In recognition of this year’s National Upcycling Day, I was sent a surprise box of Rust-Oleum paints and challenged to use them in an upcycling project.
I’ve used Rust-Oleum chalk paint for several previous upcycling projects. You can pick them up in B&Q, which makes them easier to buy than other brands – perfect if you’ve underestimated how much paint you need and you’ve run out mid project, which I have done on several occasions.
My box of goodies contained the following products:
Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Antique White
Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Dusky Pink
Rust-Oleum Clear Furniture Lacquer
Rust-Oleum Gloss Finish Furniture Paint in White Frost
Rust-Oleum Universal Spray Paint in Cobalt Blue
Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint in Pure Gold
Rust-Oleum Surface Primer in White
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Gloss Spray Paint in Meadow Green
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Gloss Spray Paint in Real Orange
Artists paint brushes.
Deciding what to make
Our house is almost in order so the number of upcycling projects in the pipeline has dwindled, leaving me without an obvious plan to use the paint. This gave me an opportunity to try something a little different.
Instead of sourcing preloved furniture I decided to try a flat pack hack; buying an uninspiring piece of flat packed furniture and turning it in to something unique.
Cue the inevitable trip to Ikea and a fair amount of wandering around in search of inspiration.
In an ongoing quest for attractive storage solutions a lick of paint had potential to make these basic crates ideal for using the space under our living room shelves more efficiently.
Opting for some subtle bling, I started by spraying the top slats with surface primer.
I followed this up with two coats of gold. There wasn’t quite enough paint in the can to do a thorough second coat on both crates, which might have something to do with how much I spray painted the ground, but I don’t think it spoils the overall effect.
The white frost gloss paint ties in with the living room colour scheme, making it the obvious choice for the rest of the crates. I haven’t used gloss paint on furniture before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The porous, untreated wood took the paint well but the finish is not as glossy as I anticipated, although the softer finish turned out better for our home.
The classic Ikea Bekvam step stool was the starting point for my second project. Seeking inspiration from Pinterest, which is a is a great place for visualising different uses for everyday objects, I decided to turn the stool into a bedside table.
I settled on a colour scheme to combine the soft tones of the dusky pink and antique white chalk paints.
The untreated wood took the chalk paint so well I hardly needed the second coat.
I felt that stencilling a design on to the table would bring it to life, which created the challenge of working out how to do it. Googling recommended using a special plastic called Mylar, but without having this to hand I decided to have a go at printing a design on to A4 paper and laminating it. This saved me from having to trace the pattern and also gave me an easy surface to cut with a rotary blade.
I’m not sure this technique would work as well if you wanted to create a repeat pattern as you would need transparent plastic to see where you were placing the stencil, but for a single image it worked a treat, and cost me nothing.
I used a foam roller to apply paint to the stencil. A specific stencil brush would probably do the job just as well, but I think that upcycling should be as much about using the materials you have to hand as it is about breathing new life in to furniture and other items.
I finished with a coat of clear lacquer. I usually use furniture wax to give a distressed finish, but I do feel that the harder wearing finish of the lacquer will make the table less prone to knocks and scrapes.
I’m really pleased with the effect I’ve achieved.
The finished items
So there you have it. Two every day flat pack items transformed. It just goes to show that with a little imagination you can make something beautiful and unique for your home.
As for the coloured spray paints, I’m sure I will find a use for them in due course. They are sufficiently hard wearing to be used for outdoors projects so I am contemplating turning empty food tins in to plant pots or lanterns – watch this space.
I received the paint from Rust-Oleum and they challenged me to create an upcycled project in time for National Upcycling Day. The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own.