How to repurpose an old piece of furniture at a low costBy Chrissy Brown

It’s all very well thinking you are saving money by picking up something cheap on Gumtree to makeover but with the trend of ‘upcycling’, the DIY stores have jumped on it and market high priced products to convince you with their clever marketing that you need that product and before you know it you’re spending a fortune on doing it. However, I use cheap alternatives.

I had intended to use my home made chalk paint that is a fraction of the cost of chalk paint and in my eyes just as effective, however after seeing the Alfreshco stand at the Grand Designs Show I was so impressed I had to experiment with their spray paint intended for graffiti artists. Their prices are brilliant with a 300ml spray can starting at £3 and a range of over 180 colours – a lot of which are currently on trend and not the garish colours you would expect from graffiti spray paint. They also have some special effect one’s such as crackle, marble and texture. I also used some Martha Stewart stencils that I recently purchased for Crafty Monkey, my pottery painting studio so thought I’d give them a swirl on furniture and here’s what I created:


Before Shelve


After Shelve

Below are the steps to follow:

1. Pick a good day where no rain is forecast and little to no breeze. Cover the area in decorating sheets or tarpaulin. Spray paint travels – the bigger the breeze the further it travels.

2. Remove drawers and handles.


3. Preparation is key and a good sand down will always create a better result. Using a sander will save you so much time and energy. A grit of 80 is probably optimum but I used a 60 then a 120. After sanding, wipe the dust left with a used a jay cloth and white spirit and gave it a good wipe all over. Don’t forget your protection mask too when sanding.


4. For the base coat I used a bit of old quick drying paint for wood. It was a bit thick and lumpy but because it’s a base coat and we want to create a distressed look, it wasn't really a problem.

Paint two coats on and wait 45 mins or so for it to dry.


5. I then sprayed Montanta Crackle, Grey Squirrel colour in a sweeping motion over the piece and waited for the magic to take place... For optimum results use an oil based undercoat. After a couple of hours I gave it a light sand, dusted it down then used white spirit on a cloth, wiping it in the direction of the grain to create a different look.

For the drawers I used an oil based white spray paint which gives a much better crackle effect. The more crackle paint you spray on the bigger the crackle.


6. I used screen silks for the top of the piece to give the piece a bit of character and some white acrylic paint and an old ruler to push the paint into the stencil.


7. The handles were a gold antique colour which is not the best match for grey but don’t despair, you can find great spray paint in your local B&Q and one blast instantly transforms them into chrome coloured handles.


8. Now the piece just needs a couple of coats of varnish or furniture wax to protect it. The wax will darken the colour – see the top far left drawer.




Feeling inspired? Find used furniture on Gumtree and add your personal touch with upcycling techniques.