Coastal Wall Decor from a Thrift Store Book

Coastal Wall Decor from a Thrift Store Book

A thrift store book and a collage photo frame (or multi photo frame) aren’t typically related or even found near each other in your average thrift store. But, I decided to combine the two into one easy project that anyone can do. And even though my result was coastal wall decor, the theme and style could change depending on the book you use!

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Upcycling a Thrift Store Book into Coastal Wall Decor

Whenever I am shopping for a thrift store book, I almost always look for the vintage or older variety. And this wallflower was no different…he didn’t look very exciting at first glance…

Vintage reference book or nature atlas from the thrift store to be repurposed by Sadie Seasongoods

But, when I opened him up, I realized it was a vintage reference book or nature atlas. Dated 1952, this thrift store book was chock full of gorgeous illustrations and vintage prints.

Thrift Store Book or nature atlas to be upcycled into coastal wall art with collage photo frame by Sadie Seasongoods

Now, I know that upcycling old books can be a polarizing topic for people. Some people HATE the idea of “destroying” a vintage book like this. But, I looked at it from this perspective: Chances are, no one had seen these lovely vintage prints in a very long time.

I happened to open to the discussion of fish, so I decided that making some coastal wall decor was a great place to start. And to do so, I hunted down a collage photo frame or multi photo frame from the thrift store, as well.

Collage photo frame to be upcycled into coastal wall decor with vintage prints from an old book by Sadie Seasongoods

When Thrift Store Pieces Collide in One Upcycling Idea

When I returned home, I was so excited that I got to work right away. First things first, I took apart the frame. I wasn’t super excited that the photo divider was cream and gold.

But, when I flipped it over, it had a lovely bright white finish – much better for my coastal wall decor project!

I went through my thrift store book and selected the illustrations that I wanted to use. Then, I cut them out and taped them carefully to the cream / gold side of the collage photo frame insert.

Cutting out vintage prints from a thrift store book to be framed in a multi photo frame or collage photo frame by Sadie Seasongoods

My upcycling idea was going swimmingly…pun intended! I continued cutting out vintage prints from my thrift store book and filled in the entire collage photo frame insert. When all was said and done, it looked like this!

Upcycling idea for thrift store book and collage photo frame to become coastal wall decor by Sadie Seasongoods

Since the vintage prints had great hues of blue and green, I chose a deep lagoon teal to paint the frame. I had a feeling it would tie in well with the coastal wall decor that I was making, and I was right!

Spray painting a wooden picture frame or collage photo frame to become some coastal wall decor by Sadie Seasongoods

Finally, all that I needed to do was re-assemble the entire collage photo frame with the glass and backing.

Coastal Wall Decor from a Thrift Store Book

There – Coastal wall decor or coastal wall art from a vintage reference book and a multi photo frame. Both from the thrift store and combined into stylish framed art!

Coastal wall decor by upcycling a thrift store book and a collage photo frame by Sadie Seasongoods

How great is that? I just love it- the perfect gift for someone who loves fishing…or in a beach house…or to personalize an office / man cave.

Interested in more coastal decor ideas using thrift store treasures? Check out these Japanese glass floats I made from thrift store vases!

japanese fishing floats

And this collection of upcycling ideas for old books might also come in handy!

Amazing Upcycling Ideas for Old Books and Repurposed Book Projects for Vintage Books compiled by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Congratulatuons on your Goodwill gig. I love goodwill and will always shop their stores. I love your framed art. I don’t look at the books very often but I might have to now.

  2. Love it! Love the Goodwill upcycle! I love doing that so I’m looking forward to your great ideas.

  3. What a great idea! The finished product was gorgeous… such talent! Congratulation son the new ‘job’. pod Will does grab things 🙂

  4. chris aka monkey says

    wow love this i just have to get over my hesitation of cutting a book up lol xx

  5. I stop buying from Goodwill because for a while their prices werevtoo high. But in my recent visit, found out they have a new price policy with great new low prices. Im so happy about it.

  6. I hit all the thrift stores around here–Goodwills; Red, White and Blue (Vietnam Veterans) store;Deseret; Salvation Army, and all the little ones!

  7. What a great idea! I never thought of looking through reference books for images! My brother was just telling me he needs some art for his walls………………..I’m seeing Christmas presents! 🙂

  8. I love this, Sarah! Goodwill is my go to store for frames. I found the collage frame I used for my map project there and it was brand new, still in the plastic. Your wall art looks great.

  9. What a fun project and congrats for your new opportunity, that would be so fun!


  10. I love this to bits Sarah! Isn’t it wonderful to find those old picture books and be able to display the pics beautifully? They’re such a treasure. Thanks for sharing this at Five Star Frugal. Love, Mimi xxx

  11. What a great idea! Looks great! Thanks for linking up on The Handmade Hangout!

  12. You did an amazing job on this project! I especially liked how you flipped the mat over – and the paint job on the frame!

  13. A super idea! I do have trouble cutting up books, though–especially vintage editions. But this is fab! Another problem I have is running out of wall space for all the cool Goodwill finds I can edit and repurpose once I get them home. I’m a bit inundated at present and hubby is wanting us to offload at a yardsale this month. Gah! I usually have the intention of putting things on Etsy–but my writing projects keep me from dedicating time to such a hobby. Ah . . . me . . .

    • Ha, I totally get it. I have an easier time justifying it with a book from the thrift store, though…I figure, someone else was able to get rid of it/didn’t love it anymore…and Lord only knows how long it has sat or will sit, collecting dust in the thrift shop. So, I’m hoping to do it a favor by showing off its pretty pictures in a frame!!

  14. Great idea! I love using old book illustrations for artwork. It’s so impactful and costs almost nothing! Thanks for sharing at Inspiration Thursday! Happy Labor Day weekend!

  15. Great idea!

  16. Stopping by from the Show and Tell Link Party. What a great upcycle project! And could be adapted to so many different tastes… old cookbooks for the chef in the family, etc.

  17. The wall art is great Sarah! I have had my eyes out at our local goodwill for a botanical book for some time now, but haven’t ran across one. These photos are perfect for a beach theme! Congrats on being selected to help with the blog. Sounds really fun! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  18. Congratulations! They couldn’t have picked a better person to help on the blog. You are so talented and you always blow me away with your creativity.

  19. What an awesome idea to make pretty wall art.
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Have a nice week and see you again.
    Julie xo

  20. This is such a great idea!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  21. This is a really great way to upcycle and give something a fresh start! Thank you so much for sharing and linking up with us over at the Welcome Home Wednesdays Link Party!

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