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Who's been upcycling?

Who's been upcycling?
02/07/2018

Upcycling is huge industry nowadays. Whether your upcycle projects are a hobby or a business venture or even both, it's becoming more and more popular. Cabinets, shelving, hooks, coffee tables, chests you name it, we want to make our own. Makes us unique and stand out from the crowd, as well as giving us a great sense of achievement creating our own pieces. In this article, I wanted to share with you some ideas of where to start if you're new to upcycling.

Here is finished creation! This was a very old very orange wooden sidboard, which has been painted along with the fish tank. Handles are by hafele and can be found here

Upcycled Fish Tank

So where do you start with your upcycle? I'm going to break it down into three small steps for you -

Where to buy furniture or items to upcycle Where to buy materials How to care for your upcycle Where to buy items to upcycle You want to make your expenses as low as possible, especially if you're looking at selling your refurbished item. To do this you want to source your furniture smartly. Here are some ideas -

Family and friends wanting to get rid off old or unused Car boot sales Ebay/ Gumtree / selling sites Facebook marketplace The local tip Charity Shops Local shops for wooden crates * Set yourself a budget and stick to it!

Where to buy material for you to upcycle Now you have found your item, you now need to try and visualize the end result. Colour, finish etc. Remove any handles, hinges, hooks or studs that will be in the way of painting.

For most upcycles you will want to - Clean, sand, prime, paint, wax, fittings. You can buy most of your materials from various hardware stores or online. Any new ironmongery needed you could purchase from a local or online ironmongery specialist. We happen to be a leading supplier or top quality ironmongery if you wanted to take a look www.handles4doors.co.uk.

Cleaning you're upcycle When cleaning most items, you will just want to use something gentle such as warm water and mild detergent and a soft cloth. Always try this first and if it doesn't remove any stubborn dirt then there are other stronger cleaners out there, but you do want to try and avoid these as they can cause damage (I suggest testing a small area first). If you need to use something harsher than a soft cloth, then steel wool is a good option or can use a toothbrush, just don't rub too hard.

Once you have chosen your desired cleaner, use gentle up and down strokes going with the grain of the wood. You must wait for the material to dry thoroughly before moving onto the next stage.

Priming your upcycle The first thing you will want to do is to sand down the surface, make any chips, marks or peeling paint disappear to a smooth flat surface or the best you can. This also creates a rough surface for the paint to stick to and will last longer. It also will remove any scratches or chips or at least make them less obvious. Use a clean, dry soft cloth to remove any dust the sanding had created.

There are many different brands and types of primers out there. Primer helps to hide imperfections and create a smoother finish. Most well heard of stores will have a wood primer and it will say on the tin how far it will go. There will always be people there to help assist you if you need help choosing the right one. There are some that only require one coat as well which will make the step quicker. Always make sure the primer is fully dry before moving onto the next step.

Painting your upcycle There are a few different ways to paint your item, so try and use the way you think will be easiest for you. Spray paint, tinned paint, brushes or rollers, either way, just make sure you get a good brand. Apply thin layers and allow to dry thoroughly in between coats. I normally do 2 or 3 thin coats. You can lightly sand in between each coat making sure you remove all dust before applying the next coat. Doing these steps should ensure the best quality results.

Finishing Wax/ Finishing Lacquer your upcycle Now you don't want all your hard work priming and painting to not be protected the best way you can do you? So the best way to do this is to get a good branded finishing wax and use a soft cloth or rub on your furniture. The instructions on the tin will tell you how long to leave it to soak in. You normally then rub it off with small circular motions. Some brands suggest doing this process twice.

How to care for your upcycle If you want to keep your upcycle at its best for the longest. My best advice is to gently dust very regularly. Keep it out of the sunlight if you can, as it may fade colouring over time.

Sometimes we can spill things onto your creations, if you do, go through the gentle cleaning process mentioned about. When your item is an antique and you are unsure of how to care for it, please speak to an antique specialist and they will be able to guide you. If you are slightly worried, always test a small area at the back or inside to see how it will react.

For more information on  Who's been upcycling?  talk to  Acorn Ironmongery Ltd

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