Jonas Merian can be an inspiration for anyone interested in learning how to upcycle furniture.
Upcycling is the art of looking in the nooks and crannies of your house and repurposing whatever you find. Yes, this includes everything in the basement you’re gonna turn into a wine cellar any day now, and the dusty antiques in the attic where the raccoon lives. Not only is it hugely rewarding to give something without use a new purpose, it’s also the perfect opportunity to decorate your house or apartment in a truly unique way.
These personal touches can make a living space feel like a true home, brimming with personality and charm. Professional designers such as Jonas Merian can turn anything they can get their hands on into lamps, clocks and even stereos with their DIY upcycle projects. But what can you personally do with that old wooden furniture that gets inexplicably dragged along with every move? It too can become an integral part of your living space again; it just takes some effort. So roll up your sleeves and read on!
For some of you, finding wooden furniture to upcycle is as easy as scouring your home. Any old cupboard or large prop can be turned into a vintage centerpiece. But for others, we might have to visit a car boot sale or antiques fair to get the materials we need to work with. It’s best to have a clear vision of what you’re looking for and what you want to create, as his will help your search be a guided one.
Alternatively, you can just scout out an auction or flea market without a concrete idea of what you’re looking for, but we don’t recommend it. There’s plenty of material at these types of fairs, so it’s best to know in advance what this particular piece of furniture is going to add to your home. Keep a look out for chests of drawers, cupboards, chairs, tables, or even actual chests! Even upcycling wooden pallets can make for hip creations. Don’t worry too much about scratches; they can be sanded off.
Do make sure that the wooden furniture is still sound. This is integral, as it can turn any bargain into a disappointment. Stains, scratches, and discoloration? A-okay, we can work with that. The distinctive dust and holes that woodworm leaves behind? Give it a hard pass and a wide berth.
By now you should have a solid idea of what kind of addition you’re looking for in your living space. With your newly acquired antique or castaway furniture, you’ve hopefully gotten yourself a nice base to work off of. First thing’s first: preparing the material to make it your own. This means sanding off rough surfaces to get the perfect smoothness to apply the paint to.
For beginners, chalk paints give off a beautiful matt finish and require zero priming. You can use chalk paints to add a crackle glaze and give your furniture the effect of an aged oil painting. You can also water down the paint for a more streaky look. If you want a nice vintage-looking finish (and who doesn’t!), you can sand down the areas that generally see the most use. Think of the corners of a cupboard or the arms of a chair. Be as creative as you can.
You could even layer different colors of paint, then sand down a top layer to expose an underlying one for added effect. If you feel bold enough to utilize emulsion paint, you’ll need to sand down all the surfaces of the piece, prime it with some sand paper and give the whole thing an undercoat before you can unleash your creativity.
Depending on your DIY skills, you can do some remarkable things to your newly painted piece of upcycled furniture and make it truly unlike any other. You can glue and incorporate new decorations to your creation, add a variety of techniques such as gold leafing to specific areas, and pinpoint sanding methods. The simplest technique, however, is stenciling. Stenciling can add a completely new dimension to your painted surface and you can get as creative as you’d like.
While it’s possible to buy stencils with cool designs and drawings online, making your own is far more personal. All you need is card-thickness paper and a sharp knife for crafting. After creating your shape, just lay it against any surface of your furniture and paint over it. There’s a whole bunch of creative applications for stenciling. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Multi-layered stencils, multi-colored designs, brush techniques, and even applying wax all make for a stunning second life to old and second-hand furniture!