Ugly Art ReFab

Do you have any ugly art hanging around that’s as hideous as this?

Ugly Artwork

Several years ago I was doing home staging, so I had a stockpile of contemporary non-taste specific art. I found a pair of these at TJ Maxx on clearance pretty cheap, so I added them to my inventory.

Price sticker for ugly artwork

They came in handy in a few of the houses I staged, even though I didn’t personally love – or even like – them.

Fun Fact:

Staging is the polar opposite of decorating. When you’re decorating your home, you are putting tons of your own personality into the space (hopefully). When you’re staging to sell, the goal is to take all that personality out so a potential home buyer can picture themselves living there.  Nondescript artwork like this works perfectly. 

When I closed the business I sold most of my props and decor on Craigslist and in a series of garage sales, but I hung onto these pictures because I thought the frames were really nice. A few years ago when I went from deep dark colors in my house to light and airy neutrals I had to redo the gallery wall that runs up my stairway, and I popped them into the mix with scrap booking paper slapped on to cover the ugly art.

Scrapbook paper artwork

Literally, just Scotch taped in there…kind of embarrassing, especially since I left them up like that for a couple of years.

I decided last week that it was time to do something a little more permanent and I really liked the way my stock photo artwork for my bedroom came out (find the details HERE), so I thought I would do something similar in these frames.

ModPodge Stock Photo Artwork Tutorial

I found a couple photos of hydrangeas that I liked on a free stock photo site, I think they both came from Pixabay. I cropped and sized them for the openings in my frames.

They were both originally color photos and I used the Sepia filter in PicMonkey (affilink) before I sent them off to my printer

Looking for free stock images? Check out this awesome list from of sites where you can find terrific free images to use as you like. If you’re a blogger, you should be following Erika anyway – her site is a killer resource. . 

I used ModPodge and a foam brush to affix the flowers right over the old artwork.

ModPodge and foam brush

I discovered that it works a little better to brush the ModPodge onto the old artwork rather than the paper. Also, you should be generous with the ModPodge, as this will reduce the wrinkling – my second picture looks much better than the first one. 🙂

Once the new artwork is in place, spread another layer of ModPodge over the top and smooth it out, being careful not to tear the paper. I put plastic gloves on and just did it with my hands.

Voila! New artwork that I like MUCH better for just a few bucks.

I see super-ugly artw in thrift stores all the time that would be great candidates for this kind of project. Next time you’re out, look past the “Dogs Playing Poker”, “Hideous 1980’s Flowers” and the “Live Laugh Love” plaques and check out the FRAMES.

I’m linking this project up at some terrific blog parties – you can find my complete list of places I party HERE. 

Julie Briggs signature



About Julie

Julie is a serial entrepreneur, marketer, former newspaper columnist, black belt bargain hunter, voracious reader, gardener, music lover, foodie, wino, avid party thrower, hopeless romantic, closet Parrot Head and DIY machine.

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  • Lorraine Williamson

    I love this idea and I use picmonkey on my photos all the time to change them up have a great day

  • is an AWESOME resource for bloggers – I’m glad you’re finding the site as helpful as I do.

  • Stacey Keeling

    Smart idea! I’ve used pretty wrapping paper several times but have never Mod Podged anything. Is that a word? 🙂

    I hope you’ll join us for Thoughts of Home on Thursday at Poofing the Pillows.

    • Thanks for stopping by Stacey! I’ll check out the party.

    • Stacey Keeling

      Listening to your music from the headboard post while I go through posts this morning. Happy TOHOT! Thank you for joining us.

      • That’s one of my favorite playlists – Michael Franti’s music always gets me motivated. 🙂

  • AnnMarie Irace

    Love the Hydrangeas in sepia tone….so pretty! This is a great idea. I have found some great frames at the thrift store with ugly art in them. I actually have one hanging empty, it is so pretty.

    • I love it when I find great frames – I try not to pass them up when I can help it.

  • Julie, I love using old framed art for new projects! I have never printed out stock photos before – what a fabulous idea! You sure found some beautiful ones. Thanks so much for linking up with us for Brag About It!

  • Much much nicer! I can’t believe the stuff they put in frames and try to pass as art! I alwasy like personal art so much more, something that has meaning for us. Yours is beautiful!

  • Julie this is is such a clever and creative makeover! Your post is such a happy addition to Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Thank you SO much for sharing the joy.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Robin

    That makes all of the difference, it’s looks so much nicer. Thank you for sharing it on the Creative Muster. We loved it so much that we’re pinning it to our Creative Muster Favorites board. I hope that’ll we’ll be seeing more of your great ideas.

  • I always look for the frames, but I usually just throw away the artwork inside and start over. This is a great tip, thanks for sharing at the Wednesday Showcase party!

  • Clever makeover of frames Julie – thank you for sharing with PIn Worthy Wednesday

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  • Jann Olson

    Very beautiful! Thanks for sharing your creative idea with SYC.