!


This is so inspiring! I would have never thought to do that with an old painting. It really becomes the focal point in the space. Great idea!


Really takes it out of the realm of “kind of boring old print” to something fascinating.


The painting is brilliant! It looks so fresh and gorgeous with the white paint. Talk about breathing new life into a piece.

Michele P

Hi Amanda,
I saw your Eames chair remake and would love to ask you some questions about some specifics. I can’t seem to leave a comment on your blog.
If you have an email address, please post here. Thanks.


that is beautiful. don’t you just love it when mistakes turn into something wonderful!

Joe in Indiana

Cool idea.. I wonder if the original picture was a little dark though?

This is the best idea I’ve seen for what to do with thrift store art.


LOVE. Absolutely love it. Unrelated question for Amanda: what shade of paint is that on your walls? I’m in lust. Must have.


Michele P – love to talk about the eames – me.hearties(at)gmail(dot)com

Emily – it was painted that blue before I moved in – unfortunately I don’t know what shade it is!

Thanks again for the lovely comments!


Mindy Harris

i’ve found some similar frames/prints at estate sales lately; now i know what to do with them. thanks!


This really is brilliant. Such a modern update. It’s definitely one of my fave before/afters ever. nice job!

douglas montgomery

..there must be a way of turning this into a product. Maybe a frame or custom-sizable cardboard borders in various patterns that slips over existing pictures?

Laura Boppell

I bet when it first happened, Amanda said a few expitives, and then…violla! Instant transformation into something cool!


Brilliant! Such a simple way to make a drastic and clever change.


Amanda, love the creativity!!! random question for you, though: the sliding curtain on the door frame- how did you mount it at the top?!


In response to Laura Boppell – you bet I did!!! ha ha!!!

laura – the curtain hardware is the “DEKA” from Ikea – $4.99.


Beautiful! I love the colour of the blue wall behind the picture. Do you have the name of it, or the code (numbers) for the painting?

Evelien D

What if it turns out to be a valuable lost masterpiece? :D


I feel so affirmed! I have a print from that same era & style, w/the orig. frame. I’ve been thinking of framing it with a 4 to 6″ wide flat frame. Maybe paint it high gloss black or stain it a dark walnut or cherry.


My grandparents have this painting in thier living room. I have to say, I like your version better.


OMG that’s the same painting my Dad hung in the kitchen when I was growing up! It has a way different vibe with the white paint on the edges.

Keneth Xson

Greetings From Singapore… Wat a great way to salvage the old painting.. nice work : ) hope to see more creative ideas from u in the near future !


that is really really nice, one of the best before and afters I’ve seen! good job!


I loved this when I saw it, and finally tried it out today on a thrifted painting. Thanks for the inspiration!! It turned out great!!