Thrift Store Makeover and Bleaching Wood

It’s a New Year and a new Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge! We took a few months off for the holidays, but we are back to show you more upcycled thrift ideas! This time we have joined forces with even more bloggers and have tons of thrifty upcycle ideas to get those wheels spinning.

Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge

The Rules:

  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
  • There’s no monthly theme.
  • There’s no budget to stick to.

Meet the Hosts

Amanda | The Kolb Corner    Maureen | Red Cottage Chronicles    Kim | Made in a Day
Dru | Polka Dot Poplars    Erlene | My Pinterventures    Colleen | Life on Kaydeross Creek
Pili | Sweet Things  Shirley | Intelligent Domestications    Ann | Duct Tape and Denim
Debra | Shoppe No. 5    Marie | DIY Adulation    Chelsea | The Johnsons Plus Dog
Jes | My DIY Envy    Lindsay | Crazy Organized     Molly | Just a Little Creativity
Ashley | 3 Little Greenwoods    Kimm | Reinvented    Michelle | Our Crafty Mom
Ali | Home Crafts by Ali    Sue | A Purdy Little House
Sara | Twelve on Main      Claire | Pillar Box Blue     Chelc | Inside the Fox Den    Kim | Farmhouse Made       Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled     Sherry | Savvy Apron    Jennifer and Vicki | 2 Bees in a Pod
Lora | Craftivity Designs    Megan | C’mon Get Crafty
Denise | My Thrifty House    Toni | Small Home Soul    Deborah | Salvage Sister and Mister

Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!

I love a good thrift store makeover challenge, when other bloggers get involved, and you get to see who finds what and wonder why you didn’t think of that! Usually when I go thrifting, I find a ton of random junk that I am uninspired by. For this trip and this challenge, I really wanted to find something that I could use to decorate my fake-mantle-Ikea-cubby-bookshelf, a chandalier for Lilly’s bedroom, or a piece of furniture I could actually flip and use in our bedroom.

The thrift I went to is so stinkin’ cute! If you live out in Chester or Lancaster County, it’s called  Country Gift & Thrift Shoppe, and you must go because they have a ton of nice clothes, handmade quilts and pillows, sewing and quilting items, antiques, aisles and aisles of kitchenware, nice toys, and lots of books.
Maybe because I had Edie with me, my creative juices were literally nonexistent, because I was stumped after taking a few laps around the two floors of goodies.

Behold…  these are what I found lurking next to a row of shopping carts!

These were so in need of a thrift store makeover! You won't believe what they look like now!

These poor things were so Nina Garcia Sad looking, and at $4 each, I had to bring them home.

I should mention also, this post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.

My original plan was to just paint them with the sprayer, replace the fabric, then pop them in the playroom for some stools or something the kids could use. The more I looked at that horribly orange color, the more I wanted to try bleaching the wood.

Bleaching Wood for a Thrift Store Makeover

Did you know that’s a thing? I am not fluent in woodworking speak, but I am fluent in “oh my Lord, that wood stain is hideous.” There are different methods of attack when bleaching wood; peroxide, oxalic, and chlorine bleaches.

I went with a basic Clorox bleach and water mix, because I’m super cheap and I’ve never done it before. There are other bleaches available for bleaching wood, like oxalic acid and 2 part kits, but for an $8 thrift store makeover, I figured some good old Clorox would suffice.

This wood is so gorgeous now - it's a thrift store makeover with bleach!!

Both stools (or footrests?) were sanded lightly and wiped down, then on top of a trash bag I went ahead and painted on the bleach. Straight up. Not a whole lot happened after I left it on for an hour. Womp.

This thrift store makeover looks amazing! Have you ever tried bleaching wood?

Andrew had the genius idea to soak the stools in our trash can with water and bleach mixed. Light bulb moment, folks. I mean, seriously.

This is a thrift store makeover for the books! Check out how to bleach wood and make your thrift store makeover amazing!

Timers set, I did each half of the stool for about 40 minutes, and to my surprise it brightened up amazingly!  All that funky stain was gone, and the wood was a nice bone shade.

Thrift store makeover with bleach! WHAT!? It looks amazing, you need to see the before!!

After a good rinse, I let them dry over night and realized I had to seal the wood somehow. So, I decided this would be a great time to try white wax.

Can I just say that I’ve never even waxed furniture before?
I’ve never waxed furniture before.

Waxing my Bleached Thrift Store Makeover

I’m glad my friend Lisa at The Purple Hydrangea is a literal furniture makeover maven, because I was floating around in uncharted waters, in terms of wax. When I thought wax, I thought it’d be the consistency of… you know… wax. But she assured me things would be fine, and they absolutely were!

For my very first toe-dip into waxing territory, I went with this kind and used a brush I already had.

First time waxer here! Thrift store makeover, and bleach, and wax! This project looks AMAZING!

Wax on. Wax off.

It’s super soft as it dries, though not a true white; it’s more of an antique white, which was fine for this project.

This white wood is so gorgeous - it's a thrift store makeover with bleach!!

Yaaaas. Is this not gorgeous!?

This white wood is so gorgeous - it's a thrift store makeover with bleach!!


Recovering my Waxed Bleached Thrift Store Makeover

Armed with my staple gun, a drop cloth, scissors, and perma-tape, I used the original cover to make a pattern for my new cover. Hemmed the edges, turned down the ends and stapled the new cover to the frame.

This wood is so gorgeous now, and that fabric is gone! It's a thrift store makeover with bleach!!

This white wood is so gorgeous - it's a thrift store makeover with bleach!!

I am sure the kids will beat it up and it’ll need a new seat, or wood top for a stool or little table in the playroom, but for now, it’s adorable in the kids reading nook.

This white wood is so gorgeous - it's a thrift store makeover with bleach!!


This white wood is now so gorgeous, the before is horrible! It's a thrift store makeover & Thrift store upcycle challenge with bleach!! #RepurposeIt

And now for more thrifty goodness!

Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!


  1. I would have never in a million years thought to bleach that that stool…..but I looks AMAZING!!!!!! I cannot even believe how different it looks. What was so dated and ugly is now totally on trend and completely fabulous. Way to go!!!!! Now I want to wax all the things-

  2. You hit this Thrift Store makeover out of the park girlfriend. I love how all the white wax settled into all those little crevices in the wood.

    So dreamy looking. I can’t wait to see what you rescue next month.

    Ciao for now!


  3. Well, you learn something new every day, I didn’t know you could bleach wood. I love this idea and it makes a change from painting dark wood, I will definitely be trying it out. Thanks

  4. The idea to make the end tables using picture frames appeared in BH &G Magazine in the 1960’s. Still have my camp stools from 1973 and the picture frames purchased to complete them. Repaired both of the stools for my daughter to use at Girl Scout Camp. Alas, the fabric needs replacing again before they finally become end tables in my retirement apt. The stools cost me 3.50 each new, so they have have seen a lot of use for very little investment!

  5. I plan to buy a suitcase rack which has the same orange ugly color and yours and this bleach trick could work for it too. Thanks for the inspiration, pinned to remember! I love the weathered look it has!
    I’d love if you share it on our link up party too so others can be inspired as well.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  6. I have to be honest, I had never heard of bleaching wood. I am amazed at the result! It’s gorgeous! I will definitely look at darker furniture in a different way now.

  7. Oh my gosh this is so brilliant!!! (you get three !!! because it’s that good 😀 ) It looks lovely and one day I will try a colored wax on something too. The new seat cover was a must because all that orange had to GO.

    Oh, and can I say that I love that blue rug, it’s beautiful!

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