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Got more sense than money, or a desire to reduce waste? Want to enjoy your favourite furniture and homeware for longer, or turn something old into something ‘you’?
You’ll be surprised how easy and affordable it is to upcycle with paint – it’s DIY décor for dummies that makes for super-satisfying creative projects and a unique interior.
Don’t throw that away
Where exactly is ‘away’?
Putting things in the bin doesn’t make them magically disappear and New Zealand’s recycling rates aren’t great – so that’s where upcycling comes in. Forget ditching furniture and photo frames that are looking a bit tired – get creative.
If you don’t have your own this’ and that’s to bring up to scratch, visit op shops to find pre-loved pieces, keeping an eye out for interesting forms made from quality materials. All you need to reboot them is some inexpensive Resene testpots.
Start simple in the kitchen by revitalising worn utensils or chopping boards by painting the handles; complex neutral Resene White Linen looks chic combined with timber. Update an old serving tray with elegant Resene Kensington Grey or nut brown wood stain Resene English Walnut. Bring a set of coasters into the now by using painter’s tape to mask the cork and create stripes or other shapes; try a tonal effect using lighter and darker versions of one base hue, such as seagrass Resene Earthstone, rustic green Resene Frontier, earthy green Resene Flax, and grey-green Resene Finch.
Elevate an elderly ladder into sophisticated shelving for decorative objects and potted plants, painting it all one colour or each step a different shade. Turn wooden boxes into floating shelves to affix to the wall; paint inside and out, or use wallpaper to line the base that’ll be the backdrop for your display – Resene Wallpaper Collection HAN100417818 would be beautiful teamed with oceanic blue Resene Wavelength and foam pink Resene Ebb. Rework crates into storage for children’s rooms in bold brights such as pure Resene Red Berry, energetic yellow Resene Turbo, bold blue Resene Endeavour, and vivid green Resene Bingo.
Upgrade plant pots that have seen better days with colours that take your fancy; greenery is striking against staunch Resene All Black. Transform an old suitcase into stylish storage or a side table. Wake up a tired timber headboard with a two-tone colour-blocked effect, applying your base colour, masking the area to be painted with painter’s tape, allowing the paint to dry, then peeling off the tape.
Double down on vases and vessels by adding a brighter colour to the inside of a piece painted a more subdued shade, such as violet Resene Kingfisher Daisy with romantic Resene Covert. (To coat the interior, pour in a little paint, swirl it around, then tip out any excess and leave upside down to dry.) Or take the exterior tonal with three stripes, like beige Resene Quarter Biscotti and pale pink Resene Paper Doll sandwiched with Resene FX Rose Gold.
This is how we do it
Another bonus of the upcycling process is that paint will protect your pieces from further wear. If you get sick of the new look, just paint over it or strip timber back to its original state and there’ll be no regrets. All this does require some proper prep, though.
While every project has its own intricacies, the basics remain the same. First, remove surface dust or grease with warm, soapy water. When dry, lightly sand to remove peeling paint or texturise varnish slightly so your primer and paint will stick; you don’t need to remove it all, and if you’re sanding timber, use medium-grade sandpaper so as not to make grooves in the wood. Tighten any loose screws and stop gaps with a filler such as Resene EzyFill Quick.
Prime timber with Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat, allow to dry, then add two coats of semi-gloss Resene Lustacryl or glossy Resene Enamacryl tinted to your colour of choice. For timber outdoor furniture, remove existing mould and ward of future growth by prepping with Resene Moss & Mould Killer. Follow with Resene Wood Primer, then two coats of tinted Resene Lumbersider.
Be sure to prime slippery surfaces like laminate or plastic so your paint won’t peel off. Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer is perfect for the job. On metal, use a wire brush to get rid of any rust, then coat it with general-purpose Resene GP Metal Primer.
To prepare plant pots, scrub them clean, then use Resene Moss & Mould Killer if necessary. Seal pots inside and out to stop water seeping through and lifting the paint; use Resene Aquapel & Terracotta Sealer for terracotta pots. Once dry, turn pots upside down and paint from the base before turning right side up to finish the job.
Better with age
Put a twist on upcycling something old by making it look even older. Furniture in particular is chic when given a vintage vibe. Create a distressed or antique look with Karen Walker Chalk Colour, then buff Karen Walker Vintage Wax into timber or use Karen Walker Soft Wax for a final soft waxed sheen.
Resene FX Paint Effects Medium can be tinted to your favourite colour then used to create a patina. Or simply paint as per, use fine sandpaper to gently rub colour off areas that would naturally suffer wear and tear, then finish with Resene Aquaclear to seal, prevent actual dings and allow easy cleaning. Or paint one colour over another, then sand certain spots to reveal the undercoat. Or use Vaseline, wiping it on areas that would usually age, then painting over the top; the Vaseline will prevent the paint reaching those parts. Once the paint is dry, wipe off the Vaseline with a clean, dry cloth before finishing with Resene Aquaclear.
• Avoid drips by not putting too much paint on your brush. Use the right-sized brush to get into nooks and crannies. For furniture, use a roller to paint panels more quickly.
• Paint cabinet doors when open and closed to be sure you get the front, back and hinges and don’t miss any drips. Turn chairs upside down to start, then approach them from all angles. Dressers will benefit from you taking the drawers out to paint separately.
For help getting started with your decorating project, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop or on the Resene website with the free Resene Ask a Tech Expert service. View hundreds of decorating projects on the Resene website, www.resene.co.
nz/upcycling-for-good, for inspiration for your DIY projects.