Sultans of Swap: Flea Market Fun In The Sun

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in my first ever Flea Market.  The sale of spaces benefited my daughter’s school, so of course I jumped at the chance to get involved.  I was a bit nervous.  It was the first time I have attempted to sell my projects.  I also had some additional spring cleaning items to sell as well and anything I can do to create additional space in my overloaded craft room is a definite plus.

Let me start off by saying, I have been to a lot of swap meets, yard sales and flea markets as a buyer, but never as a seller.  It is hard work preparing, pricing and hauling your goods to the sale location.  I have a new respect for those who can make a living at it and participate in sales on a regular basis.

I am in no way an expert at this, but I thought I would share with you all what I learned from this experience.

So, How did the modern flea market get its name?

The first flea markets were in Paris and they were called marché aux puces which translates to ‘market with fleas’. Flea market first appeared in English in 1922 as a translation of the French market’s name.

When Preparing, Take Care of as much as you can the night before

Since most flea markets start bright and early, and I am a night owl by nature,  I loaded the car and any other items needed for my sale the previous night.  This allowed me to get a good night sleep and wake up and leave the next day without scrambling at the last-minute.

Show up on time or early for set up

This was the fun part.  Setting it all up so it is pleasing to the eye.  Leave yourself enough time so as to not feel rushed.

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Mark all prices clearly and have a backup plan

I devised a color coding system.  Also when marking your prices, keep a mental note of how low you are willing to go with price.  I marked my prices a little higher so that I had some “wiggle” room.

Plan for a long day in the hot sun

If you have a canopy or beach umbrella, it is a good idea to bring it.  Make sure to bring plenty of sun block, dress accordingly (avoid dark colors that attract the sun) Wear a hat and sunglasses and bring plenty of fluids and a snack.

Bring tables or other items to properly display your merchandise

I found that items more visible, and that didn’t require a lot of effort to look through sold better.  A clothes rack, table or even a sheet or mat placed on the ground is essential when displaying your items.  If people have too put a lot of effort in they will move on quickly to a competitor’s table.

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Don’t Just Sit There… Get up and Sell!!

I found I gained more interest in my items when I talked to people and said “Hi”  Sitting their idle watching people come and go doesn’t sell stuff, but being a social butterfly DOES even when the turn out is low.

Talk about what you do and PROMOTE

I created plenty of business cards, and even sign explaining what Upcycling is.  People’s curiosity would get the better of them and they would stop to read the sign.  It was a great conversation starter!

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Bring Singles and 5 dollar bills to make change and wear a fanny pack!

I brought about $40 dollars in cash.  I used 25 singles and four 5 dollar bills and found this to be enough to make change.  It is better to wear a fanny pack or apron to keep change, pens and tape in.  Leaving money unsupervised in a box even for a minute, creates a potential for theft.

Make Friends and Connections!

Even though the turn out was less than spectacular, I still managed to socialize with other vendors and make personal connections.  I met a really nice woman who runs a local consignment shop, and my flea market neighbor and I helped each other when the other had to take a bathroom break.  The nice lady next to me even helped complete a sale while I walked away for a moment!

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Oh and Don’t Forget to take a Flea Market Selfie!

What are you doing to prepare for this Flea Market Season? Do you have any tips for sellers not mentioned here?  Do you have willpower when it comes to buying things at a flea market when you are there to sell?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Decoupage College Football Chair

This Saturday, two impressive college football teams will square off in what proves to be an epic battle.  # 2 Florida State is favored over the 6-0 5th ranked Notre Dame.  The Fighting Irish are clear underdogs in this matchup, and the history behind these two teams and prior matchups, seem to support this fact.  Looking for the upset, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will surly be put to the test.  They will need to play their best football yet. They will need to…..

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My husband grew up watching Notre Dame and rooting for the Irish along with his father.  Like many teams Notre Dame has had its share of ups and downs through the years, but despite this my father in law’s love for his Irish never waned. Every game win or lose.. it didn’t matter, It was a celebration. It was Notre Dame Saturday!  If you root for and follow a team you know that it becomes a part of your life and present during many important memories.  My husband and I often think of our father fondly, and though he passed many years ago, Watching the games and following his favorite team brings us closer to him.  I wanted to make my husband a special gift, and it never seemed like a better time than for one of their biggest games. I picked up a lovely solid maple ladder back chair at Goodwill that had seen better days.  It was priced under five dollars, and I was drawn to its design immediately.  The chair has a stamp from a furniture company under the seat: Louis Albert and Company, Philadelphia PA.

