51 Paintings From Thrift Stores And Garage Sales That Were Upgraded By Other Artists (New Pics)

Going thrift shopping is always an adventure. You never know what you might find while digging through a bargain bin of shoes or a barrel full of backpacks and belts. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a piece of artwork that’s worth displaying in your home. And even if you don’t think any of the pieces are up to par yet, you might be able to give a painting new life by adding your own flair to it.

In fact, there is a whole community of people who are skilled at finding old pieces of artwork and giving them upgrades. Let me introduce you to the Repaintings subreddit. This group is dedicated to “repainting and transforming thrift store paintings”, and as you’ll soon see, some of the members are incredibly talented. We’ve gathered a list of some of our favorite repaintings that have been shared in the group down below, so you can see what all of these creative individuals are capable of doing with simple second hand finds. Be sure to upvote the paintings that inspire you the most, and then if you’re interested in checking out even more, we’ve got another Bored Panda piece on the same subreddit for you to view next right here.

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#1 Clever Girls

Image credits: tripperfunster

I have always been amazed by painters. As someone who would struggle to draw a convincing still life of a bowl of fruit, I am blown away by the creativity and artistic vision some people naturally have. And apparently, it’s not just a small handful of people who have an eye for putting their own flair on a piece of art, because the Repaintings subreddit has nearly 540k members at the moment. The group’s description is straightforward: “Find a painting at a garage sale, thrift store, or in the trash and repaint it. Add some monsters! Add a UFO! Some lazers? Don’t mind if I do! Post the results. Before and After pics appreciated. No digital works allowed, only traditionally repainted works with real physical paint.”

But those simple guidelines are enough to inspire countless pieces of art. Many of the paintings end up getting a comedic twist by having dinosaurs or monsters added to them, but even those additions require great artistic skill. The requirement to use “real physical paint” keeps the pieces authentic and demonstrates that each of these artists really know what they’re doing.

#2 Finally Started Finishing My Bob Ross

Image credits: Stoneway933R

#3 Cat Bombing, My Latest Thing. Didn’t Remember To Take A Before Picture But Think It’s Pretty Obvious What I Added

Image credits: SallyFaulkes

Part of the fun of repaintings is hearing where all of the artwork comes from. Maybe it was sitting on a shelf at Goodwill for 6 months before someone came along and rescued it. Perhaps it was found on the curb outside of someone’s home doomed to a life at the landfill. Or maybe it came from your grandmother’s attic. There are infinite places artists can search for paintings to provide make-overs to including Facebook Marketplace, garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, and of course, local thrift stores.

The hunt is half of the experience because artists never know what they’re going to make next until inspiration strikes. Popular additions to paintings seem to be rollercoasters, monsters, UFOs, cartoon characters and skeletons, but the options are endless. Even text can be added to turn a painting into more of a meme or a statement. A simple depiction of a child can become much edgier if the kid is given the eyes of a demon, or a painting of a lake can become more adorable with a hot air balloon addition. An artist can turn the meaning of any piece on its head just by adding a few brush strokes.

#4 Lotr Added To A Thrifted Painting

Image credits: DaveRuinsArt

#5 Proud Of This One!

Image credits: foodogjohnson

#6 I Met A Really Talented Artist That You Might All Like, His Name Is Blase And He’s Got Quite A Great Universe!

Image credits: captain3ceps

There are plenty of ways artists can upgrade a piece of thrift store art. From adding some paint to replacing the frame, it might be easier than you think to turn a simple piece into something you are proud to display on the wall. Valerie Ott at The Spruce even wrote a piece detailing all of her favorite “Ways to Update Your Wall Art”, so in combination with all of these paintings from Repaintings, Valerie’s tips might give you the added boost of inspiration you need to head over to your local thrift store and pick something out you want to put your own spin on. 

One of her recommendations is the “paint by number art hack”. This is a great tip for people who might not be as confident in their artistic abilities. Valerie explains that, “By painting over an old-fashioned still-life, a trendy paint-by-number effect takes shape. This technique allows you to customize the colors in a piece of art to suit your taste, and it gives a more modern look to the painting overall. Best of all, you don’t need any artistic ability to pull this off.”

