project: knick knack update

i’m showing you the after, before. a ten minute project that cost about $2. love it.

i found these little birdies at a local thrift shop. $1 each. they had potential. i could just see it. they wanted me to bring them home and make them fresh and new.

i just brushed on a good coat of turquoise, water-based paint from michaels. such an easy update. and such a happy addition to the corner shelf. i’d like to place them on the coffee table but they wouldn’t last 5 minutes with david around. they’re much safer up on a shelf.

they would also be so sweet in white or cream. knick knacks–love ’em or leave ’em?


  1. I always look for bird figurines when I go thrifting, mostly I paint them white… yours looks fantastic, esp with those lovely old books!

  2. Love it! What a great idea! My grandma had those birds when I was little, they remind me so much of her, but what a fun new take on them!

  3. Love this spin on the knick-knack. After a brutally ugly bout of Victorian-ish decorating, I have drastically decluttered and only kept my books and vintage pottery as decorations. Your post makes me want to rethink that…but it is sooooo much easier to dust and clean now. πŸ˜‰

  4. I saw a blue bird on someone’s bookshelf recently and was enamored with it. How very clever to paint or even spray paint it. Thank you for sharing such an easy fix for some unslightly objects. Maria

  5. I love OTHER people’s knick-knacks, but I can’t stand having them in my own home. I think that they’re really cute, and I understand why people have them, but they’re a pain to move with (something I do a lot of), they’re a pain to clean around (something I only do a bit of ), and you really need to get good ones that match each other if they’re going to look cute and not tacky (something i have never been able to do).
    So, while I REALLY love these little birdies in your house, I don’t think I could handle them in mine.

  6. A very small amount. I have a shelf in the living room w/ lots of cubbies. I like to keep it seasonal. So for that shelf, knick knacks are good. But for the rest of the house I like to keep the horizontal spaces clear.

  7. Leave them…but you give me hope! You have an eye for diamonds in the rough!! I agree with someone above: I HATE to dust!!

  8. I LOVE this idea! I’ve seen a lot of birds like that at thrift stores and never thought to paint them and make them cute/new. Thanks for the idea! I love knick knacks but have small kids so I don’t have many!

  9. I just did the same thing to a few left over plastic easter eggs —-now I have the cutest turquoise eggs atop a nest in a while bird cage that had been yearning for something more updated than the pathetic ivy wrapped candle that had previosly occupied it.

  10. I would usually say leave ’em but then I haven’t got an eye like you! This is a terrific idea! I love that it is so simple and reasonable and something that I could actually do with my skill level and time allotment! Thanks Lisa!

  11. hi lisa,

    love them – love nick nacks!! please show us the rest of your shelf – it looks like a corner shelf?? I have one too – I am always changing stuff around!!

    Great idea to paint the birds all one color!


  12. ok so here’s my question. would you ever consider spray paint? why the water-based paint? i’m just curious cause spray paint is such an easy fix but if the water based paint gives a different feel and texture, i’m all for it. πŸ™‚

  13. Love them – i was thinking of doing a similar thing to decorate a ledge above the couch. I can’t do turquoise, but there are lots of colors to choose from!

  14. Lisa, How do you have time to do all of these things? You must be on the go 24/7. Looks beautiful. What a your favorite thrift shops?

  15. Leave ’em. I love them in other peoples’ houses but in my house I feel too distracted with busyness around me. Plus I hate dusting stuff.

  16. Love ’em, but I leave ’em…..with a 16 month old and a 3 year old, they would never survive. And I just don’t have enough room on shelves and mantles to put anything else. I’d love to use my coffee tables one day for something other than a holder for a lamp and numerous toys and crumbs!

  17. Love them! It’s all about the birds right now, isn’t it. I find myself doodling birds in my journal all the time. You are so creative, thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with your fans!

  18. I love these! I feel like they wouldn’t last long in our house, though – we have an Australian Shepherd and a cat she loves to chase. :/

  19. The birds look great! I love that you painted them turquoise! This is a great inexpensive update. I love the vignette. I like knick knacks in moderation.

  20. What an AWESOME idea. My great aunt gave me a few as a young girl and they never really fit my style. But they would this way!

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  21. we’ve been doing this too…my girls are always looking at stuff and saying “that would look good painted”…they want me to buy everything at the thrift store!

  22. I used to leave them after moving them ALL to dust {my Mother’s} πŸ™‚ but have started to love them a little more – just ones with meaning – not a bunch just to have around collecting dust!! Plus, our home was looking a little minimalist – in a bad way!

  23. I love your spin on them! Wish I’d thought of that when looking through all of my Grandma’s tons of birds just like that when she passed away.

    Knicknacks….I don’t know. I love how they look but we don’t have alot of space in our house right now. It’s not our forever home but it’s paid for so I’m not complaining.

    Plus, with two small kids, things wouldn’t last and I don’t have alot of “up high” space. πŸ˜‰

  24. I love how you can see that those little birds need to be blue. I think I need to start looking at things that way. Very cute! You are inspiring lisa!

  25. totally love them. I like looking for things with potential and then noodling on it for a while until I decide how to use them.

    Your project turned out darling!

  26. I’ve always had a fear of knick-knacks… to tacky for my taste, but this post gives me hope.

    I wonder what tackiness I have hiding that I could transform- my theme for the year is “made new” after all.

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