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How to upcycle furniture with paint

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Upcycling is a great way to breathe new life into good furniture – and it’s amazing how a simple lick of paint can completely transform an old chair, chest or table.

Tools for the job


Buying used furniture

  • Have a good idea of what type of furniture you need before heading to car boot sales and markets – and when you see something, picture where it would go in your home. This way you’ll be less likely to buy pieces that aren’t particularly useful.
  • Remember there’s a huge used furniture market online. Many people sell pieces at bargain prices, or even give them away for free on community threads and websites.
  • It's important to be flexible if you’re looking for a really unique piece. Some creative thinking can turn old doors into smaller cupboards, or crates into shelving. For inspiration take a look at DIY and upcycling blogs online.
  • If a piece looks shabby because of a bad or fading paint job, or it has surface scratches, you can easily transform it with a little sanding or painting.
  • Make sure you check furniture is structurally sound for the way you’ll use it. If there are holes in older wooden furniture, it’s probably had woodworm.

How to revamp a coffee table


1. On bare wood, lightly sand the surface and brush off any dust.

 

2. Apply a primer, remembering to stir it well.

 

3. Wait for the primer to dry before sanding down your piece of furniture, ready for the first coat of your chosen colour.

 

4. Paint your furniture evenly for the best finish.

 

5. Wait for the first coat to dry before adding any more coats of paint.

 

6. If you’re adding detail with a second colour, mask off areas that could get splashed with paint.

 

7. Paint smaller areas with a brush and larger areas with a roller to save time.

How to revamp your furniture


1. Gently sand the surfaces removing any rough edges. 

 

2. Remove excess dust using a dust brush.

 

3. Prepare the surface thoroughly, so it’s as even as possible before you prime.

 

4. Once the primer is dry, sand the surface again and remove excess dust.

 

5. Before you begin painting, section off your first coloured stripes with masking tape, starting from the top and working towards your feet.

 

6. Paint the first colour and wait until it’s dry before you put more masking tape on for the second colour.

 

7. Remember to wait until your first coats are completely dry before painting second coats of each colour.

Helpful hint...

Try using a low tack masking tape when working with paint. This will help prevent paint coming off when you remove the tape.

How to paint your shelves


1. Clean and lightly sand the surface of your shelves.

 

2. Remove all dust using a dust brush or vacuum cleaner.

 

3. It’s important to prime and undercoat your shelves for a great finish.

 

4. Once the primer and undercoat are dry, gently sand the surface and brush off any dust.

 

5. It’s time to paint the backdrop to your shelves in your feature wall colour. Before you start, protect your shelves with masking tape.

 

6. Once your feature wall colour is dry, carefully remove the masking tape from the shelves and put it on the wall.

 

7. Now you can move onto painting your shelves.

 

8. Try two coats for a patch-free finish. Wait until the first coat is dry, lightly sand and paint a second coat.

Achieving a personal look

There are lots of ways to give your piece individual character. Many upcyclers choose to fade their new coat of paint with sandpaper. Focus on areas that would be touched the most such as handles. For good quality wood pieces, you could also consider using finishing products such as waxes and varnishes.

Using spray paint can be an effective way to transform metal furniture and it’s much quicker than traditional painting. Wear a mask and remove any rust and chipped paint with a wire brush before sanding. Again, if you want some inspiration you can check out the upcycling community’s bloggers and writers.

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