Must-Have Thrift Store Decor Finds to Create with the Cricut Explore Air 2

This post is brought to you by Cricut. All opinions are 100% my own. 

You all know how much I love a good thrift store! Shopping second-hand is like a fun treasure hunt for me and I'm always taking the time to dig for that diamond in the rough. I love reimagining something that someone has had stopped finding joy in, and give it that spark again. I also like the price tag! I can usually DIY something with my Cricut and some imagination for a fraction of the price of something I could find retail. And there's something about taking someone's trash and making it into a treasure that is part of the real fun for me. Unique bespoke items are kind of the norm at a thrift shop, which sometimes makes it hard for me to share a project and for you all to feel like you could recreate a piece, but I have found through decades of thrift store shopping that there are a handful of staple items you'll always find easily second-hand. I'm sharing those items with you and giving you a few ideas on how you can upcycle them using your Cricut Explore.

thrift store decor using the Cricut explore

Must-Have Thrift Store Decor Finds to Create with the Cricut Explore Air 2

cricut explore thrift store decor

There are plenty of one-of-a-kind items to be found at your local thrift store. It's why I love the hunt. You never know what you are going to find! But there are also a handful of items that you will always find at a thrift store, the tried and true staples you are sure to find located down every aisle of your local thrift shop. These are the four must-have thrift store items you'll always find that are easy to make your own with your Cricut cutting machine.


1. Frames and Art

Large art can be very expensive but there is often no shortage of frames and art at your local thrift store. Some thrift store art can be expensive, but if you are lucky enough to have a Goodwill Outlet in your area, frames are .25 cents each, regardless of size!

secondhand art frames

I picked up two framed art pieces and used paint to cover up their original image.

A few things to look for when you are buying a second-hand frame
1. If you want to change out the picture inside a glass frame, make sure you can easily remove the back.
2. Be open to the possibility of paint
3. Watch for any holes or tears in the piece of art or canvas

2. Glasses and Jars

glassware from a thrift shop

You'll find shelves of glassware all full of potential. These are usually the pieces that are easiest to start off with if you are a beginner thrifter/upcycler. This is because there is no shortage of blank pieces that provide a fresh start for just about any project.

A little vinyl and maybe a coat of paint and you've got a new storage piece you can use. 

laundry room jar with cricut vinyl

3. Books

books to upcycle thrift store

I love stacking books around to give height and interest in my decor. You can find inexpensive books at your local thrift store. Old books hold a special place in my heart, but you can also rip off the cover of a trashy grocery store novel and make it look like a million bucks.

Pro Tip: Because there is no shortage of books it seems, you can often look for the tag of the week for 50% off. Colored tags are often used to help workers know how long an item has been on the floor, so watch for the reduced prices for older items.

Did you know I used to work at Goodwill? I shared a few funny stories from my days of employment there.

4. Pillows

pillows thrift shop

Linens, blankets, and pillows are easy to find at your local thrift store and hear me out, some of you will be grossed out and think you should just pay a few extra dollars to buy these new, but friends, you can safely purchase these items used and give them new life. 

A few tips for buying thrifted pillows:

  • I only buy pillows with a removable cover {or a cover that will be easy to cut off and remove}
  • I stick with down-filled pillows whenever possible
  • When you bring your pillow home, remove the cover and either wash it or add it to your donate pile
  • Bag up your pillow in a trash bag, seal it, and put it in your freezer overnight 
  • or throw it in your dryer on high for 20-30 minutes
  • if it's sunny outside, let your pillow get bleached out in the sun for a few hours to kill any remaining germs

Easy to Make Cricut Explore Thrift Store Decor

cricut explore thrift store decor

How to Upcycle a Pillow from a Thrift Store


Don't miss my tips for buying thrifted pillows!

It's been said that throw pillows are the grown woman's stuffed animal. You really can't have too many! I like being able to create whatever type of pillow I want for any season or reason. 

cricut infusible ink pillow

I used a pillow insert from my local thrift store and Cricut Pillow Case Blank for Infusible Ink

Want to know more about using Cricut Infusible Ink? Check out this post.

I used Cricut Access Premium and selected an already designed image and resized it to fit on my pillow and then used my Cricut Explore to cut it out.

weeding infusible ink

A few tips for using Cricut Infusible Ink:

  • Don't worry about weeding the image in its entirety. There will be some paper pieces left behind, don't overthink it, those won't transfer.
  • Crack the image on the lines to help you weed your image.
  • Don't forget the butcher paper! Follow the instructions Cricut has for using Infusible Ink and you'll do just fine!
Use your Circut EasyPress to effortlessly get the Cricut Infusible Ink to adhere to your Infusible Ink Pillow Blank. Then stuff your thrifted pillow inside, zip it up and you're in business! If you want to be fancy, you could make two images, one on each side of your pillow so it's reversible! 

Everything you see in this picture was bought second-hand! The lockers were $10! from a garage sale years ago, the chair was $5 and it's a classic mid-century modern chair that I love, the brass lamp was $2 and the globe was $5 at a garage sale. I actually painted all of the water on the globe black to make the map really pop! And see that throw? The colors are my favorite! I picked it up at a local thrift shop for $15.

