Alison, one of our R4GM Education Officers wanted a new sideboard for her living room and having been inspired by all the TV programmes for upcycling furniture, she was looking for a project. Who would have thought she would find one in her sisters barn!
There it was – sat in my sisters barn, an unwanted pine welsh dresser. I had admired some lovely painted dressers this summer in craft shops, so this seemed like fate.
The first job was to strip it all down- removing all the old cabinet handles, drawer front pieces and brackets that hold it together to get it ready for sanding.
I bought a palm sander to make life a bit easier but the papers for this were expensive so I decided to buy cheap, coarse grade sand paper and let elbow grease get the main coats of old varnish off. It was quite hard getting round all the curved twiddly bits of carpentry. Then I used the sander to achieve a smoother finish. I even remembered my ear plugs, eye protection and mask to protect myself.
The next stage was to do a couple of coats of primer, sanding down any runs in between coats.
I wanted a contemporary matt type finish so a very helpful lady in my local DIY store helped me decide what type of paint to use. I chose two colours of the recommended eggshell paint.
It felt exciting to finally start the real painting. It was actually very difficult paint to work with; too thin and it didn’t cover properly and too thick and it formed ‘runs’. It was also hard to clean off brushes and skin. I often went out with pale grey and duck egg blue splotches on my face, arms and hands!
The dresser cost me nothing , so I didn’t mind spending a bit of money on some beautiful new, hand painted ceramic handles which I searched for and found online. Took me a while to figure out how to get the handles, front drawer plate and drawers back together but I think they look perfect. Overall, with the paint and handles, it only costs me about £60. A brand new item of furniture would have cost hundreds. Over a four week period I put in at least 8 hours of hard but enjoyable ‘labour’ to finally complete the transformation.
It looks much more contemporary and brightens up a dark corner of my living room. I am really happy with it. I feel great to have given an unwanted item of furniture a new lease of life and I learned a lot of DIY skills along the way. Can’t wait for my next project!
If you are inspired by Alison’s fantastic upcycled dresser and interested in trying your hand at upcycling furniture why not consider visiting your nearest furniture reuse shop, where you may find interesting and affordable furniture to personalise and upcycle. Visit our website for your nearest furniture reuse shop.