Up-cycling: repurposing your old items
What’s that old saying? “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” With a little creativity and some tools, you can give almost anything a new lease of life. From charity shops to dumpster diving, you can find all sorts of amazing furniture people are willing to part with for next to nothing.
According to the British Heart Foundation, 30% of people have thrown away furniture, electrical items and homewares in good enough condition that could have been re-used, sold or donated. Whether you’re on a budget or even just looking for a new hobby, up-cycling is a very sustainable and budget friendly way to add a little character to your home. Keep reading to discover how you too could become an up-cycling pro.
Historically, furniture was considered an investment. You’d expect it to last at least a decade or more. When a furniture piece was looking worse for wear, you’d take to the sander or the paintbrush and it’d be good for another few years.
However, as with fast fashion, we’re seeing a rise in fast furniture, where furniture items are being cheaply mass produced and then discarded to keep up with ever-changing interior trends. As an example, the popular IKEA Billy bookcase is produced 15 times a minute, and at the same time, the UK throws away over one million tonnes of bulky waste each year, according to the RSA.
Making more sustainable choices
It’s easy to get started with your up-cycling journey and you could begin by looking around your own home. There’s no right or wrong way to up-cycle, but there are some things that can make the process run smoother.
1. Prep is key
Possibly the least exciting step, but certainly the most important. Cleaning and sanding away old paint and scuff marks will make all the difference to the outcome of your final product, particularly if you’re planning on re-painting. For more vintage items, it also helps to do some prior research to keep your up-cycled item consistent with the same era as it was originally produced.
2. Be imaginative
That old, wooden ladder could become a great place to store your books, towels or other trinkets. Thinking outside the box or looking for inspiration online is a great way to repurpose those really tricky items.
3. Invest in quality tools
Spending a little extra on paintbrushes and even an electric sander will only add to the quality of your finished piece. Cheap brushes for example, often shed bristles which are likely to leave streaks (probably not the shabby chic look you were intending).
Soon, you’ll have a home filled with beautiful pieces that mean so much more, because you played a part in re-designing them. If you’d like to give your pieces a more professional touch, then you might consider a carpentry course with Walsall College. We have state of the art workshops for you to create and repurpose all sorts of quality, handmade pieces.
Apply now to secure your place for September. See our Carpentry courses.