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#7 Godzilla Re-Charcoaling On Etch

Image credits: Stoneway933R

#8 Tossing My Hat In The Ring After Seeing All These Cool Peeping Cat Posts!

Image credits: spatialsequence

#9 Le Chat Eiffel. Need To Stop Painting Cats

Image credits: SallyFaulkes

Another idea Valerie gives readers is to add some sparkles to a boring piece of art. Glitter always makes everything better, right? Valerie explains that this idea is similar to the “paint by number” hack, but “it gets a little more bling thanks to metallic gold paint”. “You could also add gold leaf to give a glamorous touch to an old landscape or even a black and white photograph. And remember it doesn’t have to be gold paint—look at the tones in the art you’re working with and consider silver, bronze, or even a metallic-infused shade of blue or pink, which will be even more unexpected in its appeal.” This is an easy trick to try because it maintains the integrity of the original piece but still gives it new life. Plus, sparkles just make everything more fun.

#10 Finished My Painting Of Krampus

Image credits: Stoneway933R

#11 Dirty Dan And The Rustlers Of Hurtville

Image credits: RegalMothra

#12 My Husband Found A Thrifted Landscape That Matched His Computer Background. It Just Needed An At-At

Image credits: 23__alfy__23

Another creative idea Valerie suggests is the “thrift store silhouette hack”. Essentially, this includes leaving a silhouette shape, or any shape you desire really, of the original painting and covering the rest in one color. It could be a black outline and a silhouette of a tree in the middle or a gold outline with a leaf-shaped image from the original piece displayed, for example. By allowing some of the original artwork to peek through a new shape, you are putting your own artistic spin on a piece while still having fun with it. Perhaps you could even turn the painting into the shape of a UFO or alien as well, if you want to take a more alternative approach.

#13 Pizzagate (Done By My Friend, Hanging In My Kitchen)

Image credits: highfivefoster

#14 Holy Grail Added To A Thrift Store Painting

Image credits: prisongovernor

#15 Pig Bomb

Image credits: SallyFaulkes

One of Valerie’s other suggestions is very similar to what many of the members of Repaintings have done: “completely re-imagining the Bob Ross-like scene of a thrift store or garage sale painting by adding in whimsical elements of your own”. A scenic painting of a lake or a forest is a great canvas for you to add in unexpected elements. The painting can receive a comedic twist by plopping one of your favorite cartoon characters into the mix or a spookier take by adding ghosts and monsters chilling by the lake. Anything that is out of place can be a refreshing twist on a beautiful painting that just needs a new lease on life.  

#16 The Children – Before And After

Image credits: OldUglyArtHoarder

#17 War Of The Worlds Repaint

Image credits: tripperfunster

#18 Mr. Pickle’s Sphere Of Calamity

Image credits: Vartoons

Something else that can upgrade a painting is adding a bit of texture to it. This type of artwork might not be as common in the Repaintings subreddit, but artists can add anything to a canvas nowadays. Fabric, limbs from old dolls, cutlery, feathers, marbles, you name it. If it’s an inanimate object, you can stick it to a canvas. Even elements of the original painting can be given 3-d upgrades like covering plants with plastic versions and buildings with materials that have the same texture. A boring old painting can be transformed into an interactive piece of art that viewers are encouraged to touch or play with. It’s a step further than painting, but it’s just another idea for re-imagining an old piece.   

#19 Courage In Eggplant Suit

Image credits: Chuckeltard

#20 More From That Glorious Book “Transformations “

Image credits: wallertons

#21 This Sat At The Thrift Store For A While Before I Liberated It To Add Some Life And Death. It Is My First Repainting

Image credits: CosmoNewanda

While flipping thrift store artwork can be a relaxing hobby just for fun, it can also turn into a way to earn some extra cash. In fact, that’s exactly what artist Dave Pollot does. Dave is a New York based artist famous for his updated thrift store paintings. According to his website, “He finds unwanted artwork and adds his own touch – most often pop culture parodies – and in doing so, bridges the divide between classic and pop art.”

Dave’s artwork has become massively successful, being sold in every state in the US and over 40 countries worldwide. He has even been recognized by many media outlets including Business Insider, Instagram, and the SyFy Channel, and has sold artwork to SONY, Instagram, McDonalds and other large companies.

