18 April 2015

Upcycling: The 4 basic tools required for upcycling furniture

I discuss the four basic tools that I use to upcycle furniture, sanding tools, paint, paintbrushes and wax

I haven't written an upcycling post for a while now and since it was the reason I started this blog I thought I should kick myself up the butt a bit.  It is also approaching the warmer months and subsequently the time of year that I get all of my upcycling done. 

In this post I am going to run through all the 4 really simple 'tools of the trade', something that I am often asked about. This is basically everything that I use to upcycle my furniture. I have been starting to gather up my supplies and have been thinking about investing in some more tools to add to my growing collection so I will include those too.

Sandpaper/Sanding tool
I guess logic dictates that I start with the first step of upcycling, sanding.
I could talk forever about how great Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is because it requires zero sanding but I always make sure I have a good collection of different graded sandpaper. This is so that I can use this sand down any nobbly bits to make each piece completely smooth and to rough the paintwork up a bit once it's been painted to create a shabby-chic old worn effect.

Sometimes I completely strip back the varnish from a piece of furniture, usually table tops (like I did here).  For this I prefer to use a power sander as it's just too much work for my weak little arms. I have gone for the Black and Decker Mouse Detail Sander £19.99, it's pointed tip make it really good at getting into all the little crevices. Tip: make sure you wear a face mask and do this outside as it can get messy!

I love to paint my furniture when upcycling, but it isn't always necessary. My paint of choice is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint £18.95 for a 1 Litre tin.  Mainly because of how easy it is to use, that it requires little to no prep work and comes in a vast range of lovely shades. I have babbled on about how amazing this paint is before here and all my upcycling projects here. And if you don't believe me just ask the professionals!

'Annie sloan paint was invented by angels to make everything fun' 
-Kirstie Allsopp

'Annie Sloan's paint will transform even the drabbest bunker into a haven' 
- World of Interiors

The paintbrushes I use are special chalk paint brushes that are designed to hold a good amount of paint and are perfect for achieving a lot of texture. They are easy to get hold of, you can find a good selection here.

I use one really fat one for large areas of furniture and the smaller one to get into the little nooks and crannies (do people still say nooks and crannies?) I use these to apply the wax too - after giving them a good wash!

I would like to branch out of my comfort zone a little and invest in some Annie Sloan flat brushes so that I can get that pristine smooth finish too.

Wax and cloth
I cannot stress how important it is to finish your piece with wax, especially if you are using chalk paint.  I use Annie Sloan Clear Wax and Dark Wax.  A thin layer applied directly to the piece, left over a 24 hour period and then buffed up to a shine using a cloth.

And that is literally it.  You could include stencils, hardware and loose leaf to this list but these are optional extras that add special touches to the finished piece.

I hope this helps those of you thinking about upcycling your own furniture and emphasizes just how easy it is to do yourself.

Do you have any tips on other tools that I should be using? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


Nicola Bhamra

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