Going thrift shopping is always an adventure. You never know what you might find while digging through a bargain bin of shoes or a barrel full of backpacks and belts. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a piece of artwork that’s worth displaying in your home. And even if you don’t think any of the pieces are up to par yet, you might be able to give a painting new life by adding your own flair to it.

In fact, there is a whole community of people who are skilled at finding old pieces of artwork and giving them upgrades. Let me introduce you to the Repaintings subreddit. This group is dedicated to “repainting and transforming thrift store paintings”, and as you'll soon see, some of the members are incredibly talented. We’ve gathered a list of some of our favorite repaintings that have been shared in the group down below, so you can see what all of these creative individuals are capable of doing with simple second hand finds. Be sure to upvote the paintings that inspire you the most, and then if you’re interested in checking out even more, we’ve got another Bored Panda piece on the same subreddit for you to view next right here.

#1

Clever Girls

Clever Girls

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NerdyMom
Community Member
2 months ago

I'd put this up in my livingroom!

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I have always been amazed by painters. As someone who would struggle to draw a convincing still life of a bowl of fruit, I am blown away by the creativity and artistic vision some people naturally have. And apparently, it’s not just a small handful of people who have an eye for putting their own flair on a piece of art, because the Repaintings subreddit has nearly 540k members at the moment. The group’s description is straightforward: “Find a painting at a garage sale, thrift store, or in the trash and repaint it. Add some monsters! Add a UFO! Some lazers? Don't mind if I do! Post the results. Before and After pics appreciated. No digital works allowed, only traditionally repainted works with real physical paint.”

But those simple guidelines are enough to inspire countless pieces of art. Many of the paintings end up getting a comedic twist by having dinosaurs or monsters added to them, but even those additions require great artistic skill. The requirement to use “real physical paint” keeps the pieces authentic and demonstrates that each of these artists really know what they’re doing.

#2

Lotr Added To A Thrifted Painting

Lotr Added To A Thrifted Painting

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Kersten McGeary
Community Member
2 months ago

Gorgeous!

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#3

Proud Of This One!

Proud Of This One!

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Maia Wecker
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

This is really impressive! Doing fog in an awkward shape is hard! At least for me…

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Part of the fun of repaintings is hearing where all of the artwork comes from. Maybe it was sitting on a shelf at Goodwill for 6 months before someone came along and rescued it. Perhaps it was found on the curb outside of someone’s home doomed to a life at the landfill. Or maybe it came from your grandmother’s attic. There are infinite places artists can search for paintings to provide make-overs to including Facebook Marketplace, garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, and of course, local thrift stores.

The hunt is half of the experience because artists never know what they’re going to make next until inspiration strikes. Popular additions to paintings seem to be rollercoasters, monsters, UFOs, cartoon characters and skeletons, but the options are endless. Even text can be added to turn a painting into more of a meme or a statement. A simple depiction of a child can become much edgier if the kid is given the eyes of a demon, or a painting of a lake can become more adorable with a hot air balloon addition. An artist can turn the meaning of any piece on its head just by adding a few brush strokes.

#4

Cat Bombing, My Latest Thing. Didn't Remember To Take A Before Picture But Think It's Pretty Obvious What I Added

Cat Bombing, My Latest Thing. Didn't Remember To Take A Before Picture But Think It's Pretty Obvious What I Added

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glowworm2
Community Member
2 months ago

🤣 This is perfect! I love the cat’s crossed eyes!

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#5

Finally Started Finishing My Bob Ross

Finally Started Finishing My Bob Ross

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Falicity Humdinger
Community Member
2 months ago

Wholesome!

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#6

Holy Grail Added To A Thrift Store Painting

Holy Grail Added To A Thrift Store Painting

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Hill Branda
Community Member
2 months ago

I can almost hear the coconuts...

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There are plenty of ways artists can upgrade a piece of thrift store art. From adding some paint to replacing the frame, it might be easier than you think to turn a simple piece into something you are proud to display on the wall. Valerie Ott at The Spruce even wrote a piece detailing all of her favorite “Ways to Update Your Wall Art”, so in combination with all of these paintings from Repaintings, Valerie’s tips might give you the added boost of inspiration you need to head over to your local thrift store and pick something out you want to put your own spin on. 

One of her recommendations is the “paint by number art hack”. This is a great tip for people who might not be as confident in their artistic abilities. Valerie explains that, “By painting over an old-fashioned still-life, a trendy paint-by-number effect takes shape. This technique allows you to customize the colors in a piece of art to suit your taste, and it gives a more modern look to the painting overall. Best of all, you don't need any artistic ability to pull this off.”