#22 Added More Details To This Guy. I Think He’s Done Now

Image credits: schnauby30

#23 Obligatory UFO

Image credits: GusFrye

#24 A “Deathly Hallows” Repaint Attempt (Including Some Creative Liberty With The Flying Snitch) On A Thrift Store Sunset

Image credits: beesims

On his website, Dave writes, “Painting has always been something of a hobby to me, but it wasn’t until I started repurposing thrift art in 2012 that I did it with any real consistency.  The idea actually began as a joke between my wife (who loves to shop at thrift stores) and I, but it quickly evolved into an attempt to answer a question:  Could I take a piece of unwanted art, and without changing its aesthetic, change its meaning by painting into it some bit of pop culture/nostalgia and make it desirable in the modern world?  Since that time, I’ve also started to explore a number of more personal themes in my work.  For example, using popular food items inserted into still life paintings to represent the distractions (both mental and material) that prevent us from being present and focused on where we are and what we’re doing.”

#25 The Pumpkin Magician

Image credits: TheGnarledBranch

#26 Daycare Life With The Gorillaz!

Image credits: spatialsequence

#27 Midnight Frolic

Image credits: Vartoons

It’s fascinating to see these paintings that have undergone transformations and now get to live out the rest of their days as a completely new piece of art. We hope you’re enjoying this list and that you have been inspired to create your own piece to share on Repaintings. Keep upvoting the artwork that really speaks to you, and let us know in the comments what you would like to add to an old painting. Maybe more flowers? Or a depiction of your dog? Or an alien sunbathing at the beach? The possibilities are endless.

#28 Before And After. Original Painting Found In Free Pile

Image credits: MajorCatAttack

#29 I Know Painting Furniture Is Un Popular In This Sub, But What About Painting On Thrifted Hand Bags? Saw This Purse At Gw And Just Felt It Needed Some Dugtrio!

Image credits: OutOfLime

#30 There Goes The Chili!

Image credits: altenacreations

#31 These Are The Fries She Was Looking For

Image credits: altenacreations

#32 ‘his True Form’ – A Repainting Of King George Vi By Me. Acrylics On Vintage Print

Image credits: fuji-san

#33 Aliens From Uranus

Image credits: altenacreations

#34 Such A Sweet Little Lady

Image credits: mlf2721

#35 Star Wars Fan Art

Image credits: MustArtEveryday

#36 “The Pheasants”

Image credits: chr15to

#37 Friend Rescued A Painting From A Garage Sale And Requested I Add Nautilus From League Of Legends. I Took A While, But It Was The First Project I’d Completed In Years, First Ever Repaint, And He Was Super Supportive. Now It Proudly Hangs In His Office!

Image credits: ToxicUndergroundWolf

#38 My First Repainting!

Image credits: Worldly_Pin420

#39 I’m Not Done With This Guy Yet. Gotta Add More Details. Contemplating Giving Him Tiny Creepy/Cute Arms?

Image credits: schnauby30

#40 Newest Repainting I Completed Last Night. Absolutely Love This One!

Image credits: MTGKozan

#41 Tripperfunster

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#42 Someone Was Just Throwing This Painting Out, I Realized When Cleaning The Frame That There Was Also Had A Line Of Blank Canvas So I Thought To Draw A Crap Ton Of Tiny Spongebob Flowers (170)

Image credits: bored_baked_potatos

#43 Skyrim Came Out Ten Years Ago So Here’s A Repainting To Commemorate That!

Image credits: DPJ333

#44 Tenacious D Added To A Thrifted Painting

Image credits: DaveRuinsArt

#45 My Favorite Part To Do Was The Eye Expressions On The Little Cheep Cheeps

Image credits: OldUglyArtHoarder

#46 I Like To Take Comic Covers And Put My Own Spin On Em Sometimes. What Do You Think Of This One?

Image credits: jordannoir

#47 Adventures In Babysitting With Wendy & Big Boy!

Image credits: spatialsequence

#48 Fetch In The Afternoon Meadow, Pickes It Uo From Goodwill A Couple Days Ago

Image credits: lakota_myr

#49 My First Try At This

Image credits: babybuttoneyes

#50 Started This One Yesterday

Image credits: schnauby30

#51 New Recent Works… Enjoy!

Image credits: TheGnarledBranch

Source: boredpanda.com

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