Rustic Salvage

Repurposing, Re-using and Recycling Trash into Art

Recycle centers, particularly those that are in rural settings, are a good source of rustic salvage with potential.

Flea market finds, or those odd and quaint unfathomable objects that you find in thrift stores or garage sales can find a new lease on life as a container for garden plants, or as a decorative art focal point.


Rustic salvage is found in trash piles – especially those that have been there behind the barn for a long time.

In the spring once the snow's gone all those piles of junk appear once again, making this a good time to ask if you can check it out.

Old chain has been here so long it has lichen growing on it - now that's patina...

I keep my eyes open on road trips to farm areas especially, and routinely go to garage and yard sales.

If the price is right (free) I usually won’t turn my nose up at anything with rustic craft potential.

Vintage windows, thrift store finds, tin cans for lanterns or old painted furniture, it’s all good. I make the most mundane and at first glance, unusable junk into a unique and interesting craft for my garden, or even in my home.

Rustic and Rustic yard sale finds...

Even a small ad on Craigslist will bring in some rustic salvage.

Most times people don’t recognize what they have, so this is not a sure thing by any means.

I've got antlers by the dozen with one ad in these kinds of publications; if you have a need, someone has a way to fill it.

Antlers, anyone?

Some of the very best rustic salvage is stuff I’ve spotted that someone has in the back 40, rusting away, and says, oh definitely, take it away.

I love that!

I’ve found treasures you can’t imagine in old farmsteads, junk yards, recycling centers and thrift stores.

Once you find some good haunts, keep going back. I cull the ones that want more money than the items worth, or what the heck – try bartering.

Some places will purposely have higher prices on some things, just in the anticipation that someone will try for a bargain. It’s fun too, once you get the hang of it.

Don’t take it as an insult if they don’t go for it, just keep trying.

A favorite salvaged item that makes a perfect bracket

Auctions are great places to find odd and unusual items, but don't get carried away and pay too much - it's the one drawback to country auctions, especially those that are put on by certain auction houses as everything is 'as is, where is' meaning that there are no refunds.

Make sure you know the value of what you're bidding on by doing some research.

Estate sales are where the family of a deceased relative sells off everything that might be worth anything at all.

These sales, especially those in the country are a valuable source of great finds - usually sold for pennies on the dollar.

If you're a savvy salvager, then this might be for you.

There has to be a reason for reality shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers and now Canadian Pickers to be so popular.

Everyone loves a bargain, and even more so if they can feel like they got the best of it – by selling you some rustic salvage that they had no use for.

Don’t let them see what you make out of it, or you’ll never get another opportunity to fleece them!

The other leg of the old school bench - see the picture with the wind chimes for the other...

Don’t pass up the chance to recycle old barnboards for crafts, shabby chic furniture or other salvaged art. Repurposing rustic old things into interesting and useful garden items is a lot of fun - join in the junk gardening trend.

Blue Fox Farm loves rustic salvage...

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