$econdhand First Class

A thrift store fanatic shares her shopping secrets

Archive for the category “Crafts”

Driven to Re-Purpose or How Else Could I Use It?

Thrift stores aren’t just great places to buy clothes, furniture, towels, sheets, etc. They are also a treasure trove of craft materials. Here’s just a few ideas for using clothes and


Have a gaggle of young girls around the house? Fill a box with fancy clothes, hats, and gloves for dress-up.

I covered this footstool
with a leather skirt.

Recover footstools or dining room chair seats with the leather from old skirts or coats. You could also use the leather to make purses, vests, book covers, etc.

Felt wool skirts, dresses, or coats to make pot holders, quilt pieces, or penny rugs.

Worn wool sweaters or scarves can become gloves, hats, or pieced together, a warm and cozy throw.

Long skirts in beautiful fabric but outdated style get new life as a sleeveless blouse.

Whip up a cozy pillow from a man-sized shirt. Place the buttons so the cover is removable.

Tie a knot or two in a long wooly sock. Pull the knots tight. You’ve got a great and inexpensive dog tug-of-war toy. For more excitement, drop a squeaker in the toe before tying the knots.


Sheets are just big pieces of fabric waiting to be transformed by your next project. Or toss those sheets over the sofa to protect it from splatters when you paint your living room.

Use white cotton sheets as fabric for your tie-dye creations.

Got pets? Cover your bottom sofa cushions with a twin sheet that coordinates with your décor. Removing and washing is a snap.

Fashion great looking pillows out of pretty curtains or old tablecloths.

A friend sewed this cozy
pillow from a sweater.

Sew two cotton or linen napkins together for a quick and easy pillow cover.

Reupholster footstools or small chairs using heavy-duty curtain fabric.

Kitchen aprons hold your tools, brushes, or craft items as you work.

Need more inspiration?

Check out these websites:





Handcrafted and Heavenly

Handmade covered bowl

Handmade covered bowl, signed on the bottom

‘Tis the season for craft shows, with booth after booth of the creative and clever. But handcrafted items such as walnut candle holders or carved Santas aren’t just at craft shows. People buy a handmade vase, use it for a while, then donate it. Or they receive a ceramic bowl as a gift, decide it’s not right for their decor, and into the giveaway pile it goes.

That’s where you come in. If you want to fill your home with beautiful handmade collectibles, bargains await at your larger local thrift stores. Crafted items tend to be regional so you may not find baskets but see pottery aplenty in your area.

Here are a few tips to help you cull the handcrafted from the mass produced:

  • Signatures and dates. These are usually on the bottom or the back of a piece. Artists mark baskets on the underside of the handle or the base.
  • Uneven edges or rims. You’ll see this on handmade glass and pottery pieces especially. This imperfection is part of the appeal—the handmade quality. If a vase was thrown on a pottery wheel, you may see faint rings on the base or body of the item. Warning: if a piece has a faint ridge running from top to bottom that looks as if two pieces were joined together, it is not handmade, even if it has a signature.
  • Weight. Handcrafted items, such as baskets, glass, or pottery, are usually heavier than molded or manufactured pieces. For example, basket makers and potters use better quality materials in their handmade items.
  • Finish. You can often feel the layers of glaze on a handmade piece of pottery or the dashes of colored glass applied to a vase.

When you find that special item, eye the piece for cracks and missing parts. Run your fingertip around the edges to feel for chips. Make sure that handmade goblet is worth pride of place in your home.

Happy thrifting!

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