The Simplest Way to Make Thrift Store Art Look Cool
Just add paint.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:00 AM
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One-of-a-kind artwork is notoriously expensive. So you end up grabbing the least offensive landscape at the flea market and calling it a day until your savings account looks less sad. Then comes the real ordeal: figuring out how to display your new art without it looking tacky or dated. Your best bet might be to cover it up—with a few layers of paint, that is. And only halfway! Dip-dyed paintings are trending, and they couldn’t be any easier to replicate at home.
This style was originated by artist Oliver Jeffers with his Dipped Painting Project in 2014. Over the course of the project, he dunked 16 different portraits in a rainbow of enamel paints, permanently covering up half (or more) of each piece. Since then, the look has been riffed on again and again. Dip-dyed paintings can be found in Madrid’s Barceló Torre hotel, in interior designer Cara Woodhouse’s work, and even in a stylish Edinburgh bed-and-breakfast. The appeal is one of old-meets-new: traditional portraits, often in ornate frames, getting a much-needed refresh thanks to simple color-blocking.
It’s as easy as it looks. All you need is an old-school painting you don’t mind messing with, preferably in a gold frame for the biggest contrast. Apply painter’s tape in a straight line across both. Then just paint! You might have to apply a couple coats to get the opacity you want—just remember to allow each layer to fully dry before adding a new one. When you’re done, gently remove the painter’s tape and…voilà! You have a totally unique statement piece for your wall that probably cost you less than dinner out with friends.
Easy, right? Now go ahead and hit the thrift store with pride.
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