Upcycling the Ugly Duckling

Upcycling furniture is an environmentally conscious way to create one of a kind pieces for your home.  The practice of upcycling can be defined as updating or repurposing an old, sometimes broken or damaged item into something useful and hopefully, beautiful. [ Pictured above is a dresser that I had redone last May, 2013. ]

Transforming "jewels in the rough"  is an enjoyable past time of mine. The latest project was a 1950's post modern piece transformation which was particularly enjoyable as it became a group project between my artistic daughter and me.

Last fall, I decided that I needed a new dresser for my bedroom. Not wanting to buy a mass produced fake wood version from one of the box stores and armed with a pick-up truck, I set out on a quest to find the perfect wood dresser that needed a home.  A couple of hours later, voilà... Value Village, a Canadian chain of stores selling second hand items from clothing to art and furniture, had the perfect one, deep drawers and all wood. Yes, it takes me a long time to get around to projects, but a busy schedule of running a full time soap making business and a household dictates that! Once I sanded the dresser down, painted it, sanded some more and glazed it, this waterfall style dresser was ready for some hand painting!


My work done, I handed the turquoise painted piece off to the other upcycle tag team member, my daughter. Jennifer began the task of hand painting luscious red Oriental poppies on the front, further transforming this former ugly duckling into a beautiful swan!

Want to see more of Jennifer's art? Check out her website & facebook page.

I decided to finish this dresser with a homemade wax finish to protect the surface and condition the wood. In the next blog post, I will provide the recipe and instructions for the wax and the antique glaze.

And here it is - before and after:

This project was such fun, and whether you have someone to collaborate with or not, upcycling furniture is a win-win situation for you and the environment.  We all benefit as it keeps tired, old pieces out of landfills, helps nurture your creative side, keeps toxic off-gassing, prefabricated and cheaply made furniture out of your sanctuary and is a chic, functional & economical way to decorate your home!

Hmmm, I believe this has inspired me to paint my bedroom a new colour.  Uh oh .........