#7

Godzilla Re-Charcoaling On Etch

Godzilla Re-Charcoaling On Etch

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Some Dude
Community Member
2 months ago

Anyone else want that one

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#8

This Sat At The Thrift Store For A While Before I Liberated It To Add Some Life And Death. It Is My First Repainting

This Sat At The Thrift Store For A While Before I Liberated It To Add Some Life And Death. It Is My First Repainting

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Kami
Community Member
2 months ago

I was trying to explain Duck Hunt to my teenager the other day. She gets it but doesn't get it. Great job on the repaint!

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#9

Pig Bomb

Pig Bomb

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glowworm2
Community Member
2 months ago

This is the same person who added in the photobombed cat. I Iove this cute piggy!

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Another idea Valerie gives readers is to add some sparkles to a boring piece of art. Glitter always makes everything better, right? Valerie explains that this idea is similar to the “paint by number” hack, but “it gets a little more bling thanks to metallic gold paint”. “You could also add gold leaf to give a glamorous touch to an old landscape or even a black and white photograph. And remember it doesn't have to be gold paint—look at the tones in the art you're working with and consider silver, bronze, or even a metallic-infused shade of blue or pink, which will be even more unexpected in its appeal.” This is an easy trick to try because it maintains the integrity of the original piece but still gives it new life. Plus, sparkles just make everything more fun.

#10

The Pumpkin Magician

The Pumpkin Magician

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glowworm2
Community Member
2 months ago

That is so cool!

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#11

Finished My Painting Of Krampus

Finished My Painting Of Krampus

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Falicity Humdinger
Community Member
2 months ago

Krampus! Love it!

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#12

Pizzagate (Done By My Friend, Hanging In My Kitchen)

Pizzagate (Done By My Friend, Hanging In My Kitchen)

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Marcie Silver
Community Member
2 months ago

Your friend did it while hanging in your kitchen, or your friend is currently hanging in your kitchen? Seriously, though, I LOVE it! You can never go wrong with pizza

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Another creative idea Valerie suggests is the “thrift store silhouette hack”. Essentially, this includes leaving a silhouette shape, or any shape you desire really, of the original painting and covering the rest in one color. It could be a black outline and a silhouette of a tree in the middle or a gold outline with a leaf-shaped image from the original piece displayed, for example. By allowing some of the original artwork to peek through a new shape, you are putting your own artistic spin on a piece while still having fun with it. Perhaps you could even turn the painting into the shape of a UFO or alien as well, if you want to take a more alternative approach.

#13

Le Chat Eiffel. Need To Stop Painting Cats

Le Chat Eiffel. Need To Stop Painting Cats

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glowworm2
Community Member
2 months ago

I love this woman’s photobombing cat paintings!

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#14

I Met A Really Talented Artist That You Might All Like, His Name Is Blase And He’s Got Quite A Great Universe!

I Met A Really Talented Artist That You Might All Like, His Name Is Blase And He’s Got Quite A Great Universe!

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Miss Melanie
Community Member
2 months ago

Let’s do the Time Warp agaiiiin👠

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#15

My Husband Found A Thrifted Landscape That Matched His Computer Background. It Just Needed An At-At

My Husband Found A Thrifted Landscape That Matched His Computer Background. It Just Needed An At-At

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Shyla Clay
Community Member
2 months ago

What doesn't need an At-At?

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One of Valerie’s other suggestions is very similar to what many of the members of Repaintings have done: “completely re-imagining the Bob Ross-like scene of a thrift store or garage sale painting by adding in whimsical elements of your own”. A scenic painting of a lake or a forest is a great canvas for you to add in unexpected elements. The painting can receive a comedic twist by plopping one of your favorite cartoon characters into the mix or a spookier take by adding ghosts and monsters chilling by the lake. Anything that is out of place can be a refreshing twist on a beautiful painting that just needs a new lease on life.  

#16

War Of The Worlds Repaint

War Of The Worlds Repaint

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Kersten McGeary
Community Member
2 months ago

I lobe how you made them running!

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#17

Obligatory UFO

Obligatory UFO

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Miss Melanie
Community Member
2 months ago

Nessie & UFO? Love!

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#18

I Know Painting Furniture Is Un Popular In This Sub, But What About Painting On Thrifted Hand Bags? Saw This Purse At Gw And Just Felt It Needed Some Dugtrio!

I Know Painting Furniture Is Un Popular In This Sub, But What About Painting On Thrifted Hand Bags? Saw This Purse At Gw And Just Felt It Needed Some Dugtrio!

