How to Use Your Flea Market Finds

Check out these 12 unique accessories created from flea market finds and interesting antiques.
Alicia K. Clavell

With $100 in pocket, our Homes editors scoured antiques stores and flea markets to find innovative accessories, each less than $10. Not only did we discover more than 10 items, we also found nifty ways to use them around the home. Discover new and interesting uses for your own attic treasures or flea market finds. See the beauty of old objects. Here are a few ideas that are sure to inspire.

Put a Stop To It
A rusty bracket makes a grand door prize. Prop open your door with a heavy bracket (we found one for $3 at a local antiques market) turned on its side. Buy a pair of brackets to use as bookends, or hang several to hold up a small wall shelf.

Bottled Beauty
Suspend a series of recycled bottles from copper wire to create a mobile. (We purchased ours for $1 each, but you can use ones you already have.) Cut soft-drawn bare copper wire to desired length, and shape into swirls to create top of mobile. Cut thin wire to various lengths, and use to secure bottles. Fill bottles with water and fresh flowers.

Pitcher This
Make a fresh display the center of attention--literally. Fill a bowl or pitcher (our aluminum pitcher was a fabulous find for only $10) with fresh flowers, and use as a centerpiece at a summer gathering.

Fishing for Compliments
Put away your prized possessions or even house favorite fishing flies in a bottle carton turned curio cabinet ($5 at a flea market). For a clever look, spray paint the cabinet to match your decor, turn it on its side, and secure to the wall with eyehooks and picture wire.

Alphabet Soup
Scour antiques stores and flea markets for parts of old signs to use as artwork around the house. Lean a letter against your mantel, prop one against a window, nestle it in a bookshelf, or hang it on the wall.

Tray Chic
We really cleaned up with this purchase. A small tole tray found for $5 at an antiques store becomes a decorative soap dish. The tiny tray makes a perfect gift for overnight guests--a remembrance of good clean fun. You can also purchase several small tole trays like this one and hang them as artwork.

Light Look
Delight guests with kitchen utensils turned into candleholders.  Gelatin molds (three for $5) and a cheese grater ($5) were given new life. Place a cheese grater over a lit candle and let light shine through its openings. Group a number of graters for a brilliant effect. Or fill gelatin molds halfway with water and add floating candles. Scatter flower petals among candles. Note: Never leave burning candles unattended.

A Perfect Pot
Turn a toolbox ($10 from an antiques shop) into a garden planter. Plant ivy, seasonal bulbs, ryegrass, or even herbs in the bottom of a toolbox. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage, then add soil and plants.

A Basket Case
A wire basket ($6 from a local antiques shop) was spray painted yellow, allowed to dry, and then filled with plump towels and plentiful bath products. Tuck in a note card with a special message or a favorite book to make guests feel welcome.

Elevating Candles
Candlesticks, made from stately antique balusters, are guaranteed to get you glowing reviews ($5). After their edges were cut to level, the balusters were stood on end atop a small side table. Pillar candles perch comfortably on top.

You Ought To Be in Pictures
Use old tobacco tins or cigar boxes as picture frames. Use a tin (purchased for $9) to hold a photo. Use a pencil to trace the shape of the tin onto the photo, and then cut out the photo just inside the penciled line.

Bookish Charm
Finials make perfect endings for any books. Wrought-iron finials (purchased for $5 and $3 from a flea market) can be used as shapely bookends in a living room. They could also serve as unusual paperweights or decorative accessories on a coffee table.