Thrift Store Ladder Back Maple Chair

It seemed the perfect project chair, and with that the Fighting Irish Notre Dame chair, was born.  If you have followed my blog, you know I have a special place in my crafty heart for chairs.  I am drawn to functional pieces of art and to me a chair embodies both these elements nicely.  I printed out the college decal of choice on my printer. I then cleaned and prepped the chair with a white spray on primer.

Primed Chair

I applied Mod Podge to the seat with a foam craft brush.  I then added the print, gently smoothing out any air bubbles with my hands.

Apply Mod Podge

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I added a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the print to seal it.  Once dry, I began the lengthy process of painting the chair.  I used the team colors, gold, blue and green for the color scheme.  It took several coats to obtain proper coverage.  I carefully painted the area around the image, and although time-consuming, it made the image appear to flow with the seat. Because of the small areas, I decided to paint rather than to cut the image out.  Adding Mod Podge before painting the paper prevented damage and curling.  Two coats of Mod Podge over the painted area, properly sealed it. I decided to give the feet of the chair some character by adding the gold dipped legs. Once the paint was dry over the span of about two nights, I covered the entire chair in Mod Podge to seal the acrylic paint.

Decoupage Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Sports Chair

Notre Dame College Football Chair

Now my husband has a special chair to sit upon and watch the game this weekend.  Another Notre Dame Saturday of family memories with our own daughter, and a Fighting Irish college football chair to enjoy for many years and games to come!

notre dame chair

Before and After:

before after

Not a fan of the Irish?  Make your own college football chair:

Materials:

Decal or Team Print Of Choice

Old Wooden Chair

White Spray On Primer

Mod Podge

Acrylic Paint (Team Colors of Choice)

Craft Brush, Paint Brushes

Scissors

Hello Kitty Themed Kids Surfboard Bench

It has been an especially harsh Northeast winter and many of my usual thrifting haunts have been light on stock especially when it comes to furniture pieces.  Despite this, I certainly don’t mind the thrill of the hunt. You never know when you will find something unique.  On such a trip, I came across an interesting kids bench (At least that’s what I think it was!) at a local Goodwill store.    It appeared to be a surfboard and the painted design was hideous!  Despite all of the negatives with this piece, I felt this would be a fun redesign, and I loved the detachable legs.  This feature made the legs easier to paint.  Nothing conjures up images of summer like a surfboard, and that is just the kind of project I needed!

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I cleaned the entire piece with a Magic Eraser. It had an unidentifiable sticky substance all over it and the Eraser worked well to remove it.  I used a white spray primer to cover the brightly colored design.  I was planning on using a fabric decoupage, but felt the bright colors may bleed through the fabric.  Using a primer first prevents this, and gives me a clean slate to work with.  Once the primer dried, I used a foam craft brush to apply Mod Podge to the bench surface.

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My daughter and I stopped by the craft store and I let her look through the aisle filled with different character fabrics.  She seemed to like this Hello Kitty print and I happily obliged, being a Ms. Hello Kitty fan myself. When I was young the local mall had a store called Sanrio and they sold Hello Kitty and all her “friends” merchandise. It was one of my favorite stores to visit in the mall.  I bought a half yard, and roughly traced the fabric to cover the table surface. Once the Mod Podge dries, any excess fabric left over around the edges and handles I trim with a box cutting knife.  The glue stiffens the fabric and makes it easier to cut.  I placed the fabric down on the Mod Podge soaked surface carefully smoothing out any wrinkles with my hands.

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I placed it aside to dry, eventually I would add a total of three full coats of Mod Podge on the fabric table surface.  I painted the legs with two coats of pink and white acrylic paint.  Once the legs were dry I covered them in a Mod Podge layer.   I then reassembled the table legs by screwing them easily back in to place.

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My daughter loves sitting on it.  It looks great in her room and it is a nice piece of kids furniture to use while helping her get dressed for her day.

 

Hello Kitty Girls Surfboard Bench

Before and After

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The Craft Must Go On: Upcycled Rock N’ Roll Bar Stool

A few months back, I came across a wooden bar stool at Goodwill for $5.99. I liked the size and design of the stool, and thought it would make a great decoupage piece.

