Art from Flea Market Finds

Flea market finds with good-looking profiles, punchy color palettes, and memorable motifs stand alone as one-of-a-kind artworks. Here's a look at easy ways to stage noteworthy exhibits using flea market treasures.

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  • 1 of 19

    All Together Now

    Though diverse in size, shape, and provenance, a medley of ornately framed mirrors (and one empty frame!) become a dazzling ensemble when displayed en masse on a tall wall. To create a beautifully spaced grouping like this, trace to-be-displayed mirrors or frames onto newspaper. Cut out the shapes and tape them to the wall, rearranging them until you create an display you like.

  • 2 of 19

    Jewelry Art

    Display gorgeous vintage jewelry pieces as art wtih this simple DIY project. Watch and see how it's done!

  • 3 of 19

    Sentimental Displays

    Showcase found objects that evoke memories of happy days and favorite places. This graphic resort sign directs imaginations lakeside but stays in step with the room's contemporary furnishings due to a shared color palette.

  • 4 of 19

    Time Travelers

    When you're shopping a flea market or tag sale, take time to rummage through every box of miscellaneous stuff. You may strike decorating gold, like this trio of mismatched metal clock faces that recalls times gone by. An ornately carved frame and pretty ribbons amplify the grouping's importance and convert the diverse objects into a catchy composition.

  • 5 of 19

    Happy Camper

    Summer camp references -- from statuesque lanterns aligned atop a partial wall to vintage graphics, forest imagery, and adventure-related gear -- advance as a whimsically cohesive exhibit. Grouping forms by function, assembling things by theme, and combining pieces from the same place ensure an arrangement of dissimilar items presents a united front.

  • 6 of 19

    Game On

    Varsity letters and athletic patches make a sporty impression when different sizes and shapes are grouped as a wall display. Check family attics and flea market vendors specializing in vintage sports or academic gear to look for letters and emblems that best express true-to-your-school feelings.

  • 7 of 19

    On Target

    Because they're meant to be seen, shooting targets boast powerful patterns that are recognizable and worthy of framing. A simple black frame and a light-color matte board allow this paper target to become a fanciful focal point on a bedroom wall.

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    On Tap

    Multiples of one type of small thing convert to a captivating collective when massed in an innovative way. Vintage faucets mounted on a board dazzle as bathroom artwork. But picture the same board outfitted with antique doorknobs, ornate hinges, brass doorbells, or skeleton keys, and you'll realize that groups of petite relics create statement-making art pieces.

  • 9 of 19

    Leave a Note

    Slotted signs let you alter your messages and personalize walls and displays. Alphabet tiles on this Sunday school sign spell out a warm welcome, but they can be switched to call out a holiday greeting or compose prose marking a special occasion.

  • 10 of 19

    Sleepy-Time Silhouette

    Lilliputian headboards salvaged from cribs, daybeds, and kid-size berths energize lackluster spaces. When displayed on walls, the headboards' shapely outlines, vintage details, and faded finishes generate plenty of interest.

  • 11 of 19

    Regional Influences

    Academic charts, mathematical diagrams, and world maps evoke different periods, places, and learning experiences. In this country French kitchen, a Flemish fractions chart partners with farm animal prints to underscore the room's Euro farmhouse roots and further the collected style.

  • 12 of 19

    Country Chic

    A farmstand sign moves from roadside to mantel to take on a featured role that is generally performed by a fine-art canvas. The sign's black-on-white message underscores the room's country appeal and ties into the classic color scheme.

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    Industrial Age

    Reclaimed machine parts, like the toothsome gear displayed prominently on this wood-clad wall, beautifully complement looks from contemporary to cabin. Display larger pieces singly so their hardworking forms can be appreciated; mass smaller industrial parts to produce a mechanical montage.

  • 14 of 19

    Beholder's Eye

    Sort through piles of flea market and thrift store paintings to find inexpensive canvasses that speak to your personal aesthetic. These artworks satisfy a homeowner's love of the great outdoors and garden-fresh hues and forms. United by green and golden yellow brushstrokes, two still lifes and a landscape become an enchanting exhibit that adds cheer to a simple workstation.

  • 15 of 19

    Artistic Revival

    Modern technology allows treasure hunters to customize vintage acquisitions to suit their needs. This photographic portrait -- found wrinkled and rolled up at a German sale -- measured a mere 12x8 inches. After buying it for $12, the homeowner had it enlarged at a graphics production company to amplify its impact.

  • 16 of 19

    School's In Session

    Stop visitors in their tracks by displaying boldly illustrated charts and posters harvested from classrooms and laboratories. This oversize chart depicts the inner workings of a bivalve in colorful and graphic detail. Ragged edges and yellowing paper enhance the scientific rendering's ageless appeal.

  • 17 of 19

    Dynamic Duo

    Vintage frames with gilded, distressed, or painted finishes look lovely when displayed by themselves. But use them to highlight a new painting or photograph that's smaller in size and you'll create a magical multilayer composition sure to enchant. This display works well because the frame and artwork share green and brown tones; the frame's rough patina and the painting's softer brushstrokes create an interesting juxtaposition of textures.

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    Repurposed Art

    Upgrade flea market finds like doors and cabinet lids to fine-art status by showcasing the pieces on the wall.

  • Next Slideshow 20 Flea Market Makeovers

    20 Flea Market Makeovers

    Turn flea market finds and vintage treasures into one-of-a-kind pieces for your home. It's amazing what castoffs and secondhand scores -- such as doilies, plates, furniture, and odds and ends -- can become!
    Begin Slideshow »
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