Up-Cycling and Refurbishing Furniture

Up-Cycling and Refurbishing Furniture

Up-cycling and refurbing old furniture is a great way of beautifying your home and keeping it unique whilst making it affordable to do. Take this 1950’s chest of draws for example, I was given this for free, it was actually on its way to the dump when it caught my eye!

I can imaging it wasn’t a very expensive item back in its day, the back is not solid wood and the sides and top are very thin wood. Although because of it’s style it appealed to me and I decided to bring it back from the dead with funky colours and a total makeover to show you what can be done.

I wanted this chest of draws to be bright, cool and rejuvenated without ridding it of it’s 1950’s style. I chose to paint the frame of the draws cotton white and make each draw stand out by painting them different colours. I went for yellow, red, grey and white as these colours complement each other and work really well on a retro piece like this. I had to have a think about the draw knobs, I liked the shape of them, they add to the overall design of the draws but they were scratched and tatty and the tacky faded gold look did not go with my new look look draws.

I thought the most eco and financially viable option would be to paint the knobs. I found some black vinyl spray paint and gave them a few coats of paint through out the day for all over coverage.

A FEW TIPS for first time up-cyclers:

  • Sand before you paint, you need to create a ‘key’ in the wood for the paint to adhere to.
  • If you are painting rather than bee’s waxing or re-varnishing you don’t have to sand right down to the bare wood, just enough to create a smooth ‘key’ surface.
  • Brush off the sanded surface and wipe with a damp cloth before attempting to paint, and give the surface time to dry. If you don’t the dust sucks up loads of paint and your surface with not be smooth when the paint’s dry, it will be lumpy. Plus you will go through paint quickly and waste your money.
  • I recommend using a water based acrylic wood paint, they come in a massive range of colours now, they are easier to use than oil based. They wash out of brushes with water rather than white spirit, they dry quicker and don’t stay tacky for days like they’re chemical, oil based counterparts. You also don’t need to spend your money on a brand name, most DIY stores make their own label paint and this is fine to use.
  • Most water based acrylic paints are touch dry in two hours and ready for a second coat in four hours. You will usually need to use two coats with most paints, although painting a very light colour onto dark wood or bright colour onto light surface may take more coats.
  • When painting only load your brush with a small amount of paint at a time, overloading results in runs and getting paint all over you! Go with the grain of the wood in long sweeping strokes.
  • When spray painting, again take long sweeping stokes. Don’t overload one area, you will get runs. Wear a mask, it is not good to breathe in chemicals. The spray always goes a lot further than you would expect, it get’s everywhere! So be prepared with dust sheets on the floor and walls if spraying inside. If spraying outside you will be surprised how many bugs you get stuck to your paintwork!

What do you think of my makeover job on these draws?

Get involved and give up-cycling a go, It’s really good fun and it’s the best way to make your home unique and interesting. Its saves you cash and it helps save carbon and saves re-usable items from ending up in landfill. Get in touch with any questions and I would love to see pics of your DIY upcycling!

I’ve just acquired an old chair which I will be re-upholstering so check back soon for hints and tips of how to Do It Yourself!

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