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Interested In Upcycling? We Spoke To Expert Upcycler Anita For Some Insider Tips
Hi everyone! My name is Anita, of Anita’s Upcycling. Originally from Shetland, I now live in Kincardine, Fife and upcycle old or unloved furniture from my home-based workshop. It’s a vocation, not a job! It’s thoroughly enjoyable and a great way to be creative, while hopefully at the same time, creating beautiful pieces of furniture for my customers.
How Anita Began Her Upcycling Journey
It all began around 10 years ago when the family lived in Bristol. A friend of mine attended an Annie Sloan workshop and she started to paint some beautiful pieces. This inspired me to try it myself. I decorated our lounge and was annoyed that our clock no longer matched our new décor. I bought a tester pot of Annie Sloan paint, and I was hooked! From there I started to paint small pieces for our own home, and I have never looked back!
We moved to Fife about 6 years ago - into a ‘doer upper’ house. By then, all four of our boys were at school, and so I had a bit more time on my hands and a home that needed furnishing! I love vintage pieces – from Victorian right through to mid-20th century. These items are usually built to last but, alas, so many end up in landfills.
I scoured second-hand furniture shops and online sites. I tried out different brands of paint, using new methods, different finishes, and attended some painting workshops, and I learned from mistakes. Friends visiting the house then started to ask if I would paint pieces for them and people seemed to be interested in what I was doing, and so Anita’s Upcycling was born!
What To Look For In A Piece For Upcycling
When deciding what to do with a particular piece, it can depend on the age, style of the piece, the condition of the piece, the décor of the customers home and of course what the customer is looking for. It is entirely customer-led and I strive to provide a very personal service; this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the process, and I always try to make myself available for a home visit consultation to discuss, to get a feel for the piece and to visualise its final resting place in the home.
I love upcycling but occasionally I feel it can be sneered at by some who think it’s ‘just painting.’ I often wish it were that easy! Upcycling furniture is a time-consuming process, involving a range of stages which include sourcing the piece or liaising with the customer for commissions based work, making structural repairs, filling holes and dents, sanding down the piece, cleaning and wiping down, and it may require stain blocker, primer, or undercoat before you even consider the painting. The painting is really the ‘icing on the cake’!
"Don’t be scared, give it a bash, and try not to worry about making a mistake."
But don’t’ be put off!!!! It is a terrifically rewarding process. And why buy new when it might be possible for you to transform a piece of furniture yourself. My top tip for a budding upcylcer is to start with is chalk paint as it requires minimal preparation (there are so many other brands and types of paint available and it can be quite overwhelming at first). Paint it on and seal it with furniture wax. And don’t be scared, give it a bash, and try not to worry about making a mistake. Start with something small like a bedside cabinet, perhaps that you might otherwise have sent to the dump, and see how you go. I hope you love it as much as I do. Good luck and happy upcycling!
Where You Can Find The Best Paint For Furniture
You can find Anita’s Upcycling on her Facebook for her incredible work! Just like Anita said, upcycling and creatively reusing furniture can be a rewarding and sustainable way to revamp your home. Using the right materials can make all the difference, which is why we’re so proud to offer a wide range of colours from the Little Greene Paint company.
For a bright pop of colour why not opt for a modern twist on mid-century orange? Or for a calming note that’s gorgeously on-trend, you can’t go wrong with Sage Green. You can browse our full range of Little Greene Paints here, and if you need any more advice on upcycling, take a look at our blog that’s full of extra tips!