Upcycling has been a buzzword for a few years now. And with an increased focus on sustainable living and keeping preloved items for landfills across the world, more and more people are choosing to breathe new life into old products, from clothing to furniture and even original features around the home that have previously been undiscovered.
The fun thing about upcycling is you can let your imagination run wild and give the item you are changing a whole new lease of life as an updated product with the same use or changing it into something completely new. But before you get happy with a tin of Frenchic and a paintbrush, pay close attention to the following tips to allow your efforts to really shine.
Having the best tools for the job will allow you to finish better and achieve a high-quality look overall. Opting for cheap materials and tools could cause you to make mistakes and lead to a poor finish. Choose top-quality paintbrushes; battery powered glue guns, cordless power tools for ease of use and minimal effort.
If you are a complete beginner, try starting with wood products to allow you to practise on a more sturdy and stable material before moving onto metals or plastic.
Practise cutting, preparing the surfaces for sanding or painting, and getting used to the wood's feel and behaviour when cutting, painting, varnishing, and so on.
Don't rush to this stage, or your finish will lose its impact leaving you with poor craftsmanship. Take your time to clean down any dirty items, sand down any woodwork that needs it and remove chipped paintwork to give you a smooth base to start from.
Remove any fittings such as drawer knobs and handles and make sure the area is free from dirt and dust. Then inspect your tools to make sure they are clean and not damaged to allow you to complete the project easily.
Not all upcycled items need to stay as their original intended use. Old wooden ladders can be repurposed to make a quirky bookcase. Wooden bed bases can be used to create a trellis for plants in the garden and items of clothing can be stitched into memory blankets or cushions. Use your imagination and see what uses you can develop to help you reduce your waste and breathe new life into your homewares.
As a beginner, you will likely make mistakes and be critical of your work. This is all good. Knowing what you did and didn't like or looking at how you could do something better or differently is a great learning curve and is all part of the process. Remember, if you don't like something, you can always try again and change it.
Upcycling is a great way to help reduce your waste and carbon footprint and a way for you to have fun and expand on your skills. Choose furniture, soft furnishings, clothing and more to help you effectively upcycle anything and everything.