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I decided to upcycle the stool with a Rock N’ Roll theme,  and since it was to be a gift for my husband, I chose the Irish Rock band Thin Lizzy as a subject. The band is one of our favorites and have a vast catalog of great music.  This initial vision took a back seat to the holidays, and various other projects. The idea seemed doomed afer one mishap after another involving this project.  I abused this stool, and used it to allow smaller painted projects to dry.  When I attempted to prime it, the spray can malfunctioned splattering the primer.  (I believe the can may have been too cold) After the bar stool was dry, I sanded off the “lumpy” paint by hand.  Creating yet more work for myself, while attempting to smooth out an air bubble on the initial decoupage print, I tore a hole in it and had to scrape it off only to start all over again.  Despite all of these blunders,  the project managed to come together.  Turns out I found a much nicer print, based on the album cover for “Nightlife” The print featured a black panther on the prowl like the one featured on the cover below.

Thin Lizzy Night Life

I painted the entire chair in black and red alternating the colors.  It took several coats to obtain good coverage.  Once dry I applied Mod Podge to the seat with a foam brush.  I carefully applied the printed logo and smoothed it out carefully with my hands doing my best to avoid tearing or wrinkling.  I painted the area not covered by the print red, creating a bull’s eye effect on the seat.  Once all the paint was dry, I used Mod Podge to cover the entire bar stool.

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Finally, my crafting nightmare showed some “Nightlife” after much adversity.  More importantly my husband seems happy with the result. Now we just need the bar..

Wanna see more chair restyles from “On The Upcycle?  Click Here

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Creative Blast Off: Star Wars Fabric Decoupage Kids Chair

I was in Joann Fabric recently and came across some great Star Wars themed fabric.  They were in the midst of having a huge fabric sale and I jumped at the chance to purchase something unique and fun at a discounted price.  When I brought the fabric to the counter to have it measured and cut, the clerk informed me that their was a larger scrap piece she could sell me for an additional half off!  It was my lucky day as I really only needed a half yard.  This piece was large enough to use for additional projects, and I jumped at the chance to buy it.  Two other fabrics I purchased also had discounted scrap pieces.  It was my lucky day!  Over a yard of fabric Star Wars fabric cost a mere $5.30!

Thrift Store Kids Chair

I had picked up two kids chairs during a furniture sale (shown above) at a local Goodwill store.   My first project to utilize one of these chairs was for a Strawberry Shortcake themed guest blogger project celebrating Geek Month on Cheeky Geeks Blog. I primed both chairs with a spray on white latex primer, and this chair sat for quite sometime unfinished.  It seemed a perfect fit for the Star Wars fabric.  My husband and I are like many our age, huge fan “geeks” when it comes to Star Wars. I was more than happy to base a kids chair on such a fun topic from our youth.

Trace chair seat on to fabric

I flipped the chair over on to a table and laid the chair seat upon the flip side of the fabric, tracing carefully with a black marker.  I carefully cut out the piece of fabric, along with a smaller sized piece I would use for the chair back. I applied Mod Podge to the chair seat surface with a large foam craft brush.  I then carefully laid the cut fabric on the chair with my hands smoothing it out to prevent wrinkles.  I trimmed the back of the fabric carefully where the seat back and chair back met. This enabled me to cover the seat with as much fabric as possible.  I repeated the same steps to apply the smaller piece of fabric to the chair back.  Once dry, I covered the fabric over top with Mod Podge, and allowed it to dry.

Decoupage Kids Chair

I then hand-painted the chair with red and black acrylic paint.  Like the first chair, it required quite a few coats of paint. Once dry, I painted on a coat of Mod Podge to seal it.

Star Wars Fabric Decoupage Kids Chair

Materials Used:

Old Kids Chair

Mod Podge

Star Wars Themed Fabric

Foam Craft Brush/Paint Brushes/Scissors

Black and Red Acrylic Paint

White Latex Primer

Star Wars Themed Fabric Decoupage Chair

Check out all the great licensed character themed fabrics Joann Fabric has to offer here

Fabric Decoupage Chair Seat

For The Kid In All Of Us: Upcycled Justice League Of America Adult Fan Chair

Poor abused dinner table chair!  I managed to spill paint on it,  drip hot glue on it, and just made a general mess out of it.  It became a place to craft on with the intention that one day, I would give it a new life.  I have a set of four that belonged to the kitchen table we owned previously.  The table was broken, but we kept the chairs.  They are about as basic as it gets, similar to the one picture below.

