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10+ Colourful Upcycling Ideas with Paint Pens

Showcasing our Life of Colour acrylic paint pens on any surface and chalk pens (that can be used and removed) is easy when it comes to upcycling, reusing and reinventing the old into something brand new!

From stone cacti without spikes, toddler frames and glasses made unique, fun and fantastic pieces of furniture - you will be delighted with the amount of items that can be painted on.

DIY Cactus Rock Garden

This DIY Cacti garden is a popular favourite of mine because it’s a fun activity involving painting rocks!

These cacti will never require maintenance and will look great inside or outside. Take a few collected stones and pebbles, paint them, glue them together and place it all together in a small pot - too easy!

What you will need to complete your Cacti Pot is river stones in different shapes (long oval flat ones work out best), Life of Colour paint pens in green shades, pink and white, small pot, hot glue gun, pebbles and sand.

Paint the rocks green with different cacti designs and add white spikes, paint a few pebbles pink. Use a hot glue gun to place the pink pebbles onto the tops of the cacti. All that is left to do now is to fill the pot halfway with decorative sand and add the painted rock cactus and stabilise it with pebbles.

Your rock cactus craft is all done! Now you have a plant that will never need sunshine or water, just the occasional look of glee.

Paint a cool design on a mirror

Is your teen thinking of adding art to their mirror? With the liquid chalk pens, they can do it again and again.

Liquid Chalk Markers are easy to use, long-lasting and washable from any non-porous surface, so you don't have to worry about the mirror's condition after the art session.

Chalk pens are perfect to add colour temporarily onto non-porous surfaces, when you (or the teen) is bored, simply wipe and create new art!

Doodle photo frames

In the age of digital everything, get back to basics and instead of tossing out your picture frames, turn them from drab to fab with a splash of Life of Colour.

The beauty of using chalk paint and Washi Tape in combination together to decorate a frame means that you will be able to remove the decor in the future and reuse the frame again in other ways!

For a bit of fun we decided to use some Washi Tape as a border for our photo of our gorgeous bunch of kids, the patterns on the tape then set the theme that we continued on with using the Liquid Chalk Markers!.

If you wish to go for a more simplistic and sophisticated look, you could choose black and white patterns to personalise your frame to match the photo that you are trying to highlight! A few dots and dashes could be all that is needed to make a difference.

Make awesome wood slices decorations

Make an easy drawer hanger by combining your wood slices and stencils, we have hundreds of designs combined into different sets for those days when you want to be creative and not think about drawing something from scratch.

You can paint on wood slices with paint pens, chalk pens, Silky Stix and more!

This cute drawer decor piece was made by Jaz (13 years old).

Minimalistic pots

Moving forward towards a simple palette of colours and designs is a popular and on trend style. Minimalist art is fairly easy to achieve - choose a couple of colours from your decor that will pair well together and use clean lines as an accent to create your design.

Sticking to black and white paint pens, we were able to achieve a whole new look for our painted pots.

We have a red pot plant holder that has been given a new lease of life with an overlapping fern leaf design.

The pattern was created by painting leaves sitting in different directions that overlay each other- it’s an uncomplicated composition that works well!

Around the base of our white pot we painted a host of black plants, we just stuck to the outlines to keep the design simple yet effective!

Chalk stickers on Sunglasses

Children love a good dress up activity and this one takes the cake for originality! Grab out your Life of Colour Chalk paint markers and a few sets of sunglasses to get the fun started. Paint the glasses in different themes such as flowers, peace signs, Aussie flag, superheroes or just colourful doodle designs and let the kids play!

You could get really creative with these and complete monster eyes, emoji faces, match the book week theme for dress ups - anything that you can think of can be done!

The great thing about using the chalk pens to create the patterns on the glasses is that the paint can easily be removed to add a new look or style over and over again.

Floral painted furniture

Turning trash to treasure is the aim of the game when it comes to giving a piece of furniture a makeover using your Life of Colour paint pens. Whether it’s a wood, metal or glass surface that you are working on, there
is a process to suit anything!

