Flea Market Finds: All that Glitters

Im so happy to welcome back the always impressive Matthew Mead for another smart project. This time he is sharing a sparkly take on traditional piece of art. If you like his simply beautifully classic style, be sure to check out his new book-a-zine, Flea Market Finds.

In every family, there are often works of art passed down to some that are coveted by those who do not have the piece hanging in their homes. This was the case with this very beautiful water color painting of clematis plants painted many years ago by a relative. In today's techno savvy world, it is possible to make copies of such pieces so that each family member can have a little piece of that special heirloom.

To do this project, I photographed a portion of the painting and printed it with my everyday color printer. I decided, however, to make the piece my own by updating the colors, adding some interest, and framing it in a simple contemporary cream frame.

You Will Need: art or a photo printed on double-sided matte brochure paper, artistic pastel chalks, make-up applicator, glitter in desired colors, mod podge, small paintbrush, tray or cookie sheet to use as a work surface

To Make:
Photograph and print the subject.

We chose to use a home printer, so the size limit was 8.5 x 11. Use pastel chalks in various colors to highlight and enhance the colors of the print.

Many times, vintage pieces fade from excess exposure to light and a scan or photograph of the piece can dull the look even more.

Apply the pastels with a make-up applicator to restore some vibrancy to the image:

Once you have highlighted the art and added color to the image you can add more dimension with glitter.

Glitter comes in many, many colors today and the bit of sparkle in the light really draws attention to the art work. Begin by gathering your glitter colors, glue, and brush and work on a tray or a cookie sheet:

I used a super fine glitter from the crafts store that came in a pack in a multitude of colors:

Use a small liner brush to outline and highlight the watercolor.

I placed glue along the dark edges of the flowers and leaves and then sprinkled the glue portion with glitter:

Turn paper on edge and tap into tray to remove excess glitter:

You may want to clean the tray after each different color application. Repeat and re-glitter each spot as you embellish the leaves, flowers, foliage and stems.

Hold the finished piece up to the light to see if you have glittered all the highlights to the best effect.

Clean the finished piece with a 1/2 paint brush to remove any excess glitter and place piece in frame:


  1. Emily8:47 AM

    I can't quite figure out the Matthew Mead craze. I don't love the format of his website, and honestly, I don't get this project. I love Brooklyn Limestone, and your aesthetic, and I have a hard time imagining that you really like a glittery photograph, or any of the Matthew Mead projects you've posted. They just don't seem you. And maybe I'm completely in the wrong, granted, I only know you through the content of your blog. If you are using it to pay the bills, I totally get that.

    I try to never write anything negative, but I really respect BL - and these posts just seem so jarringly out of place.

  2. ouch. First off, I promise you Im not making any money from contributing to his magazine or posting these projects. I simply really like and respect Matthew and want to help get the word out about his magazine. Its true we don't overlap styles 100% but I can still appreciate it and share it for those that might be interest. Im sure you haven't loved all of my projects either and thats okay - everyone has a different take on the world. Much like I can really appreciate a super modern industrial look in someone else's house but not have it in my own home, I feel sort of the same with this. You'll see a similar thought with other guest bloggers I've had here - our styles might not be the same but I like to have other points of view represented as well.

    That said, I don't want you to feel you can't express your opinions about it. I do appreciate your feedback. Just wanted to explain my thoughts on it.

    Just so you know, I dont accept sponsored posts here so if you see it posted, I haven't been paid to write it. While I do appreciate the lovely sponsors that pay to advertise in my sidebar, thats where the commercial content ends here.

  3. Janette@The2Seasons9:03 AM

    On Monday I posted a blog about how to reproduce a family painting by having a giclee made.  This is another great idea, and your idea costs a lot less.  However, the giclee looks and feels like the original oil painting.  That is an idea for your readers to try also.

  4. I love this family beauty and the way you have changed it up and brought it back to life.  I would have never thought of the glitter, pastels, yes..but I really like the glitter as it reminds me of some of those old victorian postcards where the snow glistens....personally, I really LOVE this piece and what you have done with it!!!  Bravo!

  5. What a clever idea.  The only thing I'm not sure about is the glitter.  While I love glitter on some things, I think maybe it looks a bit too crafty on this.  I could see enhancing this in other ways.  Overall I love the idea though.

  6. This is so beautiful!

  7. I love this idea! We have several family paintings that need a little "update" but I would love nothing more than displaying them! I'll have to try a little version of this. 

  8. Wrenaria2:47 PM

    The pastel touch-ups to a printed piece are a great idea! I would personally pass on the glitter though.

  9. from_Bucyrus4:26 PM

    We did something similar with an old photograph of the grandparents in their youth. Thank goodness technology makes sharing so much easier than it used to be. No glitter though, I'm not into that.

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  11. Michelle11:05 PM

    I really like that you've made this your own with just a bit of glitter, very clever :)

  12. You know I kind of agree with Emily. I'm not too crazy about the things he's done on here- they're interesting but I'm not sure that I'd ever try to copy any of these. I also agree that it doesn't seem very BL, although I completely understand your explanation and love that you're helping a friend.
    Like most everyone else in the comments, this idea is cool but I would pass on the glitter. Unless of course it was my family heirloom portrait of Ke$ha.


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