• Helen Walsh

Detailed Sideboard upcycle project

I certainly took my time with this one! After decorating the living room I had been searching for the perfect piece of furniture to go on this wall. The room is a good size but other than the fireplace which I adore it lacks features, so I really wanted a statement piece that would add character to the room.

After a few months of searching, I eventually spotted this gorgeous buffet sideboard in a local charity shop, it had lots of intricate details which is exactly what I was looking for and at £120 delivered was an absolute bargain!

Apologies for poor quality picture! Why wont I learn to take 'before pics'

I often shop second hand first for furniture nowadays because you can get some amazing quality pieces that you know will be unique, it also means you are reusing rather than buying new, therefore doing your bit for the environment as well!

So the sideboard was delivered and then sat in situ for over a month, I wanted to 'live with it' for a while first before doing anything drastic. My initial idea was to paint it but it was such a beautiful piece, I needed to know that painting it would improve it and not ruin it. It didn't help that my Dad had said to me "do not paint it!" he knows me so well, nothing in my house is safe from the paint brush.

But paint it is exactly what I did do, and I am so happy I did. I think the finished result is just perfect. It suits the room and adds that much needed character as well.

So here's how I did it, I want to point out first that I am in no way a professional at furniture refurbishment, but I have done a fair few pieces now, and I love it!

Step one

I cleaned the who piece with a damp cloth, removing dust and dirt.

Step Two

Using an electric hand sander mine is a black and decker mouse. I sanded the top of the sideboard. It took two sands to remove the lacquered surface. It is best to do this outside, because of the dust, but I was on my own and the sideboard is so heavy I left it where it was and hoovered at intervals.

Step 3

I began to paint the sideboard. I used Rustoleum Chalk paint in the colour Grahite which I bought from Homebase starting at the side first, then around to the front and then the legs. I used a larger brush for the sides and legs, and a smaller intricate brush for the delicate details. There is no need to sand the item first if you use chalk paint, that's the beauty of it.

My unit needed two coats of paint, some pieces may need 3 depending on the base colour.

Tip - often I find chalk paint can get quite thick once it's exposed to air, this makes it more difficult to paint smoothly. To combat this I dip my brush in water first, then scrape of the excess water before dipping into the paint, it makes for a much smoother paint. You don't have to dip in water every time but as and when you find the paint is getting gloopy or thick.

Tip - try to ensure you paint in the same direction to avoid brush stroke marks.

Tip - use a brush suitable for chalk paint here is the link for a good set. You can also use these to wax instead of cloth Link

Use a smaller brush on intricate areas

Step 4

Time to distress. This is the first time I have actually gone for a distressed finish but the detail in this piece of furniture really leant itself to that effect. I used a light a 240 gritt foam sanding pad. The pad meant that it was more flexible

so easier to get into nooks and intricate details.

Tip - start light and build up, you can always distress more but cant go back.

Step 5

Wax. I used Rustoleum clear wax for the painted sections and the dark wax for the top. This is the hardest part in my eyes, but also the most necessary. A wax coating gives the furniture a protective finish from knocks and chips. It also allows you to give the piece a lovely sheen finish. I used an old piece of muslin to rub the wax into the paint. Its tempting to add lots of wax to make it quicker but its best to add a little at a time and really work it into the wood to ensure an even coverage. It does take a while, but its worth it. Once the whole piece is waxed you can start buffing. I used a old clean cloth to buff. Work firmly to buff the wax to a sheen. A second coat is sometimes required as it was with this piece, because the overall look was slightly patchy (i'm not going to lie I was slightly panicking at this stag!). But then after buffed a final time the results were amazing.

Step 6

Iron work. I knew that by going dark on the paint I may risk the beautiful ironwork blending in and not being visible. I wasn't sure exactly what to do, but then stumbled across this ...

Rustoleum multi purpose paint, called painters touch, and its fab!

I just applied it with a teeny tiny brush, it dried really quickly and made the ironmongery shine like gold!!

So there we go a completely unique piece of furniture with my own stamp on it. The total cost including the sideboard, wax and paint came to £just over £140.

I would say to anyone wanted to begin a project like this, go for it, its really not that difficult and you could end up with a piece of furniture that stands out from the crowd and shows your personality. If you are inspired to start your own project, please tag me in any upcycles you do, I would love to see them. @homely_rose

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Interiors, craft, DIY and my life.