- Choose an item that interests you. For many upcycle technicians and artists, the item finds them. That’s even better. Let the item find you. Follow your instinct and take that baby home!
- Research your item. It doesn’t hurt to check with your local library resources or family historian before you do any work on your item. It can, however, help to devalue your item if you have actually come across an actual antique or collectible.
- Clean your item. Dusting it first, then wiping it with a damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth will tackle the basic cleaning task for most furniture pieces. If the piece has crevices you may want to use a very soft toothbrush or pointed sponge. A makeup sponge on a stick does wonders for a dusty detailed furniture leg. Keep in mind that “dusty” is different than “rusty”. If an item appears to be rusty you may want to dust gingerly at first to see if there is any damage to the piece. If is feels like it is moving – it most likely is. It is weakened in that area and you will want to repair it before it breaks.
- Find a practical use for the piece. Adding blackboard paint or a pigeon hole ( for example) for pencils, pens, marker, etc., will add functionality to an item that is already providing visual pleasure. Double your fun!!
- Measure the area that you plan to place the item in. This sounds like a simple thing to do. However, sometimes, an artist can become so involved with resurrecting , redesigning, and re-purposing an item that he or she puts the measuring part of the project on the back burner. And ends up realizing that perhaps, they have designed a beautiful piece..for someone else.
- Check your supply list before you get started. If you already know the what’s and how’s of your project design, gather all of your supplies prior to beginning the project. You will not want to interrupt your creative juices because of a needed purchase of something like sandpaper or tracing chalk.
Now that I’ve shared a few of the basic essentials of upcycling, I would like to share a picture of one of my projects. It has a twin. It is not an identical twin. It’s close enough for me. I think the difference in design will make “the pair” interesting. This one has sticky dust and a slight water ring. I originally thought to clean them and paint them white. But, I keep thinking, “Laptop, ipad, rubber stop”.