Coastal Wall Art from a Thrift Store Book

Coastal Wall Art from a Thrift Store Book

Vintage books- particularly encyclopedias, field guides, and atlases- have the best graphics and color plates. And as much as I hate removing pages from books, these glorious graphics otherwise stay hidden away. So, when I found this relatively plain collage frame, I decided to transform it into some coastal wall art. With the help of a thrifted nature atlas, as well.

multi-photo frame at a thrift store

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

And here’s the vintage nature atlas I mentioned. I almost didn’t even crack it open when I saw it- but I’m so glad I did.

vintage nature atlas

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

This is an incredibly easy upcycle project that anyone- and I mean ANYONE- can do. And while I made coastal wall art with these pieces, you could personalize it to whatever your tastes are. So, let’s get right to it!

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related blog post. This post was originally sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina in 2015.

Creating Coastal Wall Art from a Collage Frame

See? This is what was hiding between the pages of those tattered covers. Gorgeous, colorful illustrations that were just begging to be seen.

illustrations in a vintage nature book

Image credit: 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.

Anyway, back to the task at hand- coastal wall art!

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 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.

framing vintage illustrations from an old nature book

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

My upcycling idea was going swimmingly…pun intended!

Next, 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.

repurposing a collage frame into fish decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Then, I painted the wooden frame to coordinate with the coastal theme.  I chose a deep lagoon teal spray paint to do so, and sealed it with a clear satin top coat. Next, I laid it over the insert and was thrilled with my color choice.

making coastal wall art with thrift store finds

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Lastly, all that I needed to do was re-assemble the entire collage photo frame with the glass and backing. And that was it, my coastal wall art project was done and ready to hang.

Coastal Wall Art from a Thrift Store Book

Ta-da, how easy was that? Coastal wall art from a vintage reference book and a collage frame. Both from the thrift store and combined into stylish framed art.

coastal wall art with vintage graphics

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

How great is that? I just love it- the perfect gift for someone who loves fishing, or in a beach house, or even a man cave. But like I said, you could easily personalize this using whatever kind of vintage book you find. Bird prints, botanicals, even maps would be awesome.

diy coastal wall decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Here’s an alternative version of the same idea. But in this case, I upcycled an old salvaged window with copies of vintage botanical prints. Doesn’t it look great?

Botanical decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.


Either way, those mediocre collage or multi-photo frames at the thrift store may be worth a second glance. There are some surprising ways to repurpose them into amazing wall art. In fact, check out how I created this mid-century modern wall decor from a collage frame for our house. And it only cost me $2.00 to make…

mid-century modern wall decor from thrift store finds

Image credit: 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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