This is the Idea Center

We, here at Community Threads, love the idea of recycling, reusing, refinishing, repurposing, and just not throwing stuff away.  Sometimes what looks like a beat up old media cabinet, or outdated piece of art, just needs a little love to become something new and unique.  We want to help inspire you in a way that will not only save quality goods from the dump, but allow you to turn a $15 coffee table into a priceless addition to your home that reflects who you are. We also want you to be able to turn $20 into an entire wardrobe that screams style. So we welcome you to browse this blog, investigate its links, and come away with a fresh perspective on how to turn your house, apartment, condo, hut, shack, or wherever you live, into a home that is authentically you.

Posted on September 13, 2014 .

Easy Way to Customize Your Dinnerware

Love the cheap dishes that you can get a thrift store, but can't quite find that right design?  HGTV has a great, EASY, project that will help you create your own custom dinnerware.

How to Make Hand-Painted Plates

Give inexpensive white dinner plates a high-end, custom look with a stenciled design and ceramic paint. Not only is this project great for the holidays, but also for weddings, anniversaries and birthdays.

Materials Needed:

  • white ovenproof plates
  • food and dishwasher safe ceramic paint (or ceramic paint pen)
  • masking tape (optional)
  • stencil
  • pencil
  • 1.0 liner artist brush
  • oven

Trace Stencil

Wash and dry plates. Position stencil in desired location on plate and hold firmly or tape into place. Lightly trace design with a pencil (Images 1 and 2).

Paint Design

Using a 1.0 liner brush, fill in design with ceramic paint. Ceramic paint pens are available for those less steady with a brush. If a mistake is made, it can be washed off to start over. Once completed, allow paint to dry for 24 hours before proceeding to next step.

Bake Plates

Follow manufacturer's instructions to bake plates and cure paint. Allow plates to cool. Tip: Design options are limitless. Paint a simple gold rim for a classic look, or monogram plates for a personalized hostess gift.

Posted on September 13, 2014 .

Repurposing Thrift Store Fashion

Here is a great collection of ideas but together by the ebay deals blog.  Check it out!

10 Fabulous Ideas for Repurposing Thrift Store Fashion

Shopping at thrift stores and buying pre-owned isn’t just about being frugal; it’s about being fashionable too! We posted a comprehensive guide to finding thrift store fashion, so we figured it was time to offer up some tips on how to look your best by repurposing thrift store finds.

You could wear what you find as is, like the fabulous and fashionable blogger Lindsay Turner does at Thrift & Shout—we featured her before. But you could take your look to the next level and make your thrift shop scores into your own custom creations with a little creativity and know-how! The following are 10 fabulous ideas for repurposing thrift store fashion that could inspire you to turn frumpy frocks into fantastic fashions.

Easy Peasy

Are you a complete novice or sloppy when it comes to sewing? If so, these first few ideas for repurposing thrift store style are right up your alley.

1. Tie-Dye

Not repurposing exactly, but this is good for absolute beginners. You can tie-dye t-shirts, tote bags, shoes, dresses, and just about anything else white, off-white, cream, or light grey that you get from the thrift store. Easy to do, follow the directions in this t-shirt tie-dying tutorial from Spoonful to turn anything into a colorful tie-dyed masterpiece.

2. T-Shirt Necklace

If you spend any time on the web looking at craft blogs, old t-shirts are being turned into dresses and halter tops with varying degrees of success. Instead of turning an old thrift store t-shirt into a different piece of clothing, you could transform it into a necklace, Martha Stewart style. The instructions are on Whole Living.

 3. No Sew Cardigan

The step-by-step instructions at Easily Dunn are incredibly easy to follow for this simple and stylish project. Grab a cute top from the thrift store that may be a little too small and give it a go! The instructions do recommend sewing a button on, but if you are totally sew-phobic, you could skip that step and simply have a cute shrug.

4. Sweater Sleeve Boot Socks

Technically these are legwarmers, but unless you take your boots off, no one has to know! There is a great DIY tutorial at Infarrantly Creative that shows you how to upcycle pre-owned sweaters into boot socks. All that is involved is a bit of cutting and some simple stitching to add a flashy, fun cuff.

5. Lacy Tank Top

Take a thrift store t-shirt in fab condition and turn it into a very fashionable lacy tank top with a little bit of work. This one requires some sewing, but Mackenzie at We Heart This posts a tank top tutorial that makes this seem like something just about anyone can do with the right materials and a sewing machine. You could also use a lightweight blouse from the thrift store instead of lace for the side panels.

Sew Advanced

Are you savvy seamstress or an accomplished tailor? If you are confident at the sewing machine, these ideas for repurposing thrift store clothing could be perfect for you.