Windsor ChairWhen I finished the Kids Justice League Of America Chair a few people including the hubby, suggested I create an adult version for all the “grown up” Justice League fans out there. This chair seemed like a good candidate for a super hero makeover.  The chair was heavily lacquered so a white latex primer was a must! Once primed, I trimmed and applied the print to the seat surface.  I found a great image featuring The Justice League Of America characters.  These characters had a more adult feel.  I used Mod Podge to adhere the image to the seat with a coat of Mod Podge applied over top to seal.  I then painted the entire chair with Red, White and Blue acrylic paint. This was the most labor intensive part of this project and required multiple applications of paint, but proved therapeutic after another stressful week.   I applied Mod Podge to the entire painted area of the chair to seal it.

Decoupage Justice League Chair

Super Hero Fan Chair

Upcycled Super Hero Chair

To make a “Super” Chair you will need:

Old chair

Comic book pages or printed image

Acrylic paint

White latex primer spray or brush on

brushes, scissors

Mod Podge

Strawberry Shortcake Sunday | CheekyGeeks

I want to thank Elise from Cheeky Geeks for featuring “On The Upcycle” during Geek month.  This week is retro week and what a better way to celebrate than with an upcycled Kids Strawberry Shortcake Record table and chair.  Be sure and check out my full tutorial on Cheeky Geeks.

Strawberry Shortcake Sunday | CheekyGeeks.

r\Retro Strawberry Shortcake Chair and Record table
Cheeky Geeks : Geek Month Celebration

Upcycled Strawberry Shortcake Kids Record Chair

The Broken Chair Challenge Part 2: Chair Back Photo Frame

It all started when I purchased a lovely (but very abused) chair from Goodwill for $3.99.  I loved the design qualities of this chair and thought it would make a lovely restyle. I especially loved the is.  Which means “ Lily flower” in French.  I removed the chair seat, only to discover it broken beyond repair. I was not willing to let this chair go, and  I was determined to find a replacement seat.  My husband and I kept our eyes open for any broken chairs on the side of the road that we could use to salvage a seat.

For months, this chair sat and I resisted the temptation of buying a chair to salvage.  Then one day, my patience paid off.  My sister and I went thrift shopping one weekend and in front of the store they had free furniture.  I was ecstatic!  Their it was the perfect candidate, a chair missing the arms, but with a perfectly usable seat.  I confirmed with the store manager that this chair was indeed “free” and loaded it into the car with the biggest smile planted on my face. I immediately removed the seat when I got the chair home and it was a perfect fit.

Upcycled Black and White Damask Chair

To read more about this project see The Broken Chair Challenge: Upcycled Black and White Damask Chair.

Now, I was left with the remnants of another chair, and did not want the all the parts of this chair to end up in the trash.  It had a lovely seat back, and I had seen some lovely upcycling of chair backs into picture frames on Pinterest. I decided to give it a try.  One great example of this can be found at All Things Thrifty.com

Old Chair Back

The finish on this was extremely worn. If it had not been in such poor shape, I don’t think I would have opted to paint it. By far,  the most difficult and challenging aspect of this project was sawing the legs off the chair back.  I used a hacksaw, but it was quite tough to do!  An electric or battery operated hand saw would have worked better, but on the bright side it was at least a 500 calorie burner! Rarely can you say you burn calories crafting!  Once this was completed, I sanded the area that was cut.  I took the chair back outside and spray painted it black, using about two coats.  I allowed the piece to dry overnight.

The next day, I chose a large photo from one of my daughter’s previous Picture People photo sessions.  I measured the area and trimmed the photograph to sit inside the middle of the chair back.  I used a hot glue gun to adhere the photo to the wood.  I had a few craft jewels and roses that I added to the chair back to make it “pop”  I originally glued a large rose to the bottom of the chair back, but decided to remove it later as you will see in the photos below.  One of the smaller roses, I carefully glued to her hand in the photo, It creates an illusion that she is actually holding a rose in the photo.  I think it gives the photo a bit of an extra dimension.  A nice little “touch” to the project.

Hand Holding Rose

I decided to hang this in our bedroom which is black, white with grey wall.  It was very difficult to snap an adequate photo as the flash kept reflecting off the shiny surface , but it is lovely and I am so glad I tried this!

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Think of all the possibilities before you toss that old chair!

Materials:

Hot Glue Gun

Spray Paint (If you choose to paint)

Old Chair Back

Scissors

Saw (If needed)

Screw driver (if needed)

Sandpaper

An old chair back re-purposed into a Picture frame

The Broken Chair Challenge: Upcycled Black and White Damask Chair

I spotted this chair in the back of a Goodwill store.  There were various miscellanies items piled on top of it, and It involved quite a bit of work to break this chair free. I was attracted to the chair design  ( The chair featured a fleur de lys) and I loved the detail.  The chair seat was in very rough shape and it would require re-upholstering.  The overall chair frame seemed like it was in ok shape, and I thought enough of this chair to assume the risk.  The chair was priced to sell at $3.99.

