We’ve had some amazing upcycling projects shared in Workshop recently, with many members creatively giving a new lease of life to dated pieces of furniture. It’s not surprising to see why upcycling is so popular – it’s a sustainable, cost-effective activity which anyone can undertake, regardless of their D.I.Y experience.
What are some handy tips and tricks you’ve learnt that have helped you with your upcycling project?
Tagging a few members who have shared some creative upcycling projects for their most useful tips. Everyone else feel free to join the discussion below.
Pictured below: Basic to beautiful Pine drawers upcycle by houseonhockhill
Hello everyone and thank you for the tag @Akanksha 😊. I find that when it comes to upcycling, I need a clear vision of what I hope to achieve, which includes everything from materials to the finishing touches. This is so the finished project will end up looking as near to the original idea - there is nothing worse than spending lots of time and effort on a project, for it to have gone wrong somewhere! What I also tend to do is to make a living vision board with my project. I will place materials over / near each other, so I can better understand how the finished look will come together. That way, I can change elements if I feel like it's not working cohesively, before I have even picked up a tool, without expensive mistakes being made. Obviously my way isn't for everyone, but I am a serial planner and I'm not great at spontaneous upcycling! My final tip is to have a look at shop-bought pieces online for inspiration, and figure out how you can take key elements of a design that you love, and apply that to your upcycling project.
Let me start by saying I love the look of that dresser. Such a great question, I would say for someone who is just starting their journey in upcyling start with smaller items and solid wood pieces. This allow more room for mistakes and also will be easier to work with. Upcycling for me is about giving the piece of furniture a new life therefore make sure you are creative and have fun ☺️
Lots of practical tips there, @houseonhockhill, thank you for sharing! I'm especially loving the living vision board idea - a nifty little trick for helping to visualise the finished look without spending lots of time, effort or money.
Your tip on looking online for D.I.Y. inspiration reminds me of something similar that @Ranirecycled_22 said in a discussion about her Bedside drawers upcycle about the importance of exploring other inspiring ideas prior to starting your own project. Its amazing how learning from others can give us both the means and motivation to achieve our goals. We see this in our Workshop community so often, with so many members getting inspired from our Featured Projects and Top Ideas articles and building something amazing of their own.
Thank you for sharing those tips once again, and looking forward to your next project!
Also, thank you for sharing those handy tips. And you're spot on. Being able to express our creativity and relish in the sense of achievement that comes after upgrading a piece of furniture are truly some of the best parts of upcycling. Thank you for this wonderful reminder!
Hi @Akanksha here is my up cycling tip, that I follow, when I go for a walk around my neighborhood, I'm always on the look out for timber that can be up cycled, just yesterday I walked passed a nature strip that had some general rubbish/furniture left out by the roadside. I saw these pine drawers just laying there, so I picked them up and took them home by walk, ( it took me two trips) I will take them apart and use the timber to make things like small trinket/key tray, see photo, etc,
I am currently making a sign from timber I found recently for a friend's new puppy, not yet finished, see photo's.
Dog name sign
Hi @Akanksha, my tip is to work with what you have and consider how you can make a piece less tired, less blah, and more functional, updated or more lovable. A cherished family heirloom or antique is no good sitting in the garage gathering dust or rotting away. It can be as simple as a clean up, light sanding and a bit of paint, new handles or new legs. Add something to give it a bit of pizzazz and make it special, like rattan, stenciling, fancy handles. The big question I ask myself is will it be used and useful after it is upcycled?
Love that, @JoeAzza, thank you for sharing. It's actually quite amazing how much potential dated and discarded furniture can hold. All it takes is a keen eye and willingness to look for it.
That dog name sign is simply adorable! Can't wait to see photos of the finished sign, keep us updated.
Always good to have the end goal in mind, Stuart (@Stuardo), thank you for that insightful tip. You've hit the nail on the head. Thinking about how and where you want to use the upcycled piece of furniture can go a long way in deciding the means of transformation - whether new handles or legs are needed, or just a simple paint job will do the trick.
This actually reminds me of your upcycled built-in TV cabinet - it's a terrific example of how to turn a discarded item into something functional that's suited for your own space and needs. Great work!