6. Ruffle Necktie Tee

A two-for when it comes to repurposing thrift store fashion, a thrifted tie and a v-neck shirt can come together to make something unique, hip, and super stylish. This idea from McKell’s Closet has a step-by-step guide that’s too tough for me to follow, but it might be a breeze for someone a bit more experienced.

7. Bathing Suit Bra

If you have sewn before, you can turn a thrifted bra into a beautiful bathing suit top or one of those tiny tops celebs like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus have been rocking. Tasha Delrae’s instructions are thorough enough that even a less experienced seamstress could pull this one off.

8. Summer Sweater Dress

The projects found at Refashionista are absolutely amazing transformations! Jillian, who blogs there, is very talented and creative, and while I envy her outfits, my sewing skills need a lot of work before I could pull some of these projects off. If you know your way around a sewing machine, you may be inspired by seeing the step-by-step guide on how she turned a long, unflattering dress into a cute, fun frock.

9. Hip House Dress

I think my favorite blog for seeing brilliant ideas for repurposing thrift store clothing is New Dress a Day, a blog by Marisa Lynch that was spurred by a dedication to fashion and frugality. Her projects have varying degrees of difficulty, but this house dress turned into a fun and flirty casual outfit is particularly inspiring, and it seems like something anyone who knows how to sew can do if they study the steps.

10. 9-Shirt Maxi Dress

Holy moly! This project is amazing. If you fall in love with the prints on some super cheap thrift store shirts that just won’t fit, you may want to bring them home anyway and turn them into this amazing dress. Definitely not something for an amateur, someone experienced may want to take a go at this interesting and ambitious project tutorial by Katja at of Dreams and Seams.













Posted on September 13, 2014 .

Furniture Ideas

We get so many great furniture pieces in the store, some of which are dying for a second life.  You can really decorate on a budget (especially if you pick up a piece from our clearance section!!!) by sprucing up some previously loved furniture.  Here are some great ideas on how to do just that.  


10 Thrift Store Furniture Makeovers

I'm not the best decorator, designer, or photographer, my socks have probably only matched twice in my life, and my cats are rather plump. I'm far from perfect, but one area I'm getting pretty good at is paint. Jesse has definitely witnessed several 'I JUST RUINED IT!!!!' mini-breakdowns after one of my furniture makeovers has gone awry, but my goal has always been progress over perfection.

After painting probably 20 pieces of furniture in the past few years, I've definitely made some progress in my painting skills. So, today, I thought I would roundup 10 of my favorite painted furniture makeovers, and then afterwards answer some of the FAQ's I get about painting furniture. 

Let's get started with my 10 favorite furniture makeovers, going in chronological order. I'll share some failures, some successes, and what I've ultimately learned along the way. 

#1.  The Flip-Down Desk Makeover

This was the absolute first piece of furniture I ever painted. 

I did an awful job. 

I didn't prime or sand it, and it's basically a giant piece of string cheese now. I'm showing you this for two reasons. One, because I'm about to strip this piece and redo it, and now you can say you knew it back when. Two, because it's a great reminder. A great reminder that if you make a mistake, even on your grandmother's fine antique furniture, you will live to tell the tale. It's not the end of the world. 

Leave it alone for a bit (bit = three years) and circle back around. 

*That being said, I would suggest avoiding the heirlooms until you know what you're doing. Do as I say, not as I do. :)

#2.  Gold Stenciled Vanity Desk
This little vanity table was one of my first furniture makeovers as well. I painted it and stenciled a gold lattice stencil on top. I've since sold it on Craigslist (tips here), but it still holds a special place in my heart. For being one of the first makeovers, I totally think this one came out pretty cool.
High five, little guy. So sorry I sold you.

To see the stenciled vanity before pics go here.

#3. Office Desk Makeover

Oh, the desk. I'm sitting at this desk right now as I write. I love this desk. It's one of my favorites. I love it because it turned out amazing, but only after a lot of heartache. There is some definite truth behind the saying that you learn more from your failures than from success. I painted this table twice, and scraped the paint off twice. Then I cried twice. Then, I finally figured out the most durable solution, which was using an oil based paint and primer. I'll elaborate more on oil based vs. water based at the end of this post.

To see the before pics of the desk, go here.

#4. The Dresser Makeover That Launched It All.
This was the first dresser I ever owned as an 'adult', and I eventually decided to paint it, even after the debacle with the heirloom. As fate would have it, it turned out so great that it sent me into a tailspin of painting everything in sight and eventually starting a blog about my adventures. 
You can see where this dresser recently ended up AND help me with some future flooring decisions here. Seriously, help.

