Looking for art to add some personality to your walls? For a budget-friendly option that is unique to you, try creating your own using salvaged materials from the reuse warehouse!

STEP 1: Choose a frame

There are often a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles of artwork at the reuse warehouse. This large, ornate, 4-foot by 3-foot, roughly oval frame with keyhole artwork was $35. If you prefer unframed art, keep an eye out for photo prints or other unframed canvases!

STEP 2: Create or prepare a painting surface

The keyhole artwork obviously had a large hole in the center and the corrugated plastic backing didn’t accept paint very well, so this frame needed a new painting surface. Check the sheet goods section at Community Forklift for things that might work! If you choose a frame that comes with art, you can try using the old art as a template for cutting your new painting surface. Since this frame is such a unique shape, the old artwork was very handy for getting the right dimensions.

STEP 3: Sketch out a design

If you want some really geometric, sketching out the design with a L-square might be helpful. Make sure to use pencil so that you can easily paint over it, as pen ink might bleed through your paint.

STEP 4: Paint!

The paint section at Community Forklift is a good source for low-cost “oops” paint to use in your artwork. You can also try using any leftover paint you have from other home projects. The colors in this painting came from a fireplace, living room, dining room, eating area, and pantry!

STEP 5: Hang your artwork and enjoy

Once your paint has dried, pop it back into your frame, hang it up, and enjoy the results of your creativity!


Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse.  We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.