I love to upcycle old furniture as you can create one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t find in any mass-produced furniture shops.
Allow me a little ramble here?
As a mum, I have a fierce, forever love for my kids. But as a parent I don’t often enjoy the unpredictability and out-of-control feeling the job entails.
Luckily, what I can control is furniture, and what it looks like! So, let me walk you through my favourite cabinet upcycle, so you too can regain some creative control in your homes.
Find The Right Cabinet
I found this beauty on Facebook Marketplace for £30. I’m going to turn this outdated cabinet into a beautiful storage solution for my kid’s toys.
Decide On Main Feature
With every upcycle, I always aim to add a decorative feature to the piece that makes it more attractive. For this piece, I knew I wanted to add texture to the cabinet.
It’s a good thing I like research as I did a lot. I ultimately ended up with a matchstick style MDF board, but let me walk you through some other options I considered:
B&Q Pine Moulding – 21 strips @ £3.47 each = £72.87
Amazon Builders Hessian – 1 roll @ £13.29 = £13.29
Amazon Cane Webbing – 3 rolls @ £64.98 per roll = £194.94
eBay Cane Webbing – 6 rolls @ £8.81 each = £75.54
eBay Flexible bendy MDF Sheets – 1 x board @ £139.14 each – but only using ½ = £69.57
Pole Wrap – Unavailable in the UK. This project is what kick-started me venturing into becoming a supplier of DIY products (view SHOP).
Note: Pricing is correct as of August 2021 and applies to door measurements H110cm x W40cm x 3 doors.
Remove The Hardware & Outdated Decoration
Replacing the hardware can be a game-changer on its own. For this unit, I’ve decided to keep the hardware and spray paint it a matt black. (Spray painting was my first ever DIY project – if you haven’t tried it yet, it WILL become addictive).
I removed a few decorative details from the top and bottom of the cabinet to achieve cleaner lines.
Sand & Clean the Unit
Sand the whole cabinet and clean with sugar soap.
I’m going to say it right now, sanding and cleaning is the most important part of the whole process, so do NOT skip this step. Otherwise, your paint won’t stick to the surface.
Prime & Paint
Priming will ensure your paint sticks to the surface of the unit. However, I’ve taken to searching out paints that already have primer in them – Frenchic is my favourite as its self-priming, self-levelling and self-sealing. Hello easy life!
I tend to use a paintbrush for the corners and then a roller to get that smooth effect on the bigger surface areas.
Remove Glass from Doors
I took the 3 doors to my local glassworks, and they removed these for free for me.
Get some new hardboard to replace the glass and have something for the matchstick MDF to sit on. I picked a massive board up at B&Q who kindly cut it for me for free.
Sand The Doors
I needed to strip the doors, as I wasn’t painting them the same as the cabinet. To strip them, I used a very low grit number.
What does that mean you ask? The lower the grit number the coarser the sandpaper. If you want to achieve an ultra-fine smooth texture – use a higher grit sandpaper.
40 grit: Coarse
80 grit: Medium
100 grit: Medium
120 grit: Fine
220 grit: Fine
440 grit: Extra Fine
Whitewash The Doors & Wax
This is super fun and easy. To save money, I simply mixed white paint and water and applied with a sponge. I wiped off the excess after each application so I could better control the final depth of colour.
I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint wax to seal the doors.
Tip: The Osmo Oil 3040 has 4% white pigment and is meant to be used as a topcoat, so no other oil is required. (Not to be confused with the Osmo white tint that has 1.25% white pigment and needs top oil).
Paint Matchstick Boards
This took a while with a brush. I used a cheaper black paint to seep through each strip, and then coated the surface with the more expensive black Frenchic paint. If you have a paint sprayer or an artist’s air brush and compressor kit, this would be easier.
Assemble The Doors
Now it’s time to piece the 3 components of the door together with zinc mending plates, which comprises the door frames, plywood board and the painted matchstick hardboard.
Stabilises the doors
Made up of very thin sheets of wood
|Isn’t as strong as the plywood|
Not “real wood”
It’s made up of chopped up wood, pulp, sawdust. It’s the sausages of the wood world basically.
Attach Furniture Feet & Attach to Wall
I got some cheap feet off eBay and then made sure the cabinet was attached to the wall, as I have young kids and sadly furniture-tip accidents do happen.
By transforming and updating furniture, you can save a lot of money and have something completely bespoke for your home.
Thankfully being more eco-conscious seems to be forming a greater part of our collective consciousness, which is great. I hope you can look at an old piece of furniture in your home and find ways to update it. Tag me on Instagram if you do @SurreyHouseDIY and I will reshare.