When I got it home,  I ripped the blue material off the seat and discovered the seat was broken and could not be repaired.  Now, I had to salvage another chair in order to repair this one!  My husband and I kept our eyes open for any “curbside” or “free” chairs, I prefered to use  a free chair and not purchase one, but months went by until I found a freebie chair that would be perfect, A lucky find at a thrift store. The chair seat would turn out to be a perfect replacement, and I have future plans to upcycle what’s left of the chair frame.  Stay tuned!

First, I cleaned the chair, and primed the chair frame with 2 coats of a white latex primer.  Once the chair was dry, I began to paint it in a white and black color scheme.  I used black and white acrylic paints to paint the entire chair.

This chair was quite a challenge to paint. The chair had a lot of cut-ins, and detail, and required a lot of patience when it came to the paint brush. I sat the chair in front of the fan until it was dry, and then added a layer of Mod Podge overtop to seal the chair.  It dried nicely.  Now I was ready to re- upholster the chair seat. The original fabric I chose was a black fabric with white roses.  When I placed it up against the chair, I despised how it looked!  So, It was back to the fabric store to pick out another style and I went with the Elegant look of Damask.  I used less than a yard of material and cut and traced it to fit the new seat, leaving extra material for underneath the seat.  I used an upholstery stapler and carefully stapled the material to the back of the chair seat.  Once I was done I screwed the seat back on to the chair.

This chair was not short in challenges, but in the end it was worth it. Looking at the finished chair,  I would say this chair turned out to be worth the risk, and a broken piece received an elegant new lease on life!

Upcycled Black and White Damask Chair

Back of B&W Damask Chair

Rear View of Black and White Chair

Before and After Chair Made with aint,cloth and Mod Podge

Before and After

Black and White Demask Upcycled Chair

Materials:

Roughed up chair

White Latex Primer

Black and White acrylic paint

Mod Podge

Damask Fabric

Brushes/Scissors

Upholstery stapler and staples

Screwdriver

Black Marker to trace seat to fabric

Super Hero Seat: Decoupage Justice League Of America Kids Chair

My husband and I are kids at heart, and when I told him my plans to creat a “super heroes” decoupage kids chair, he was excited to see the final result. After a trying week and a busy weekend, I figured it was a good idea to jump right back on the “crafting horse”, and keep the upcycle going.

I passed this chair up many times.  I stop by the Goodwill right down the street from our house periodically.  It is usually a quick walk through,  and this chair sat, un purchased through several of these “walk throughs”,  The chair was in very rough shape and was doused in a heavy lacquer finish, that I suspected, would not be easy to apply paint to. It is difficult for me to pass up kids furniture because I love it so much, so during this particular walk through with my daughter in tow, I finally decided to buy it.

Old Beat Up Kids Chair

First, I tightened the chair and legs,  and used sand paper to smooth any rough edges on the chair.  I cleaned it with a damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt, and boy this chair was very dirty!  Once that was done, I used a white, latex primer to paint the chair from top to bottom. This was essential and even with the chair’s lacquered finish, it covered nicely.

After the primed chair was completely dry,  I painted the chair with a red and blue color scheme to mimic the Justice League of America colors. The Justice league of America is great because it incorporates the best superhero characters from DC, Comics.

I applied Mod Podge to the chair seat with a large paint brush. I then placed the prints onto the chair seat, slowly smoothing it out with my hands to avoid wrinkles. I repeated the same process for the chair back,  I decoupaged the Justice League symbol and two additional characters I could not fit onto the chair seat, These characters were The flash and The Green Lantern. I cut them out with scissors and applied them so they would appear as though they were “leaping” off the chair seat.  I made three white, printer paper stars to add some “pop” to the top of the chair back.

I placed the chair in front of a stand up fan to dry.  The next day, I applied Mod Podge to the entire piece to seal it and repeated this process twice, allowing the chair to dry in between coats.

My husband loved how it turned out, and it was nice to complete a strictly “just for fun” project.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Justice League Of America Decoupage Kids Chair

Materials:

Kids Chair

Comic books,or Comic Prints

Mod Podge

Red and Blue Acrylic Paint

White Latex Primer

brushes, scissors, pen

sandpaper