Halloween Art from the Thrift Store

Halloween Art from the Thrift Store

About a year ago, I spotted this tree print at a thrift store. It caught my eye not because it was unique or special (the original Kohl’s price tag on the back confirmed that). But because it looked a little haunting, and I thought it might be fun to upcycle into some Halloween art.

sepia tree print at a thrift store

This isn’t a new idea, of course. People have been “spookifying” thrift store art by adding ghosts to paintings for a few years now. But I couldn’t bear the idea of defacing someone else’s painting like that, especially a vintage/older piece of art.

But a mass-produced print from a big box retailer that I found at Goodwill? TOTALLY fair game.

I got even more of a chuckle when I spotted it AGAIN at another thrift shop several months later.

tree wall decor in sepia

Apparently, it’d be a popular Kohl’s purchase that ultimately fell short of expectations, I guess. Which was fine, it was an ideal “canvas” for me to embellish.

It kinda-sorta reminded me of a long-ago trip to Savannah, GA when we visited Bonaventure Cemetery.

trees and tombstones at bonaventure cemetery

So, I decided to use those memories as abstract inspiration for my Halloween art project!

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Halloween Tombstones for Spooky Art

Ok, here’s a close-up of the framed print as it looked at the thrift store. I didn’t plan on changing it completely or making it unrecognizable; just a few additions here and there to give it a spookier vibe.

tree art from kohl's

First, I headed to Michaels for a few Halloween craft supplies. I already had some from last year (bought on clearance in early November).

halloween craft supplies from michaels

Specifically, I bought the following for my Halloween art:

  1. Wooden tombstones
  2. Mini tombstone stickers
  3. Bat stickers
  4. Plastic snakes
  5. Chalkboard tags

Yes, you read that last one correctly- chalkboard tags. They were the right size for my Halloween wall art and had a fabulous gravestone shape!

making tombstones for halloween art with chalkboard tags

Next, it was time to paint the wooden tombstones and chalkboard tags to look like…well…stone. So, I turned to my baking soda paint method with some pale grey craft paint.

baking soda paint to look like stone

After mixing together my grey paint and bicarb, I dabbed the pasty paint onto a tombstone with a craft brush. 

textured paint on halloween tombstones

Here’s how they looked after one thick coat of baking soda paint. Much more “stony” than they looked before!

mini tombstones for halloween art

Piecing Together the Halloween Art

As the Halloween tombstones dried, I did a few more things. First, I used a toothpick on the three wooden ones to carefully gouge out the wording and designs if the paint had gotten in the way. Then, I added a dollop of additional baking soda paint over the hole at the top of the three chalkboard tags.

Lastly, I dabbed on a smidge of this textured craft paint in “Cavern Moss” over the tombstones. This gave them a bit more dimension and added the slightest hint of green, like the stones at Bonaventure Cemetery.

headstones for halloween art

Next, I embellished them further with some additional Halloween stickers (which I attached with hot glue just to be sure) and a paint pen. Now they were ready to add to the Halloween art!

small gravestones for spooky art

Using my hot glue gun, I attached some of the larger Halloween tombstones at the bottom/front of the art. Then, I added the smaller tombstones further back (perspective-wise; and again with hot glue) and added a few of the bat stickers (just using their own sticky backing).

decorating the halloween art with gravestones

After that, I added a snake (which I’d painted with a shimmery green craft paint and hot-glued on) and a few more bat stickers. But it still needed something else…

halloween crafts for kids

Finally, I realized it needed something that Bonaventure Cemetery had loads of: Spanish Moss!

spanish moss for spooky art

I bunched up small pinches of moss and hot-glued them to the base of each gravestone. The moss hangs from trees at Bonaventure Cemetery, but my Halloween Art called for it on the ground.

halloween art of a cemetery

And with that, my spooky art was done!

Halloween Art from the Thrift Store

I have to admit, I stopped midway through this project thinking it was just dopey and stupid. I wasn’t sure if I liked how it was turning out and didn’t think I should put it on my blog.

turning thrift store art into halloween art

But in the end, I really do think it’s got that cutesy-spooky vibe that I’m drawn to at Halloween time. And it would also be a REALLY fun project to work on with slightly older kids.

spooky art for halloween

It’s not actually scary, per se, and I can see kids coming up with funny epitaphs for the stones. And I think I would enjoyed a mixed-media art project like this at Halloween when I was in middle school.

halloween wall art from thrift store art

Either way, I’m glad I stuck with it and finished my Halloween Art! After seeing two of these prints at thrift stores, it definitely felt like a calling, that’s for sure. I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps it will inspire your own Halloween wall art project!

And if you enjoyed this upcycling project, then you may also appreciate this Halloween thrift store makeover, as well!

Halloween cookie jar and haunted house decor from giving a Halloween makeover to a vintage cookie jar

Craft on!


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diy halloween art from a thrift store painting

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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. I love this makeover. Fabulous job.

  2. Doris VanDalsen says

    Did this art piece have glass in the frame or was it without and was just glued directly to the art itself?

  3. Loved your picture. I don’t decorate much for Halloween now that kids are grown and gone, but my daughter goes all out decorating and I always look for bargains to add to her collections and have made her projects over the years. Making the vignette in front just added to it, IMO!

  4. Boy, did you nail the right art to create this whimsical Halloween scene! Love how the graveyards pop off the surface! So fun!

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