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The Basically Free TikTok Hack That Can Turn Thrifted Artwork from So-So to Stunning

published Jan 14, 2023
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Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: If you want to create a beautiful gallery wall on the cheap, thrift stores are your best friend. That’s where you can pick up vintage mirrors, cool frame-worthy retro postcards, charming clocks, and, of course, artwork. You might get lucky and find a piece that’s perfect for your home in every way — you love the design, you love the colors, you love the frame… you love it all! But more often than not, you’ll find a piece that’s almost perfect. Don’t leave that almost perfect piece behind!

For one, thrifted art is a great source for cool frames. Buy the whole thing, then keep the frame and re-donate the art, and you’ll have the perfect way to highlight a piece that you do love. And if you love everything but the color palette of your artwork, here’s a super smart DIY fix for that, too, from TikToker Gianna of @indie.boho.nest.

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Gianna thought her thrifted artwork was just a little too saturated to fit into her bedroom, which is decorated with more muted tones. Rather than replacing it, she used an easy trick that she pulled off for free: She whitewashed it using a little leftover white paint mixed with water.

Watering the white paint down gives it a thinner consistency, so you can give your art a muted glaze (rather than just a white painted coverup). Aim for the consistency of milk. Make sure to patch test a small area before proceeding; Gianna notes that her painting’s colors started to bleed a little bit midway through the process, which worked for her art but might not for yours.

The hack is brilliant: It allows you to transform the look and overall vibe of a piece in under an hour, and you likely already have the materials you need at home. If you’re on the verge of throwing something away because you’re just not feeling the colors anymore, this is a great trick to try — you won’t be out any money, and you might save a piece you never thought you could love.

Looking for more art tips? Check out these ideas for creating a gallery wall on a budget.