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Sasy
Community Member
2 months ago

That is a fantastic idea :) sometimes the style is fantastic but the fabric is meh, you did a great job

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Something else that can upgrade a painting is adding a bit of texture to it. This type of artwork might not be as common in the Repaintings subreddit, but artists can add anything to a canvas nowadays. Fabric, limbs from old dolls, cutlery, feathers, marbles, you name it. If it’s an inanimate object, you can stick it to a canvas. Even elements of the original painting can be given 3-d upgrades like covering plants with plastic versions and buildings with materials that have the same texture. A boring old painting can be transformed into an interactive piece of art that viewers are encouraged to touch or play with. It’s a step further than painting, but it’s just another idea for re-imagining an old piece.   

#19

A "Deathly Hallows" Repaint Attempt (Including Some Creative Liberty With The Flying Snitch) On A Thrift Store Sunset

A "Deathly Hallows" Repaint Attempt (Including Some Creative Liberty With The Flying Snitch) On A Thrift Store Sunset

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Agent 8433599
Community Member
2 months ago

Where can I buy this?? 😍🤩

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#20

My First Repainting!

My First Repainting!

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Don't you wish you knew
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

The longer I look the cuter this one gets. 🙂

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#21

Courage In Eggplant Suit

Courage In Eggplant Suit

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Mama Penguin
Community Member
2 months ago

Stupid dog!

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While flipping thrift store artwork can be a relaxing hobby just for fun, it can also turn into a way to earn some extra cash. In fact, that’s exactly what artist Dave Pollot does. Dave is a New York based artist famous for his updated thrift store paintings. According to his website, “He finds unwanted artwork and adds his own touch – most often pop culture parodies – and in doing so, bridges the divide between classic and pop art.”

Dave’s artwork has become massively successful, being sold in every state in the US and over 40 countries worldwide. He has even been recognized by many media outlets including Business Insider, Instagram, and the SyFy Channel, and has sold artwork to SONY, Instagram, McDonalds and other large companies.

#22

The Children - Before And After

The Children - Before And After

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Kakofonyx
Community Member
2 months ago

Ruined a fine painting, you did. Forgiven, you are.

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#23

Mr. Pickle's Sphere Of Calamity

Mr. Pickle's Sphere Of Calamity

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Kyle Drury
Community Member
2 months ago

That looks like a Bob Ross

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#24

Tossing My Hat In The Ring After Seeing All These Cool Peeping Cat Posts!

Tossing My Hat In The Ring After Seeing All These Cool Peeping Cat Posts!

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glowworm2
Community Member
2 months ago

That cat is ridiculously cute!

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On his website, Dave writes, “Painting has always been something of a hobby to me, but it wasn’t until I started repurposing thrift art in 2012 that I did it with any real consistency.  The idea actually began as a joke between my wife (who loves to shop at thrift stores) and I, but it quickly evolved into an attempt to answer a question:  Could I take a piece of unwanted art, and without changing its aesthetic, change its meaning by painting into it some bit of pop culture/nostalgia and make it desirable in the modern world?  Since that time, I’ve also started to explore a number of more personal themes in my work.  For example, using popular food items inserted into still life paintings to represent the distractions (both mental and material) that prevent us from being present and focused on where we are and what we’re doing.”

#25

Dirty Dan And The Rustlers Of Hurtville

Dirty Dan And The Rustlers Of Hurtville

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Guile main
Community Member
2 months ago

HOW CAN I BUY THIS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

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#26

More From That Glorious Book “Transformations “

More From That Glorious Book “Transformations “

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Guile main
Community Member
2 months ago

This one turned out to be very awesome

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#27

Added More Details To This Guy. I Think He's Done Now

Added More Details To This Guy. I Think He's Done Now

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Mama Penguin
Community Member
2 months ago

"I think my anxiety started when I was a young boy."

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It’s fascinating to see these paintings that have undergone transformations and now get to live out the rest of their days as a completely new piece of art. We hope you’re enjoying this list and that you have been inspired to create your own piece to share on Repaintings. Keep upvoting the artwork that really speaks to you, and let us know in the comments what you would like to add to an old painting. Maybe more flowers? Or a depiction of your dog? Or an alien sunbathing at the beach? The possibilities are endless.

#28

Midnight Frolic

Midnight Frolic

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Shyla Clay
Community Member
2 months ago

Why do I hear the skeleton saying wheeeeeeee?

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#29

Star Wars Fan Art

Star Wars Fan Art

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
2 months ago

Storm troopers on vacation. I love it!

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#30

Such A Sweet Little Lady

Such A Sweet Little Lady

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Mahayana
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Maybe it’s going to be unpopular but the painting was amazing! I wouldn’t have painted over this one.

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Note: this post originally had 51 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.