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Upcycling - An Introduction

Upcycling is the term for repurposing or redecorating unwanted items. Not only is it a great way to add a unique touch to any space, but it also reduces waste and saves you money on home renovations. You have complete control of how each object turns out and they can be tailored to enhance any theme, keeping you productive and creative in your spare time.

Find your item

The first step in any upcycling project is to find an old and tired item that you can envision bringing back to life or repurposing. If you don’t already own a piece for your project then try hunting in charity shops, markets, and carboot sales as this is often where unwanted furniture and décor get flogged at low prices. Something small and wooden is great as a first project– perhaps a decorative mirror, 196608, or a vintage coffee table.

Plan

Examine your new treasure carefully, noting any marks and dents that are going to need fixing and consider what work you’ll need to do before you can decorate it. Sketch out your new design, annotating what materials you’ll be using and take measurements for accuracy. You don’t have to be a fantastic artist as this is just for your own reference. Then come up with a step-by-step plan.

Prepare

Before you can get decorating, you’ll need to prep the surface by sanding it down. Ensure any old coating or lacquer is removed and that the wood is smooth. If it’s a particularly old piece, you may need to glue sections or use fillers for dents and cracks.  A layer of primer will need to be applied on any surfaces that you’re going to paint.

Paint

Now for the fun part. If you’re painting your piece, make sure you place tape over any sections that you don’t want to cover as this will help you avoid mistakes. It’s a good idea to use different paint brushes to get an even coat on intricate designs and small corners. Blackboard paint is a favourite among upcyclers for its vintage and industrial style, allowing your new piece to double as a chalkboard.

Vinyl Covers

Another way to personalise your item is with sticky back plastics. Coming in a variety of styles and patterns, these adhesives can be carefully stuck onto flat surfaces to transform them into glamorous stone, wood, or metal-effect pieces.

Unique

Go even more unique and resurface your table with recyclable materials such as bottle caps and magazine cut-outs, transforming waste into something magnificent. If you’re into games, consider painting a board onto your upcycled table to create a cool multipurpose piece for your den.

Embellish

Once your paint is dry or your adhesives are stuck, you can add finishing touches to your project. If your chosen item has drawers, you can change the handles for a more complementing style like antique or crystal. Raid your craft supplies and tastefully place diamantes, stickers, or stamps over its new surface as the pièce de résistance.

Hang or place your upcycled piece around your home and prepare for the flow of compliments from admiring guests. Then begin the hunt for your next project…

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