Over the past year or so I have really fallen in love with upcycling old furniture into something I can use in my own home! When I first started I wasn’t sure where to start and I was so nervous about doing the wrong thing, but I quickly learnt that its so enjoyable and any mistakes can be easily sanded away!
So here’s my beginners guide to get you started on your own exciting projects!
Where can I buy secondhand furniture to upcycle?
I have two preferred go-to places when I am looking for secondhand furniture; local Facebook selling sites and our local tip – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
I have managed to get some really great pieces from Facebook selling pages, my favourite to date was this corner TV unit that I was actually lucky enough to get for free! (Kitten not included!)
I hugely recommend checking out your local ‘Things for sale’ page as you never know what you mind find. These pages are particularly great as users are quite often looking for a quick sell and therefore are very open to offers, most of the furniture I’ve bought online I have managed to get for a discounted price – haggle haggle haggle!!
When I’m feeling adventurous I also love to visit my local tip, we have a charity shop set up on site where all sorts of once loved treasures are sold for a very low price. Its great fun spending an hour or so sifting through what they have to offer, I’ve managed to pick up all sorts of things from an antique writing desk for £30 to a wooden chair for just £4! It’s well worth popping down to your local tip for a rummage on a rainy afternoon, and you can be satisfied too knowing that you’ve helped a local charity at the same time!
How much should I pay for secondhand furniture?
How much you choose to spend really depends on the quality of what your buying and how much you want it! When I first started buying secondhand furniture for projects I was keen to keep my spenditure low as I was wary that the cost of materials can stack up when you first start out and if you’re looking to sell the piece once its complete you will want to make as much profit as possible.
Most of the furniture I tend to buy is often slightly damaged or the seller is looking to get rid ASAP so this brings the price down a lot! Be aware of people selling furniture on Facebook pages with particularly high prices, I have seen users trying to sell old pine bedside units for £40 each – always do your research to see what similar items are selling for, Gumtree is a good place to do this. I recently bought two matching good quality pine bedside cabinets for £15 so it really is possible to get a bargain if you look for it!
What do I need in my tool kit to upcycle furniture?
Sander & Sandpaper
Before you start your project you will need to sand down each section you wish to paint or varnish, this can be time consuming when you are excited to get painting however it really does enhance the end result. I use a Detail sander for small sections and then a Belt sander for larger surface areas, I tend to use a fine to medium grain sandpaper as you only want to take the original finish off and smooth out any slight lumpy bumpy bits! Be sure remove all dust before you paint – the best way to do this is to use a yellow dusting cloth with a dab of white spirt on it.
Selection of paint brushes
Make sure you have a range of large to small brushes in your kit as well as brush specifically for using varnish. My go-to brushes are simple and affordable from B&Q! One top tip is to make sure you opt for a brush that wont leave stray hairs on your piece, they are often advertised as ‘lossless bristles’.
Brush cleaner – goes without saying!
It really depends on the finish of the furniture you are painting as to weather you will need a primer pain in your kit or not. If I am choosing not to go for a distressed finish I will always prime my piece before I paint. Be sure to buy white wood primer, this can be picked up for about £10 and a little goes a very long way!
The fun part – selecting your paint! There are a variety of paint options available depending on your desired finish. I love a glossed finish so tend to buy wooden gloss paint however Eggshell and Chalk paints are very popular too for the vintage shabby look. Experiment with different styles by picking up cheap tester pots from your local DIY store and testing them out on scrap wood.