Hello! I bet you didn’t know that it’s the second ever National Upcycling Day coming up this Friday 24th June did you? Or that it even existed? I only came across it last year. It was started by Gumtree I believe, with the help of the upcycling king himself, Max McMurdo. If you haven’t heard of him, you may well know his face. He’s appeared on various TV programs including one of my fave’s, Kirsties Fill Your House For Free and George Clarkes amazing spaces. What this man can do with a load of old junk is just incredible. Up Cycling, reloving, repurposing, doing up old stuff, whatever you want to call it, it’s everywhere these days and I for one, love it. I think my first ever project was probably an old chunky pine chest of drawers that once belonged to my grandad. He used to use it for keeping all his tools in when I was a little girl, then it got passed to my mum who used it in the cellar for storage. Then I got hold of it and gave it some TLC. I lovingly sanded it and waxed it and used it in my bedroom. Over the years it ended up back with my mum and due to downsizing it’s sadly left the family. In more recent years, I’ve acquired lots of pieces which I’ve renovated. Here’s a few pics of previous projects. As it was pre-blog I didn’t take many photos, especially the before and during ones.
This was a standard lamp I bought at auction a few years ago. I painted the stand in a grey eggshell, then with my mums help, covered the old shade with new fabric, trimming and my favourite purple dangly beads. It’s not a great photo.
This piano stool was another auction buy, I think I paid about £5 for it.
I stripped the old paint off.
Then repainted it and covered it in new fabric with more dangly beads!
This chair was waiting to be loved for so many years. There were originally four chairs which me and my hubby bought from a market in Kent before we got married. They lived under the carport for a while then moved house with us 3 times until I finally got round to starting them. On closer inspection, three of them were just too badly eaten by woodworm and beyond repair which was a huge shame. I’d always hoped they’d end up around my dining table. Anyway, one survived, so I cleaned, sanded and repainted it. I gave it a couple of coats of wax, then got my father in law to cut a piece of mdf to size to fit the chair base.
I bought some foam, covered it in wadding then covered it in fabric. Ta-dah!
And here it lives in our bathroom. I’d always wanted a chair in the bathroom.
This dresser used to live in a garden centre for displaying merchandise. When they were selling it off we snapped it up. It was a dark wood, and didn’t really go with the look I wanted for the dining room. It was a big job but I sanded, primed and painted it all up.
The bottom cupboards were open and looked a bit messy so I made these little curtains and also the bunting for the top. Since then, I’ve lined the back of each of the top spaces with Cath Kidston wallpaper which looks lovely.
This dressing table was about to be taken to the tip. I couldn’t let that happen now could I?
Ever since I was a little girl I’d imagined brushing my hair and putting on my makeup sitting at a beautiful dressing table. Space had always been tight before but in this house we’re lucky to have a good sized room. It took many coats of Laura Ashley eggshell, but eventually it was finished. I especially like the big round mirror.
I love this picture of my friends little girl sitting up at it, so cute.
This chair was just £3 at auction and was crying out for a makeover.
I painted it pale blue.
Then I decided to make it unique and deco patch the seat. I was really pleased with the result.
I’ve done various other bits of furniture too but there’s no photos of those.
The three elements that attract me to upcycling are
a) I love that it’s so unique, nobody else has one the same.
b) Knowing that you’ve given a perfectly good piece of furniture a new lease of life and saved it from landfill.
c) That it’s so cost effective, you know how much I love a bargain.
What makes it even better is all the paint I’ve used for all of these projects is also recycled. We have an amazing place locally called Recipro. It used to be called RePaint but joined forces a couple of years ago with Recipro to bring a whole collection of building materials and paint under one roof that have all been donated either by companies or individuals. Most of the paint has been used, so they’re marked up with how much paint is left, usually at least half a tin but it’s all perfectly good to use. They charge just £1.20 per litre, how good is that? There are all kinds of paint and all different brands. I’ve bought Farrow & Ball and Laura Ashley stuff many times. Obviously you can’t pick and choose your exact shades like you can in the diy stores but that’s the only downside. Also you have to make sure you have enough to finish the job otherwise you might not be able to get your hands on any more.
My most recent project is these 2 cute chairs.
They were rescued by my father in law from an old school and used by my hubby and his brother when they were kids. They’ve been in their garage ever since and now they’re ours to love and care for. My hubby took the boards off the backs as we think they look better without them. As Jude’s room and his playhouse in the garden are both pale blue and I conveniently had a tin of pale blue eggshell, that’s what I did.
But I wasn’t content just leaving them plain. I decided to grab some masking tape and some white paint and cover them in random stripes.
About 7 coats later (!!!) it was time to peel off the tape. Oops!
I must invest in some low tack tape! I carried on peeling off all the tape and though it wasn’t quite what I’d envisaged, I decided to touch up the very worst bits and embrace the whole distressed/shabby chic look.
After a good wax, here they are.
And in their respective homes..
I have had this chair on my to do list for about 3 years, if not more.
It lives on our landing and needs some attention. I’m not quite sure if my talents are at this level yet. I’d love to be able to do this myself and it needs to be a proper statement piece but I’ve not been inspired by anything yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when the time comes.
Now, if upcycling is your kinda thing, then why not use Friday #nationalupcyclingday as the perfect excuse to get creative and give something you already own a new reason for living?