How to Update a Thrift Store Find with Paper Flowers

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Today, I’ll be showing you how to update a thrift store find with paper flowers. My thrifted “treasure” is a small Ikea mirror that is in need of a fun makeover!

I’ve been saving a stack of magazine for crafting projects for awhile and was ready to start using them to make flowers for my project.

At least I thought I’d only had them for a short while. Apparently they’ve been in my craft room a lot longer since the magazines are dated 2017!

I don’t throw anything away if I think I can use for craft projects. I might be a hoarder.

Follow along with my tutorial and let’s get crafting!

HOW TO UPDATE A THRIFT STORE FIND WITH PAPER FLOWERS

The completed craft project for how to update a thrift store find with paper flowers.

The photo below is what my Ikea thrift store mirror looked like before the major update. It’s about 10×10 and only cost me $2.00. Score!

When you go thrifting, look for anything with a flat surface and wide enough to fit some paper flowers, for example, a sign that can be painted over, a wide frame, art canvas, or a wooded item.

The thrift store find before updating it with paint and paper flowers.

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SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • thrift store find
  • magazine pages
  • Waverly yellow chalk paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Surebonder glue gun
  • paint brush
  • small artist brush
  • large scissors
  • sharp detail scissors
  • pencil
  • optional:
    • white chalk paint
    • sand paper
Supplies needed to update the thrift store find.

HOW TO UPDATE A THRIFT FRAME WITH FLOWERS

STEP 1: PREPARE THE SURFACE

My surface is wood and a dark color so I needed to sand and paint 2 base coats of white. I find if I’m using yellow and the existing surface is a dark one that the yellow shows better on top of white.

I painted 2 coats of yellow chalk paint. No picture of this step. No one likes to watch paint dry.

STEP 2: MAKE PAPER FLOWER STEMS AND LEAVES

Choose magazine pages with different shades of green. I chose green beans and lettuce.

I used large scissors to cut curvy stems and leaves. The detail scissors will be used later to make the flowers.

Place the stems in your desired areas. Take a picture of the stem placement so you’ll be able to glue them in the correct spots.

Use an artist brush with a small bristle head to glue the stems and leaves down with Mod Podge.

With the artist brush, apply the glue on just the general areas where the stems will go, and then do the same for the leaves.

Don’t Mod Podge over any green yet, as that will be done later in the process.

step for cutting the green stems and leaves out of paper magazine pages
magazine pages in green that are to be cut into stems and leaves

HOW TO MAKE PAPER FLOWERS FROM MAGAZINE PAGES

I made 3 different kinds of flowers. The turquoise flower was made with long paper strips, the orange one with very short strips. The purple flowers were made with heart shapes.

STEP 1: CUTTING STRIPS FOR THE FLOWERS

The photo below shows rectangles in 3 shades of turquoise that were cut in strips from magazine pages.

The strips are tedious to work with and to glue in place, but I think the final look is worth it.

shades of turquoise cut into rectangles to make paper strips for the flowers

STEP 2: GLUE THE FLOWERS IN PLACE

Use a small artist brush to apply Mod Podge to the surface only in the flower area.

I varied the turquoise shades as I placed the strips going around. I placed strips down moving around the circle about 3 times. You’ll need to apply the glue in some areas where the strips overlap.

As you can see in the photo below, I cut shorter strips for the orange flower. Again, use the artist brush to apply glue in the flower area and then place the strips.

The top coat of Mod Podge will be applied at the end of the flower process.

completed turquoise paper flower with button center
completed orange flower made from magazine paper strips

STEP 3: MAKING HEART FLOWER PETALS

Cut a paper square and fold it in half. Draw half of a heart at the fold and cut the heart out. Trace the heart on paper squares and cut out however many petals you need.

You can use 3 or 4 heart petals to make a flower.

example of how to make the heart petals for the purple flowers

The purple flowers are much easier to glue in place than the strips.

Apply Mod Podge in the area of the flower and place your petals.

completed purple paper flowers with button centers
light purple paper flower with a button center

FINAL STEP: APPLYING MOD PODGE

Use a paint brush to apply Mod Podge, in one direction, over the entire thrift store project.

As seen in the photo below, the Mod Podge will look white when applied, but will dry clear.

REALLY THE FINAL STEP is to use hot glue to attach the buttons at the center of each flower.

Mod Podging the paper flowers onto the thrift store find

Now that you’ve gotten some inspiration for how to update a thrift store find with paper flowers, aren’t you ready to go thrifting and pull out your old magazines?

graphic saying "pin for later"
graphic for DIY magazine paper flowers embellishing a thrift store find

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN THESE THRIFT STORE UPDATES:

TRANSFORM KITCHEN TRIVETS INTO MEMO BOARDS

DIY WALL PLAQUE UPDATE WITH PAPER

It’s time for another monthly Sustainable Craft Challenge, where my blogger friends and I create an eco-friendly project which we “use it up,” recycle, or upcycle a craft or home decor. Our April theme is “flowers.” Be sure to click the links below to see many more floral decor and craft ideas!

NOW, SEE MORE UPCYCLED “FLOWER” PROJECTS!

graphic for the craft challenge blog hop group

Julie @ Sum of Our Stories ~ Recycled Mini Art Collage with Crochet Flowers

Gail @ Purple Hues and Me ~ Ironed Pressed Flowers Glass Vessel

Christine @ Christine’s Crafts ~ Easy to Make Book Page Roses

Mel @ Decor Craft Design ~ DIY Flower Gift Bucket for Mom

Julie @ Treasures Made from Yarn ~ Flora Reversible Doll

Mimi a Great Name for Grandma ~ Mason Lid Fabric Flowers

Niki @ Life as a LEO Wife ~ Floral Wood Letters with Free Flower Cut Files

Sharing my thrift store update at these fabulous blogs!

author of the southern sunflowers blog
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allyson

Allyson is the founder and content creator of Southern Sunflowers which shares tutorials for DIY crafts and decor on a budget.

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22 thoughts on “How to Update a Thrift Store Find with Paper Flowers”

  1. What a great use of an old magazine. I am always looking for ideas using them, I have quite the stash. I have to say, this would not have been what I thought of though. Since I am all about reduce, reuse, recycle here lately, I will be sharing this project tomorrow for Whimsy Home Wednesday. Thank you for sharing!

  2. What a great way to update a thrift store find with paper flowers. Your final project is a showpiece! I love that you found your books dated back to 2017….oh how I can relate! I would say it was well worth the save to end up with such a beautiful project! Great job!

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Michelle! Yeah, I hang on to a lot of stuff because you just never know what you might want to make in the future – Lol.

  3. Wow, Allyson! What a transformation! I love it! And of course I love the flowers you made – especially the purple ones, lol! And I love that you used buttons for the center of the flowers – adding a dimensional look and feel! Well done!

    1. Yay, I’m happy you love my makeover Gail! Yes, the buttons were definitely a must since the paper centers I tried looked horrible.

  4. These are great as every one will be individual. I think I like the heart flowers best. I love the delicate finish of all these flowers and stems.

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