#5.  The French Provincial Dresser Makeover
This is the filet mignon of in, it's my favorite. Also, it was originally $50, so it's just biding its time before I trade it in for a steak. Kidding. I would NEVER.
If you've never seen the before picture go here

#6. Chalkboard File Cabinet Makeover
This little file cabinet was my first ever roadkill transformation, and I'm hoping it won't be my last. I will never be too proud to drag someone else's trash across the street. Even if it's my own neighbor's, and I totally get stuck in the middle of the street because I overestimate my strength. 
Because that happened. Here

#7. Piano bench turned STRIPE.

I'm not including any chairs since I've already listed my top 10 chair makeovers here, but this bench is just begging to make the cut, especially after holding his own in the closet makeover. And I can't argue with that. 

So an exception we shall make.

Full tutorial here.

#8. The Blue Dresser Makeover
I mostly took a break from painting furniture to paint our trim and our cabinetry throughout the house, and when I came back to it, I had really learned so much. My painting skills really started to improve by the time this makeover came around. I started out with an old dresser given to us by a friend. It was in great shape, but needed some updating.

I used my favorite color of aqua blue paint and some fancy new hardware to completely transform this dresser into something that looks amazing in our master bedroom.

See the full tutorial, hardware source, and paint colors here.

#9. The Herringbone Dresser Makeover
This is one of my most recent makeovers. For this makeover, I decided to do something a little different and throw some pattern into the mix. Here's the before picture of Kevin*.
*(who will be forever called that after this post).

And here he is after some fresh new blue paint and gold spray painted hardware.

You can also see Kevin in his early days back when I first painted and stenciled him and made him be our TV console for 2 years. He's since been relieved of his duties.
*Update: Kevin lives on in this post even though we tried desperately to go our separate ways.

#10. The Silver Leaf Vanity Table Makeover
This is my most recent furniture makeover, and although it was difficult, I think it might be my all time favorite. I started out with a $15 thrift store desk that had definitely seen better days...

And after a grueling session with 50 sheets of silver leaf, I ended up with a lovely place to sit and get ready each day. I also learned something cool about plexiglass during this makeover, so I give it an overall thumbs up. It wasn't easy, but I still learned so much.
 Plus, I still find silver leaf floating around my house sometimes...
 so accidental disco = awesome. Or something.

See the entire silver leaf adventure here.

And those are my 10 favorite furniture makeovers so far. I'm sure there will be many more to come. For instance, this one. 

Now, let's answer some of the frequently asked questions that I get after posting my furniture makeovers. Hopefully this will answer some of your questions, too.

#1. Do I use an oil-based paint or a latex-based paint? 

The answer is that you can use either one. Their are pros and cons of both. Latex dries faster and is easier to clean up, but it's not as durable as an oil-based paint. For something like my desk, I chose an oil based primer and oil based paint because it gives you a really hard, durable glossy finish. 

#2. What paint do you usually use? 

With the exception of my desk and a couple of other small projects, I usually opt for latex. It is durable enough for what I need, it can be cleaned up with water, and it isn't smelly like an oil-based paint. That stuff lingers. Emphasis on the lingers. For most of my furniture, I've simply used a flat interior paint in the color of my choice, usually Behr or Valspar. Then, I use a topcoat of my choice.

#3. Do I use wax or polycrylic or polyurethane as a topcoat?

I always prime first, then I usually paint with flat paint, then seal with a wax or polycrylic. Wax is less durable but gives it a softer/matte look. Polycrylic is more durable and can be bought in satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finish. I only use Polyurethane on furniture I've painted a dark color. It's super durable, but it yellows overtime, so it's not ideal for light colored furniture. My preferred method is polycrylic.

#4. How do I get the smell out of old furniture?

Wiping the insides of drawers out with vinegar can help remove any old smells. If that doesn't help, wipe down the drawers and then paint them. I did that on this dresser, and it smells and looks brand new.

#5. How do I repair small dents or scratches on furniture?

I use wood filler (affiliate link) on any dents or scratches. Just smooth a small amount over the dent, let dry, then sand until the excess is removed. Once painted, you won't see any of the imperfections. I do this to almost every piece I paint. 

#6. How do I get rid of brushstrokes?

I usually use a high quality brush followed by a small foam roller (as mentioned in this tutorial), but I've recently discovered a great new tip that I am loving! When using latex paint, you can use a product calledFloetrol (affiliate link). You add a few tablespoons to your paint and it's basically like a conditioner for your paint that leaves barely any brushstrokes behind. It's kinda awesome, and I can already tell that I'll be using it a lot going forward. More on that later.

#7. How do I change the hardware out for a different size?

