Sunday, July 8, 2012

HOW TO turn fun into functional!

I'm a functional girl, (Hmm I feel like I should re-word that…) I prefer an item that serves a purpose over an item that doesn't -any day! Knick-knacks are my worst enemy! That being said, I'm an appreciator of art, and as long as art serves its purpose of being interesting/beautiful/thought provoking, I'm absolutely happy with it.

But then there are fun items. Items that maybe aren't quite 'art' and don't fully serve a function other than you love them! Take me for example, I have a fascination for vintage handkerchiefs, the beautiful patterns, the tedious embroidery, the stories behind them..oh my! True I could use them, but to me in their own way they are art and therefore un-functional. In fact, I tend to store them in a bag to ensure they don't get dirty-making them not only un-functional, but cluttering as well! The handkerchief situation was simply remedied by placing them into frames creating beautiful vintage wall art. Functional? Maybe not. But they are beautiful and my collection is now a focal point, without being in the way, and that is a win-win!
dear wallet handkerchief art So how can you turn your collection into something functional? Depends on what you collect, and your definition of functional!
Here are a few popular collectables:
-Disney pins
-cheese grater

In my opinion, beauty is functional so finding the perfect way to display your collectibles is the hard part! But if you're less concerned with the antique/vintage-ness of your items there is always a fun way to turn something fun into something functional!

Vintage stamp collecting is a huge trend, as are other paper collectibles! Cards, advertisements, postcards, posters etc! Vintage papers are fun and easy to preserve by placing in a frame or album! To get some great use out of your items, try using them in place of scrapbook paper in your albums or in any paper craft! They give your projects a one-of-a-kind look that can only be accomplished using vintage items, and not only do you have an excuse to look at them every day: but they have served a purpose as well!

I've slowly been succumbing to the Disney pin craze, my own collection sits at 9 pins total (after some savvy Ebay shopping of course!), and barely counts as a collection, but I did inherit my Grandmothers brooch collection as well! I've seen people break these apart to create absolutely stunning jewelry and hair accessories, but you can decorate frames, hats, finials, even use them as door pulls on your dresser!

Keys are incredibly popular to collect, and how can your resist? Old skeleton keys have too much character for their own good: which is why they make incredible starting points for jewelry, accessory and key chains! String them together to create dramatic garlands or curtains, decorate purses or frames, or create collages on canvas! Imbed into concrete to create unique stepping stones or use as stamps for your paper crafts!

Many altered arts use vintage book pages, these can be used in place of scrapbook paper as well! Going beyond the typical crafts how about a book clock, a book shelf, or creating a media center holder from one. Want to keep it intact? Try placing on a high shelf to create a border around a room, place underneath a short lamp to create height when needed, or stack on the floor covering with a piece of glass to create a great side table!

Vintage dishes are beautiful pieces of art! Perfect for displaying in cabinets (which tend to take up room...), or on the wall! Try for a large wall-scape and see how it transforms your room! Tea cups look adorable sitting on top of each other, and make cute water fountains, bird feeders, or lamp bases! Fill with wax to make great smelling candles, smash apart to mosaic a lovely table top!

Figurines collections can grow quickly, thankfully their little shapes are perfect for re-crafting into just about anything! Lamp bases, decorate frames, light pulls, carve out to create trinket boxes, use as plant signs to specify type, jewelry, bookends etc! The possibilities are endless!

I know the cheese grater might seem a little random (at least it did to me!) but in fact they are extremely popular to collect! Perfect for turning into a great kitchen hanging light, or even on a string of christmas lights at your next party! Home goods are great to creating a homey flea market look to your home, turn items into a vase, cut up to create jewelry, or create storage, even add a coat of chalkboard paint to any item to instantly turn it into a fully functional memo board!

I don't fully endorse 'destroying' vintage items, but many vintage items are simply that: old. Before jumping into a project head first, take the time to check out your items story to ensure you're not destroying an item worth thousands of dollars, or a family heirloom!

I do however endorse thinking outside the box! Take the time to consider what you need in your home, or something you already have and want decorated. Also take the time to consider what the item means to you, and why you like it. Maybe its the color, the soft yellow makes you smile, so make sure you add that item to a room that needs some cheering up or has a yellow color scheme! Maybe its the shape, consider a bit of spray paint and a trip to the hardware store to create a whole new item that keeps the integrity of the shape. Turning something fun into functional can be as easy as screwing it to your dresser to make a knob pull, or as elaborate as building a water fountain! Be creative, and have fun!

Stay tuned this week for a tutorial post that inspired this how to segment! Didn't see your collectable on this list? Let me know! Lets keep adding to this and make a great resource for anyone interested in turning their fun item into a functional one!

ariana neala dear wallet


  1. What great ideas! I have a collection of vintage hankies, too . . . must try this! :)

  2. For how often I go to Disneyland, I really need to get my collection going! And I'm in love with vintage dishes. Great ideas!


  3. Thanks for stopping by! I will be adding more and more to it to keep the ideas flowing!

  4. Thanks! I'd love to see what you come up with! I wish I could go to Disneyland often-LOVE that place! =)


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