Thursday, July 12, 2012

Salvaging Flea Market Finds

If you are flea market junkie like I am, finding a purpose for all the junk you must have can be difficult task.  It’s easier to justify buying old collectibles like vintage rakes, birdhouses, and shutters when they can be recycled into a useful or decorative object.

Here are three ways I salvaged some fun finds from the Elephants Trunk flea market in New Milford, Connecticut:

Antique Wooden Rake Peg Rack

Elephants Trunk, New Milford, CT

An old wood garden rake can have a new life and purpose as a peg rack.  Old garden rakes can easily be found at flea markets or a second hand shop. The key to this project is to make sure the claws are positioned at a 90 degree angle.  This is an attractive clever way to hang items you need close by, like the dog’s leash or your raincoat!

Bird Cage Hurricanes
Good Housekeeping

Bird cages make fun decorative displays for candles. To create a festive table for a dinner party, gather a few cages and center them on your buffet or dinner table. Fill them with multiple heights of pillar candles to create a luminous, shimmering centerpiece.   

Around the base of each cage, add a few vines from the garden and let them trail along the table top.


Shutter Table
Upcycle shutter, shutter table

Who knew that old wooden shutters could be recycled so simply into the perfect outdoor summer table? Whatever your preferred finish may be, you can prepare your shutters by sanding, painting or staining them. Just make sure all four of your shutters are the same size.

The top and bottom of the shutter table is made from art stretchers. This is a creative, easy way to make a square top. The glass easily rests on the top inside the beveled edge.

What you will need:

4 shutters
8 art canvas stretchers  
16 screws
1 piece of glass for table top- cut to fit inside beveled edge of canvas frame

Stand all four shutters as you want them to stand as table bottom. The four shutters will make a square base.  Measure the distance from the outside of one shutter across to the outside of the other. Take that measurement and purchase art stretchers for the same or slightly larger measurement. (The stretcher measurement can be slightly larger, it just means the top will extend beyond the sides a small bit.)

The stretchers, when pieced together, will form a square frame.

Stand the shutters up vertically and place the frame on top of the four shutters.  Drill two screws evenly spaced through the frame on one side and into the top edge of the shutter to hold firm. Continue on all four sides. Turn the shutter over and do the same on the bottom.

Finish the wood stretchers with the same paint or stain as the shutter. You can have glass cut at a glass store.  Measure for a piece of 1 /4"glass that will fit inside the beveled edge of the frame.

All three projects appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine June 2011, photography by Michael Partenio


  1. I love the old rake idea. It would solve a problem we have at our coat closet. I'll be scouring the GA flea markets to find one. Thanks for sharing!
    Lori D.

  2. I too love the old rake. It would work well on my screened porch holding the tools that have leather straps on them. I'll have to fight Lori for one since I am in Georgia too!

  3. My dad lives in New Milford, CT. and I was born there!
    I just love Connecticut! Your site is such a joy ! I am enjoying it thoroughly! Thank you!

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