Breathing New Life Into A Vintage Pin Collection

I often see rad vintage pins and buttons when I’m picking, but I hadn’t seen anything like this cool framed Lions Club pin collection. I loved it immediately despite the fact that it was in very sad condition. The cloth backing was moth eaten and worn thin. The frame had seen better days, but the pins were interesting and colorful, so I brought it home to try and give it new life! I tried to gather all my supplies at a thrift shop rather than buy anything new. Upcycling rules!

The “Before” shot



1. Excavation: I carefully removed all the pins and stored them in a box while I looked for a suitable piece of fabric and a new frame. This took a little while because I was trying to make it look good while sticking to the thrift store for supplies.

2. Gathering your supplies: 

  • New frame: I scored a new frame at my favorite thrift store for 50 cents. I chose a frame that has little metal tabs around the edges that you push down to secure the picture because this feature makes it easier to secure the frame at the end.
  • New fabric backing: I also found a piece of felt for 10 cents at the thrift store that was a cheerier shade of green than the faded green of the old fabric background. I stuck to green because it made the pins pop, but you can use any color you love.
  • A piece of thick card stock or a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the frame: The frame had a piece of thick card stock in it advertising the frame’s many virtues. Bonus!
  • A stapler and staples: I had these on hand!
  • A pair of scissors: don’t worry about the sharpness. They can be any old scissors. The edge of the fabric will be on the back of the frame and not visible from the front. Nothing fancy, unless you are a perfectionist.
  • A marker for marking.
  • Optional: Tape, hammer & nails, measuring tape/ruler.

3. Measuring and cutting:

  • Cut the cardboard/card stock to fit the frame. My card stock already fit the frame, but if you are cutting a piece to size, carefully take the glass out of the frame, place it over the piece of backing and use a marker to trace the edge of the glass. Please be careful! Glass is sharp.
  • Cut the fabric! Make sure the piece of fabric is about half and inch or more longer than your card stock/cardboard. This is so you have enough space to staple.
  • Pull the fabric over the edge of the backing you’re using and staple each corner as close to the edge as possible. Depending on how wide the edge of your frame is. I stapled around the edge so that the frame would hide the staples in the finished product. Then staple all the way around while making sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric.

4. Laying out your design:

This is where you can get REALLY creative. I chose to go free-style and did not measure out the pins or anything. If you want a more precise look, then use a measuring tape to lay the pins out and a marker to mark the fabric.

5. Put the finished piece in the frame and secure the edges. Depending on the frame you chose, you could use nails, tape or more staples.

The “After” shot:image


This project came in under $10 including the pins and has brightened my bookshelf!

I’d love to see how yours looks after revamping! Send in a picture!


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