Friday, September 16, 2016

Unique and unexpected flea market gifts for friends and coworkers!

Remember when part of going back to school meant bringing a gift for your new teacher? And how picking the right gift was so important... It was almost as if that gift was some sort of guarantee that the year would go well (**cough, cough, bribe**) Anyway, I'm not sure if this is still a thing... but I used to love the challenge of finding that unique thing that I knew would surprise and delight; and I still do! But now that everything is accessible to everyone online, finding unique and unexpected items is really tough! That's why I turn to flea markets. I'll show you some of the best and easiest to find "off the shelf" flea market items, as well as some awesome flea market transformation ideas that will have everyone asking "where did you find that!"

Off the shelf gifts to look out for!

Home/desk decor is one of the categories easiest to find in a flea market! Vases and planters of almost any style and material are plentiful, and typically inexpensive enough to pick up a few. Give these as a set, or one at a time filled with flowers! You can also get creative with this... know someone that loves coffee or tea? Vintage teapots, coffee pots, or coffee presses also make great planters!

Another great decor item is framed art, and frames are all over at flea markets. For this you will want to make sure that the frame is intact with glass, unless you are willing to replace the glass yourself. A frame makes a great gift alone, but don't think you can't also find something to put into it! Vintage paper is very popular at the markets, and you will be able to find all sorts of things from art prints, to vintage stationary/greeting cards, and periodicals... all worthy of framing!

Useful items are also very appreciated gifts, and easily found at the flea market! Vintage candy dish is great for holding onto small clips and push pins. A planter, small vase, or even a mug makes a great pencil cup. Book ends, or industrial metal baskets are great for books and files. Small lamps make any desk feel more like home. And believe it or not, piggy banks are great for the desk; think of all the spare change floating around ;D

Flea market flips, gifts to transform

Depending on your skills, this is something that you may want to take on to ensure that your gifts are one of a kind! Let's start with the easiest transformations: paint! You may have seen previous posts where I used spray paint to turn dog themed bookends into some of my favorite pieces ever! Well this can be achieved with just about any metal, ceramic, glass, or wood item you can find; frames, bookends, baskets, cork boards, statues, figurines... If the shape is cute, but the colors or condition turn you off, chances are this is the perfect candidate for this type of transformation!

If you have a sewing machine, you are in luck! Vintage(not antique) fabrics are generally inexpensive items at the flea market, and can be used in so many ways... make a lumbar pillow for a desk chair, mug coozy, Moroccan pouf, or floor pillow. And free patterns for all these can be found all over the web, like my recent post for box corner floor pillow/dog bed!
**Keep an eye out for upcoming post on how to re-purpose a vintage men's sport coat!**

And finally, if you like the power tools... how about creating small custom furniture pieces? We've all seen the vintage suitcase end table, and thought I could do that; yes you can, but why stop at end tables? throw on some shorter legs, and add a tufted pillow on top for a cute ottoman. Speaking of ottomans, find a small one and reupholster it in some fun fabric!

I hope this post got you inspired to find and make some unique and special gifts for you family and friends. In fact I'd love to hear about it; what did you make? and how much did everyone love it? It's time to brag... eh, I mean share!

OK, that's all for now; on to the next project! Want to know what it is? Follow me on twitter for sneak peeks and updates! If you're just looking for DIY inspiration, stayed tuned @ for more on my DIY projects through the year! If you're looking to get some of the items you've seen here, on twitter, or on my boards, check out my etsy shop!

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