Before sharing my upcycling highs and lows I thought I would share with you my “Rules of Recycle” These have all been learnt through personal hands on experience and making mistakes. I’m not sure if I would have been so open to the information if were offered from some wise old man as I usually like to learn the hard way and this I did.
Rule 1. Check for labels, makers marks or branding. Its not until you sell a rare piece of Ercol, G Plan or something similar not knowing what it was that you get into the habit of checking and googling first. I’m not saying other pieces of later years aren’t worth upcycling but its worth knowing what you are dealing with. Look for its quality, wood? MFD? Veneer? If its a chest of drawers does it have wooden runners? dovetail joints? The quality of construction is key. We’ve all heard the term “Polishing a turd”.
Rule 2. Space? Do you have the space to house the renovation before, during and until you sell it? I started with small pieces that could easily be a part of the furnishings at home until they sold. I did start to increase their size without really being aware of it until one day it was like a game of Tetris trying to get into bed. The kids would come home and start to make comments of how the house was changing everyday. I was selling a piece and then quickly replacing it with something else.
Rule 3. Try before you buy. Well that’s if you’re not winning great items on Ebay. Just recently I took on 6 chest of drawers from a house clearance. Great I thought. Until I got them back and tried to open the drawers. They were swollen and damp and needed a few good blows with a hammer and some patience while they dried out. They were all worth it in the end and I still would have bought them if I had known about it before but it might have put a few people off so be aware.
Rule 4. Don’t vandalise! Be sympathetic to every piece. Just because its old doesn’t mean we can go and paint and paper it and leave no room for upcyling years down the line . Using harsh glues and adhesives for papering a piece could damage the wood and be very difficult later on if someone should wish to re purpose.
Rule 5. Last but not least have fun. I love every part of it now. Many a time ive stuck to things I know how to do well, but be brave and try something new. Like transferring images to wood, Papering and getting to grips with natural woods. All exciting stuff 😉