Sketch a simple floral design onto a surface like our wooden shelf and add gentle floral tones from the Life of Colour Brights collection to completely evolve a piece of furniture into a thing of beauty. A set of chairs, a vase or an old kitchen hutch would also really suit this style of up-cycling.

DIY Boho painted candles

A member of our Life of Colour Art Group once posed the question - can you paint a candle?! We deliberated on the subject and with a bit of experimentation we have found the answer to be a big YES!

Consider a number of factors before setting out on this craft journey: use only a “set” candle that has a hard dry surface, ensure that the candle is clean and free of wax shavings, clean your pens off with a damp cloth or towelling once complete, and it is best to avoid painting a candle in near or around heat to protect your pens.

The design process for your candle really is down to the style that suits you the best, we chose a Boho type of pattern with colour combinations that pop!

Dinosaur pencil holder

This idea by Curious Columbus will be any dinosaur fan's favourite!

Draw a dinosaur shape onto an empty milk bottle (or any other plastic bottle with a sturdy base). Cut out the shape using scissors and paint the base colour.

Add googly eyes and decorate your dino. Clare used dyed pistachio shells to mimic dinosaur spots.

Paint your shoes

Shoes by Jaz, mum Daphne Birett

Revamp an old pair of shoes, or get plain shoes to colour in! The fabric pens are permanent and will be the perfect tool to create wearable art on shoes without the mess of liquid paint splattering all over the place.

Try this rainbow drip design as an easy way to begin the shoe hobby - you can also try some of these other designs:

Design by Bea, mum Daphne Birett

Hayley Harding

Paint on your old phone case

If your case has seen better days, you can make sure it gets a second life! First, clean your case using a soft cloth and soapy water. Dry. If it is glossy or already painted on, be sure to prime the case before painting. Next, take out your trusty Life of Colour paint pens and start making art!

These are some vibrant ideas by our resident artist Ella Hore:


Make your own mug

Decorate any plain white mugs lying around with these super easy designs and make coffee time look a little more fun!

A quick dotted rainbow is a great idea to make with the kids. Give each child a mug for them to decorate however they desire!

This retro design allows you to change up the colours and shapes to make it your own. It’s also really unique with the quote “coffee time” lettered on the front.
Use a clear acrylic spray to seal the mug.

Use a clear acrylic spray to seal the mug.

Turn any gift box into decor

It's very easy to DIY craft boxes with cool designs. Little heart boxes like these are a perfect size to do some detailed patterns or simple landscape designs like these. Whether it’s a circle, triangle or square they would work perfectly for a small DIY project like this!

These boxes had already been painted before, so giving them a coat of white before starting makes coverage a lot easier. For a simple design like these, sketch out some outlines and colour in the block areas with paint pen colours of your choice. Outline the shapes with a black fine tip paint pen and colour the “rim” with a colour you have used.

DIY T-Shirt Design

shirt made with life of colour paint pens

Try this unique space design on a plain white shirt! Using the Life of Colour Fluro paint pens you can create these colourful planet illustrations and bold lettering on a wearable clothing item so you can show off your skills. This design easily allows for you to use all of the five colours in the pack as there are so many planets and elements to colour in. Life of Colour paint pens are the ultimate alternative to fluorescent posca pens and the perfect place to get your rock painting supplies available in Australia and New Zealand!

As shown in the picture, uses a black fine tip to outline the shapes. This is not necessary, but the crisp outlining makes the design more structured. Because shirts are a stretchy fabric you might have trouble covering the larger areas, but by doing multiple layers, you can get the colour more vivid and strong. So, try this shirt design as painting on wearable items is just as easy and looks doubly amazing!

Paint your pots with bright colours

Hanging tin can pots with floral art and lace by Eure Ronja

Dot painting pot by Nidhi Pathak

DIY painted pot art by Espression Art

Polka dot painted tin can pots by Kristi Dominguez


Which was your favourite idea? Let us know in the comments of this blog, or show us your creations on social media and our Group!

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