Top tips to create upcycled masterpieces

The upcycled author's bureau, with plenty of storage space. Picture: comp
The upcycled author's bureau, with plenty of storage space. Picture: comp
1
Have your say

FOR most of us, recycling our empty bottles, cereal boxes and tins has become second nature.

The routine of separating items into red and blue boxes is as normal as washing the dishes and vacuuming when it comes to household chores.

But what about those worn-looking, disused items of furniture that are hidden away in the corners of rooms, or stored in the loft or garage, long since forgotten?

The phenomenon of “upcycling” – or reinventing unused items by sprucing them up and giving them a makeover – is becoming ever popular as people look to save money . . . and the planet.

Stockbridge interior specialist Farrow & Ball – renowned for its unique paints and wallpapers – has teamed up with nine British designers to give tips on how to transform tired objects into one-off centrepieces.

So put your DIY skills and ­imagination to use and set about creating your own bespoke pieces to inject new life into any room.

Heathland Drawers – ideal for plant lovers

You will need:

1 x chest of drawers

1 x 750ml interior wood primer & undercoat (white & light tones)

1 x 750ml Calluna No.270 Estate Eggshell

1 x 2in paint brush

1 x sheet of each 80 and 120 grade grit sandpaper

5 x ceramic/terracotta pots with calluna heather plants

1 x hole saw 2mm smaller than the diameter of widest part of your pot

Method:

1. Carry out preparation to the chest and drawer front (sanding and removing old paint).

2. Mark up the position of the pots at the back of the dresser. Be aware of any structural battens on the inside, and avoid drilling into these as it may affect the stability of your furniture piece.

3. Drill pilot holes, then use the hole saw to cut out holes to position your pots in place. Sand back any rough edges and remove all dust. Test the drawers with the pots in place, as the top drawer may require some adjustment (e.g. you may need to shorten the depth of the top drawer, or lower the back of the top drawer so it will slide now that you have pots in place).

4. Apply primer and undercoat to the chest, drawer fronts and plant pots.

5. Paint two coats of Calluna to the chest, drawer fronts and plant pots, leaving to dry for a minimum of four hours between coats (ideally leave overnight to completely harden).

6. Add your pots of heather to the drawers – beautiful.

Library Door

You will need:

1 x old four-panelled door

Approx 3 lengths of 25mm thick timber

1 x 750ml interior wood primer & undercoat (white & light tones)

1 x 750ml Wevet No.273 Estate Eggshell

1 x 2in paint brush

1 x sheet of each 80 and 120 grade grit sandpaper

Method:

1. Create a detailed drawing of how you want to customise your door, get cracking, or supply it to a carpenter friend.

2. A few days later your new doorshelves will be delivered, so carry out the wood preparation.

3. Apply primer and undercoat.

4. Paint two coats of Wevet to your doorshelves, leaving to dry for a minimum of four hours between coats (ideally leave overnight to completely harden).

5. Fix in place and dress with books, photos and trinkets.

Charlotte’s Beehive Drawers

You will need:

1 x chest of drawers

1 x 750ml interior wood primer & undercoat (dark tones)

1 x 750ml Arsenic No.214 Estate Eggshell

1 x 750ml Green Smoke No.47 Estate Eggshell

1 x 2in paint brush

1 x sheet of each 80 and 120 grade grit sandpaper

1 x roll of good quality masking tape

Method:

This quick and easy design is perfect if you don’t have much time but want to create a striking piece of furniture at home.

1. Complete the preparation steps to the wood before priming and painting your base colour.

2. Mask the chevron pattern and paint the design onto each drawer.

3. Carefully remove the masking tape, replace your drawers and admire.

Aspiring Author’s Bureau

The use of a soothing colour inside a writing bureau can inject just the right splash of colour into an otherwise monotone scheme.

You will need:

1 x bureau

1 x 750ml interior wood primer & undercoat (mid tones)

1 x 750ml interior wood primer & undercoat (dark tones)

1 x 750ml Cooking Apple Green No.32 Estate Eggshell

1 x 750ml Railings™ No.31 Estate® Eggshell

1 x 2in paint brush

1 x sheet of each 80 and 120 grade grit sandpaper

Method:

1. Carry out preparation to the exterior and interior of the bureau.

2. Apply primer and undercoat to the bureau (mid tones) in the interior sections (dark tones) on the outside. Leave to dry and ensure the paint is completely hard before closing the newly painted desk and any internal 
drawers.

3. Paint two coats of Cooking Apple Green to the inside of the bureau, and two coats of Railings to the outside of the bureau, leaving to dry for a minimum of four hours between coats (if possible leave overnight to completely harden).

4. Fill with postcards, letters, pens and paper clips and enjoy spending time catching up on your to-do list.

Farrow & Ball is offering five readers the chance to win ten litres of paint from any of its Full Gloss, Modern Emulsion and Estate Eggshell paints. E-mail edinburgh@farrow-ball.com for a chance to win.

Prizes will be given to the first five people to do so.