My new thrifted/DIY Cricut Decor pillow makes a great addition to this little nook in my bonus room.

throw pillow in bonus room

How to DIY a Laundry Jar from a Thrift Store Jar


Jars and glassware are a dime a dozen at your local thrift store. They are often a blank slate and offer you a creative world of possibilities. This is probably the easiest project to get started with because you'll find plenty of jars to use.

Start by finding a jar. I wanted to use laundry soap in mine and wanted to make sure mine had a lid.
Once you know what vessel you'll be working with, find the image you want to use in your Cricut Access Premium and resize it to fit.

Let me take a second to tell you how much I love the Circut Access Premium. It's so easy to use and takes out the hours upon hours of designing I was doing with my Silhouette. I had a Silhouette for years before I got a Cricut. Want to know which one I think is better {and why?!}? 

If you want to just be able to start creating quickly and using your Cricut machine from the get-go, get Cricut Acces Premium. You can try it for a month and decide if you love it as much as I do.

I am constantly using my Cricut weeding tool to help get out those little spots of Cricut Premium Vinyl that like to hang around after your first big pass when you weed your image. Use transfer tape to transfer your image and use firm pressure and your XL Cricut Scraper to help get the vinyl from the transfer tape to your jar.

laundry room jar with vinyl
It's as easy as that to make a really fun decor piece in any room in your home!

cricut laundry room jar

How to DIY a Sign using Thrift Store Art


You can never have enough signs! Art and frames can be expensive, but not if you know how to DIY them from thrift store finds! A lot of people will get rid of old pictures that just don't match their decor anymore, but you can get creative with a little paint and some vinyl and you can DIY a thrift store sign for just a few bucks!

My favorite place to shop for art and frames is at Goodwill Outlet. If you've only ever been to your local Goodwill store, Goodwill Outlet is a treat! It's really a treasure hunt and will have you digging through bins to get clothing and home decor items that will cost you by the pound!

If you've never shopped at Goodwill Outlet, here are some tips for you!

Art and frames are an exception. At our local Goodwill Outlet, regardless of the size, they are .25 cents. I found the small frame brand new with the corner protection still on it and the larger frame had an ocean scene I knew I could easily paint over.

goodwill outlet frames
I knew I wanted to keep the white frame from the small artwork and decided to paint the blue ocean using FolkArt acrylic paint. You don't need much, but you will need a few layers of it, so make sure you let it dry and keep painting your acrylic paint until you no longer see the image through the paint.

I did the same thing with the large art piece and painted the inside with white acrylic paint and then once it was dry, I taped around the inside edge and painted the frame with black acrylic paint. 

Pro Tip:

Add a layer of Mod Podge to your art piece where you want to transfer your vinyl image to help the image transfer easier.

mod podge vinyl transfer

I found an image I liked in Cricut Access Premium and resized it to fit just inside my small white frame. I used Cricut Transfer Tape, my Cricut Weeder, and my Cricut EZ Scraper to help transfer my Cricut Premium Vinyl to my frame.

cricut small frame
Just a little vinyl and you've got yourself a new sign for your bathroom!

wash your hands cricut sign

The larger sign was a little more complicated because I needed to slice the image so that I could cut it on my Cricut Explore. Cricut limits your cut size to 11.5x23.5, even if you are using the large 12x24" mat {which I highly recommend you getting!}. I'll give you the full tutorial on how to cut a large image later, but assuming you know how, or you want to use an image that fits into the pirameters sets, you can cut your vinyl and be on your way!

For me, this "puzzle cut" required two large 11.5x14" cuts and another cut with the two bottom lines you can see pieced together. I used Cricut Transfer Tape and pieced the image together before I transferred it to my sign. 

laundry vinyl sign cricut
I really like how this sign turned out. Remember this frame was .25cents and I used Cricut Premium Vinyl and a design from Cricut Access Premium {no design required!} to create it!

laundry art

"Stamped" Book Stacks


Creating a faux stamped book stack is easy using your Cricut and some thrift store finds! The best books have a small {mostly} blank page a few pages into the book that will be your new cover. Take the outside cover and peel it back. It should remove fairly easily and then tear out the first few pages until you get to the blank page that will be your new cover.

stamped book stacks

Use Mod Podge on the spine of the book where you will be putting your cut vinyl. This will not only hold the pages of your now cover-less book in place, but it will also give your vinyl something to grip on to.

Cut out your vinyl. I simply designed mine in Cricut Design Space and used the free fonts that were available. Make sure you use the right align and measure how tall you want your letters so they aren't bigger than the spine on your book. I also like to keep the letters and words grouped together in the individual text as they will appear on the book spine so that I have the correct spacing and don't have to eyeball it.

Use transfer tape to transfer your letters onto the spine of your book. Use string or twine to wrap your books together and stack them up around your house for a fun display.

stacked books faux stamped

Display your stacked books around your house for inexpensive thrift store decor with a fun DIY twist!

love you more stamped book stack

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I hope you liked seeing all the various possibilities that you can create just by shopping at your local thrift store and using your Cricut cutting machine! You'll have plenty of fun home decor for a fraction of the price that genuinely reflects you and your personality!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

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