Tuesday 25 March 2014

How I upcycled an old wooden chest

Any avid followers of my blog will know that I’ve been quiet recently with very few uploads this year, this is due to energies having been diverted to DIY. One of my little projects has been upcycling an old, brown ottoman/chest to make it a bit more fun. So here’s an overview of how my attempt went!

  • This old chest was given to me a couple of years ago for free, so I was a little gung ho with my efforts as it wasn’t a valuable item. I wanted to change it from being a bit drab into more of a statement piece.
My old, but sturdy, brown ottoman/blanket chest
  • My aim was for a retro feel with a little age so I didn’t actually prime the chest prior to painting, although a light sanding probably wouldn’t have done any harm. I chose to use spray paint as it’ll adhere to almost any surface and comes in an amazing range of colours and finishes, and it also dries quickly.

'Grass green'
  • Due to the size of the chest and the original dark colour I ended up using two cans of spray paint, and as you might be able to see in the pictures my enthusiasm meant that there were a few paint drips visible after the first coat! However, it was far less windy when I applied the second coat (I did the painting outside), and I managed to avoid any further drips. Applying two coats also meant that the overall finish was far more even. 
After the first coat of paint with visible drips

  • Once the paint was complete and dry I started work on the inside and outside edges. I found this brilliant Beano wallpaper on sale in B&Q for only £8 for a 10m roll and decided to line the inside of the chest with it. I was surprised how easy the wallpaper was to work with. As it was thicker than normal paper it was easy to measure and cut, and since I didn’t need to line up the pattern to match inside the chest, it meant I could be very efficient with it and I hardly used any of the roll, maybe two metres in total. 

Wallpaper is much cheaper than specialist decoupage paper
  • Keeping an open mind is also very important with projects like these as unexpected problems may arise! For example, the front panel and the sides of my chest ended up with a rippled effect in the paint as the green spray paint didn’t adhere to those areas properly (I blame the age and condition of the chest, not my lazy decision not to sand it down in advance). I’d already been toying with the idea of putting some of the Beano wallpaper onto the outside of the chest and this reconfirmed it to me. I measured the sides and the front panel and then cut two matching pieces for each end and made a neat rectangle for each side handle and rounded the edges. Likewise I rounded the edges of the central panel. 
Rippling on the front can be seen here after the first coat
  • I chose simple PVA glue for attaching all of the wallpaper and bought a big cheap bottle of it so I wouldn’t have to scrimp. The downside of PVA is that it causes paper to wrinkle due to the water content, but as I was going for an aged look I didn’t think it would be a problem for this project. Also, as the chest is only intended to store blankets and bed sheets, it doesn’t need to be too hardwearing or resistant to heavy use. 
 500g of PVA
  • And there we have it! The very quick and easy way I updated a piece of old, disused furniture. This is about as easy as upcycling gets, so is a great example of how a few simple changes can make a big difference. I’m really happy with the results, and can’t wait until the rest of the room is decorated and I can see it in situ!
The advantage of a second coat is clear here

The wrinkled wallpaper gives a great retro feel

All blog content and photos are Copyright of Charisse Sayers Proofreader & Copywriter www.charisse-sayers.com I welcome all feedback and would love to know your thoughts so please get in touch, comment, share, like and generally get involved!

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