Introduction: Weird Projects With Thrift Store Finds

About: I enjoy making tombstones/props from foam and other materials- mainly for Halloween.

This is meant to be more of an inspirational instructable rather than instructions for a specific project; although, I will provide steps for my piece which can only be called "Frankenstein's Monster shakes hands with a Zombie".

So, do you like weird and strange things like I do? Maybe you do or maybe you don't, but either way here's the CHALLENGE:

Go to your local thrift store, find an item, then change/alter it into something YOU like, but hopefully, weird and unusual. Paint it, tear it apart, add to it, use its parts, or whatever you can think of. I would love to see links to your projects in the comments!

In my case, I found a statue of hands shaking for $2. Originally, I just wanted the base/stand for another project; however, before removing the statue, a light bulb appeared above my head and I thought, "What if I made this look like Frankenstein's Monster and a Zombie were shaking hands?" You know, like any normal person.

I'll explain the basics of what I did, but everything you'll need will depend on what thrift store treasure you find and what YOU choose to create! I hope some of the steps I took to make my project start the wheels turning in your head.

Step 1: More Thrift Store Inspiration

A few more weird projects to get the creative juices flowing:

Hack (video):

Found this storytelling bear at the Goodwill. Pretty cool that it was very animated and talked, BUT... paint it up, destroy the speaker and you too can have a knife wielding zombie bear waving its arms, wiggling its ears and chewing on a bone.

Change it up (image 2):

A GREAT looking plastic sculpture of a skeleton that had a ruined base. I removed the old base, created a new one, then painted the once colorful statue with oil rubbed bronze spray paint. Dry brush a few gold or copper highlights and nobody knows it's plastic.

Re-purpose (image 3):

A little ceramic cherub. Why put it on a shelf when it can make a gravestone a little more ornate?

Add a little something (image 4):

Added a skull and some paint to make this little flower holder a little more rusty and creepy. Hot glue makes the skull look like it's welded on.

Step 2: The Process for the Hands

So, I picked up the statue for $2 at the Salvation Army thrift store. I found it listed, but unavailable, on Amazon (Vitruvian Collection Shake Sculpture) and believe it sells for $69.99; however, I made mine priceless!

First, I used some air dry Sculpey clay and applied various sized bumps on the zombie hand. These will become puss filled sores later. I then placed an approximately two inch strip on the Monster's wrist area and created a line in the middle to make it look like an open wound. I blended the sides smooth into the hand.

I had a nice "monster looking" green paint which I applied to the Monster's hand. The zombie hand was painted with a dark purplish concoction I mixed up. The monster nails were paint black and zombies ended up with a yellowish color. The tiniest bit of brown was lightly brushed onto the nails so they wouldn't look too clean.

A darker, blackish purple was then airbrushed over various areas of the zombie hand to imitate bruising. The veins on the zombie hand also got the faintest dry brushing of yellow.

For the Monster's scar, I used a bright red inside the wound and a darker red toward and around the top. I then took off the ends of some staples and glued several across the top of the wound. I think I need to paint them because they look a little too new and clean at the moment.

Now, how to make puss filled sores? I took Elmer's white glue and mixed in a little yellow paint. When applied to all the bumps and after drying, it continued to have a translucent, moist, creamy look. PERFECT!

Step 3: The Base

FYI, the final paints look very faint in the pics, but are more pronounced in person.

The base was originally black. I decided I wanted it to have an old industrial look. I took screws, drilled them into various places, then fill the screw heads with a little putty.

The base was then painted with metallic iron.

I printed out various symbols and warnings for both biological hazards (zombie) and electrical hazards (Frankenstein's Monster), tore little pieces off some of the edges and sand papered some of the image to make them look old and tattered, then glued them onto the base.

A little burnt sienna was then added around the "rivets" and other areas I wanted to look rusty.

The last step is to water down green, yellow, reddish paints and any other you want. Take each color and spread them around, let them drip down, stain the decals. Whatever you want. You'll end up with a rusty metal looking base that has chemicals and other junk all over it. Again, PERFECT!

I hope you were inspired and hope you can find a great, weird project at your local thrift store! Thanks for looking!

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017