Forum home The potting shed

Do you do upcycing of furniture ?

does anyone upcycle furniture? Is there a good website with information for understanding the process and what materials to use? and a forum maybe?  

I’m not sure whether to do this, as I have a massive sideboard in an unpleasant dark oak. I have been thinking of getting rid and getting something more modern, but the size and shape suits the room, just not the heavy varnished colour. It would also be a pain to move it.

Its a scary prospect with it being such a big piece though. I’m not in favour of shabby chic / rubbing the paint off, I would want it to look smart. Any ideas? 

«13

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,258

    If you look on Pinterest there are all sorts of websites and blogs and tutorials.   Good DIY stores also have a good range now of products for removing varnish and wax and some will lighten the colour too.  

    I would start by emptying the contents to make it easier to work and move away from the wall and then put plastic sheeting underneath to protect the floor.  Then apply the chosen product to remove the old finish.   Follow the instructions which will indicate if you should use a brush, wire wool or a cloth.  Make sure the room is well ventilated and no pets of children can get in while the products are working.

    Use any after care products advised to neutralise products and feed the wood or else just apply a mix of light olive oil (not virgin) with the juice of 1 lemon added per litre and shaken regularly.  The wood absorbs it and glows.  Give it one or two coats with a lint free cloth or a brush then leave it to soak in for a few days then wipe off any excess and leave it another few days before applying chosen finishes.

    I have taken cheap oak furniture from second hand shops and transformed it, after stripping, feeding and any filling needed, by painting it white with a good quality satin finish oil based paint for hard wearing use.  I have removed stains on medium coloured oak furniture using this method and then just left it oiled.   You can also think about a lime wash or lime wax to lighten the colour but these can be hard work and give an uneven finish so do a test area in a hidden part first.

    I am having a similar quandary to yours with a large, very dark but very practical wardrobe that I'd like to lighten somehow but it's a daunting 2.4m long and has fancy bits of carving.......

    Have a look here for ideas - https://www.pinterest.fr/creativemomof7/upcycled-furniture-ideas/?lp=true 

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,578

    I don’t know but I would be very interested to see the stages and finished products.

    i can’t get the Pinterest  link, perhaps you need to be a member?

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,258

    Just google Pinterest and sign up.  Doesn't cost anything.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,913

    Yes - I've done a bit of this, most recently a pine sideboard/dresser that was stained almost black and an old oak cupboard (1950s?) that the varnish had gone black.

    I have a small hand sander - one of these https://www.screwfix.com/p/makita-bo4555-1-palm-sander-110v/93933 . I got the furniture into the garage and sanded it down, then applied osmo oil to finish in each case. Easy peasy. Takes a bit of time but no skill (I have none).

    If you can't get it outside, get a sander with a dust box on it to reduce the amount blowing round your house and always wear a dust mask because you've no idea what chemicals you'll be breathing in with old furniture. You can use the chemical removers as Obelixx describes - I've never found them to be all that effective on old wood stains that are soaked in. They do work well on more modern varnish, as does plain old acetone. It takes a few applications if the varnish is on thick. You could get a bit of nail polish remover and try a little corner to see how readily the varnish comes off.

    Last edited: 19 January 2018 16:26:00

    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,258

    Sanding is essential if you want to paint or varnish again or have bits of damage to repair with wood filler but my recent adventures with furniture indicate that products have improved greatly since I first tried years ago.

    Something I was taught to do on a furniture renovating course about 20 years ago was to wash old furniture down with a mix of equal parts white spirit, methanol and turpentine.  It softens old surface finishes and also feeds the wood.   You need plenty of ventilation tho.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • a1154a1154 Posts: 806

    I can look at the Pinterest page without signing up, but then can’t click on anything. I think it has an app I’ll look into that later. 

    I think (not that sure) im after a painted finish though, not lightening the wood, you think I need to remove the varnish? I was hoping to get away with a light hand sanding just to key it. 

    no I can’t get it outside.

    It’s not an old piece of furniture it’s fairly modern, like a Spanish colonial style? I’m not at home so can’t take a pic at the moment.  it needs no repairs or filling. 

  • I've done quite a few bits over the years and found it very satisfying. Like Obelixx I have used different finishes to suit the piece and its purpose and it is very easy to find suitable products now as there is much more interest in recycling.

    It is a skill worth acquiring, especially if, like me, you enjoy an eclectic look. Among my pieces is a little Edwardian sidetable, £3 from a local market, looked awful with partly stripped white paint, now shining with beeswax. A lovely, late Arts & Crafts sideboard, bought on ebay for about £50, now cleaned up and Danish oiled and better than anything from **k furniturel**d. A half moon sofa table that came with the house, and that I cleaned and French polished, using ready-mixed stuff, and a funny little side table that was in M-i-L's shed. It had a pretty little daisy brass handle on the drawer, so I painted it with cream eggshell and added a stencilled daisy border for my daughter's bedroom.

    Two were free and the others hardly broke the bank, but  to replace them with modern pieces would be many times the cost and none of the new ones would be as well made!

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,913
    a1154 says:

    I think (not that sure) im after a painted finish though, not lightening the wood, you think I need to remove the varnish? I was hoping to get away with a light hand sanding just to key it. 

    See original post

    If the varnish is flakey it needs to come off but if it's clean, it'll depend on the varnish as to what you need to do to paint over it.  A rub over with wire wool might be enough to key it. If it's a very hard acryllic varnish, ESP primer might work. Can you get to the back of it and try a few things out to see what works?

    You can buy small paint rollers in most DIY shops that give a lovely, smooth flat finish - we've painted melamine cupboard doors with great success using ESP and chalk furniture paint

    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,258

    If you want a long lasting finish I would take the trouble to do a proper sanding down as you don't know what composition is in the old varnish and it may react badly to the subsequent paint and you'll get bubbling.  It's worth making the initial effort to save time as paint will go on more easily to a well prepared surface and you'll get a better finish that you'll enjoy looking at every day.

    I agree with Buttercup - upcycling, or even just cleaning, older furniture gives you something much more sturdy and original and loads cheaper than modern stuff.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • a1154a1154 Posts: 806

    I don’t think the cupboard doors are easily sandable, they are quite a carved shape, but I could start and see what it comes off like. 

    What sort of chalk paint ?  Online Annie Sloane has a good reputation, sounds expensive and not sure I can get it locally. Something called rust oleum, not so good reviews. Other cupboard paints seem to be satin or eggshell. 

    Im feeling enthusiastic about it now though!

Sign In or Register to comment.