If you want to swap a knob for a pull, or vice versa, remove with a screwdriver, and just fill in the current holes with wood filler and drill new ones wherever you want your new hardware to go. Once painted, you'll never know the old holes were there. 

#8. Do I have to sand my furniture before painting?

Easy answer. Nope. Sanding a piece first will always give you better adhesion, but these days I usually just prime it using a primer likeZinsser (affiliate link). It holds up really well.

#9. Can you just spray paint a piece of furniture?

 Sure. Spray paint is predominately oil-based, so it clings really well to just about anything. The only con is that it's super smelly and difficult to clean up, so you'll want to do it outdoors in a well-ventilated area. I often have a really hard time getting spray paint to look even on table tops or large flat surfaces, so I usually only spray paint smaller pieces of furniture like chairs or end tables. Plus, it takes a lot of cans of spray paint to cover a large item. All of the above reasons usually mean I end up using a pint of latex paint on my larger pieces. :)

#10. What about using a paint sprayer?

I've never used one before, so I can't give you any advice on that one. However, I can promise you that a paint sprayer is at the top of my list of 'things I want asap', so I promise to share my findings with you once I finally get my hands on one. For those of you seasoned painters who have them, any suggestions? I'm listening! :)

And that, sweet friends, is all for today! 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

For related posts, please check out the following:

 10 Thrift Store Shopping Secrets

LiveLoveDIY Hi! I'm Virginia! I'm a newlywed & new homeowner who loves decorating and DIY projects. Making something new out of something old is what inspires me! I'm constantly looking for affordable ways to transform every room in our house, and am always on the lookout for new ideas! This is my place to share my inspirations and leave a trail of all my D-I-Y shenanigans! Oh, and maybe talk a little bit about my love for very fat cats. 
View my complete profile

Posted on September 13, 2014 .

What to Look For

Here is a great link that can help you see the potential in many thrift store finds! Take a look at what you can do with everything from Dishes to artwork to rocking chairs and beyond. There is a great potential hidden in these simple items.  Come in to Community Threads and see what you can unlock!

10 Common Thrift Store Finds That Work Great for DIY Projects

We often hear people complain that they're no good at thrift store shopping—they have an aversion to dirt, no patience, or just bad luck. The truth is that anyone can be a good thrifter if they keep an open mind. It's as simple as recognizing when an object needs a good cleaning, a coat of paint, or even just a new context. Need more direction than that? Here's a list of a few common items to keep an eye out for — an ultimate DIY shopping list to carry with you next time you thrift!

  1. Dishes: You can find mismatched dishes in a range of colors and patterns at any thrift shop. Use them to build a collection, hang a wall of plates, or make them into mirrors.
  2. Artwork: If you're thinking of hanging a wall of clustered artwork, thrift shops are a great place to build a cheap, out-of-the-ordinary collection. Or add some subtle changes to a cheap piece of art to really make it yours: 5 Ways to Update Thrift Store Art.
  3. Shelves and Secretaries: Storage pieces are always useful around the house. Clean up shelves with paint or wallpaper. Although old-fashioned, secretaries are really useful pieces that can easily transform into a home office, bar, or linen closet.
  4. Sweaters and Blankets: Have these dry-cleaned, and then use them to add some coziness to your home by reupholstering a chair seat or covering a footstool.
  5. Trunks, Suitcases, and File Cabinets: Industrial trunks and storage pieces or vintage suitcases are easy to find at flea markets and thrift shops. Clean them up and use them as occasional tables.
  6. Dining Chairs: Whether you're looking for a whole set or a single side chair, dining chairs are always waiting to be scooped up at second-hand shops. If your chair needs a little love, try painting it, reupholstering a seat, or staining it.
  7. Dining Tables: Simple thrift store tables can be used for kitchens, dining rooms, or repurposed as a desk. If the table is scuffed or needs some DIY love, try restyling it with paint, fabric, or even just a tablecloth.
  8. Lamps: Sometimes all a lamp needs is a new shade and a good cleaning to make it brand new. If you find a broken lamp at a thrift store, you can always try rewiring it.
  9. Rocking Chairs: We can't tell you how many Thonet rocking chairs we've found at thrift shops around the $30 mark, usually in excellent condition. Rockers are great for a child's room, a porch, or even a corner that needs a big piece. If your chair is a little dull, try painting it.
  10. Fabric: If you've got basic sewing skills, thrift stores are the perfect place to look for fabric scraps to use for pillows, napkins, tablecloths, curtains, and any other project that could use a stash of mismatched prints. Just make sure to wash your fabrics before using them.

Need more tips? We've got them: Five Tips for Successful Thrift Store Shopping