Creative DIY Flea Market Makeovers
Create spotlight-worthy displays by hanging vintage wire trays lined with favorite pictures. These flower portraits are printed on photo paper; a large white border provides a matlike finish. For a sturdy backing, use spray adhesive to secure photos to a foam core cut to fit each tray. Thread ribbon through the sides of the tray and tie the ends together in a bow for a flirty finish. Complete the picture with metal label holders.
Strike a high note in an entry by accenting a store-bought three-hook coatrack with old records. Arrange colorful vinyl 45s, which you can score for as little as 50 cents secondhand, around the hooks. Glue the records to the rack and to one another with a heavy-duty adhesive.
Whether singletons or in a dilapidated dresser that needs to be disassembled, old drawers can easily be repurposed into storage, as these underbed organizers show.
Put some spring into a tabletop centerpiece. Rusty coils with industrious pasts provide right-size holders for vases, test tubes, and candles when secured with construction adhesive to an old pallet piece.
Odds and Ends
Any good flea market will have its fair share of odds and ends. Go on the hunt for objects that share a common denominator and create a gallery wall. Here, circular shapes unite. White paint highlights the intricate detailing on a cast-iron register grate, while a gilded metal picture frame is backed with pink string, woven spiderweb-style, to support decorative cards. A faded painting -- a $4 flea find -- comes to life thanks to paint-pen-embellished forest features.
Sewing Machine Tables
Employ an out-of-work sewing machine stand as a base for a side table. A glass top, cut to size and adhered to the stand at a glass shop, makes light of this heavy base. Not a fan of glass? Substitute a scrap of marble, salvaged barn board, or butcher block instead.
Light up a room using a giant metal letter from an old sign. This letter S is missing the bulbs that once electrified it, leaving its deep sides free to host magazines and books. Found letters are often big enough to stand on their own, or you can mount them on a wall to draw eyes upward.
Repurpose a Victorian footstool as a stand for highlighting books and flowers. Cream-color paint and a modern ikat fabric refreshed this eBay find. A glass cloche elegantly crowns the book and floral arrangement sitting on top of the stool.
Make a grand statement with minimal fuss by using a staple gun to secure vintage fabric remnants to simple wood frames. Look for fabrics, such as these 1960s and '70s beauties, in coordinating colors and styles to create a big impact from a series of smaller frame-ups.
Fashion a free-form picture frame from vintage doorknobs and rebar wire twisted into curlicue forms. Insert mounting putty into the doorknob openings to keep the wire in place.
Convert a dresser into a buffet with paint and decorative paper. Create open display space by removing the top drawers and covering the cavities with plywood. For a fun twist on a traditional shelf, line the interior of one of the removed drawers with paper and hang it above the buffet. Secure paper to drawers with wallpaper paste.
Pair candleholders with china plates to create a three-tier stand for serving nibbles. Mounting putty holds these mismatched flea-found plates to two white hobnail candleholders, making it easy to disassemble, clean, and reuse the pieces as desired.
Call on paint and pearls to add a touch of glamour to the humble framework of a secondhand lampshade. Blue spray paint directs attention to the shapely curves of this wire beauty, while a casually draped Peter Pan collar and strand of pearls speak softly of romance. An Edison bulb suspended from a pendant light kit delivers style points given the shade's see-through silhouette.
Mirrors and Frames
Round out a mantel with a gathering of secondhand mirrors and frames. Golden paint freed the largest mirror in this group -- a $60 flea market find -- from a dark finish, bringing out the piece’s architectural charm. Tuck black-and-white photos into the edges of mirror frames for a casual look.
Even when you don’t know the backstory, you can write a new tale for a flea find by turning unusual items into practical decor. Perhaps used in a factory or farm setting, this metal mesh tray pairs with clip magnets from an office supply store to form a chic bulletin board that easily segues into a modern-day home. The lip of the tray acts as a small shelf.
Mimic the intricacy of fine embroidery by embellishing a plain pillow sham with vintage brooches. Look for brooches in lots at flea markets and online stores. Buying in bulk is a great way to score the sparkly gems at a good price.