Thrift Store Transformation

Thrift Store Transformation2017-12-27T11:25:29-04:00

Project Description

Finished Angel (closeup)

Finished angled in gold GildenGlitz, sealed with PPA Glass

Angel figurine from a thrift store

Angel figurine from a thrift store

I love going to flea markets, thrift stores and recycle centers. I’m always on the lookout for pieces that are past their prime or out of style that could be transformed (or repurposed) in to something wonderful with a little crafty magic. When I saw this 7 ½” tall angel figurine I immediately knew it had potential.

Gold GildenGlitz

Gold GildenGlitz

As it was, it looked dated and ordinary. The stars at the base seemed a bit out of place and the milky white resin base didn’t really do the angel justice. I thought the same piece sparkling in gold would be rich, gorgeous and a perfect holiday decoration.

First coat of gold GildenGlitz on angel

First coat of gold GildenGlitz on angel

The first step was to prepare the piece to apply gilding. She got a great cleaning in our dishwasher, removing any dust, dirt or oils that may have collected on the surface during her travels to the thrift store.

Once clean and dry, I applied a Duo Adhesive from USArtQuest all over the figurine with a brush. Duo dries tacky, so it’s the perfect adhesive for fine materials like gilding or crushed mica. It is white when it comes out of the bottle and the saying goes “When it’s white, it’s not right – when it’s clear it adheres.

It only took a few minutes for the Duo to dry clear. I carefully looked over the piece to see if I missed any spots and touched up with Duo as necessary. A few minutes later the Duo was clear and I was ready to apply GildenGlitz.

The bag of Gold GildenGlitz was so light – just 3 grams – and I wondered how much it would take to cover the angel. Magically, each piece you pull out of the bag unfolds to a 5” square. If you think about it, that’s about 25 square inches of coverage in each piece! It only took a few squares to cover the entire figurine and it doesn’t look like I even made a dent in the bag!


I pressed the GildenGlitz on to the tacky Duo adhesive, pushing it in to all the nooks and crannies.

Gilded angel ready to seal with PPA

Gilded angel ready to seal with PPA

After the entire piece was covered, I burnished off the excess using a Texture Sponge. To get in the tightest of spaces, I used a stiff paint brush. You could also use small AppliQates on a Handy Clip.

I noticed there were a couple of places that needed a bit more GildenGlitz, so I touched up those areas with Duo, let it dry until it was clear, and applied more GildenGlitz.

To really make the piece shine, I buffed it with some soft AppliQates.


Lastly, I decided to seal the figurine with PPA Gloss. You really don’t have to seal the gilding, but I wanted to be sure it could stand up to handling, knowing it would likely be stored and unpacked for many holiday seasons to come.

I’m really happy with the finished piece. What started as a $1.99 ordinary angel on a thrift store shelf is now a beautiful gilded figurine that really glistens in the light. She looks like the perfect angel and I can’t wait to add her to our holiday decorations.


Finished Angel

Finished Angel

Closeup of Angel with gold GildenGlitz

Closeup of Angel with Gold GildenGlitz





  1. Aimee December 24, 2012 at 9:52 am - Reply

    WOW what a transformation…she's beautiful!


  2. Brenda September 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Joe I am attempting to contact you, you won Carly Smith’s prize on my blog can you contact me please so I can get your address, thank you

    • Joe Rotella September 8, 2014 at 10:04 am - Reply

      Hi Brenda!
      Wow!! This is so cool!!

      I’ll contact you today 🙂

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