Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Spot of Upcycling

Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year!
As with a lot of people, New Year to me is about fresh starts, new hobbies and learning a little more about yourself. In fact, next weekend I will be attending a jewellery workshop at our local Heritage Centre as this is not something I have tried before. I will be sure to let you all know how that goes! 
In-keeping with this New Year theme, I decided that for my first craft project of 2015, I would give something I own a new lease of life. Now this is my very first upcycling project, so I would love to know your thoughts (and tips for any future ones).

Back on my 13th Birthday, my best friend bought me a jewellery box that looks like a little wardrobe... And I loved it! I've always remembered the excitement on her face when she handed it over to me to open. Around a year later, she moved to Australia. We still keep in touch and she actually got married in December last year - so congratulations to you both!

Now, over 10 years later I still have (and use!) this jewellery box as a memory of our friendship. Over the years, decor and taste changes and so to bring my jewellery box up-to-date, I thought I would give it a little makeover. 

I worked on this over the past few weekends in the spare moments of time I did get. It did involve a little waiting around, so it was great as a project to keep going back to when I had a spare 5.

Please feel free to use my process for this as a guide for your own upcycling project. 

To start, make sure you protect your work area with an old sheet to allow for sanding dust and paint splatter.

Before I could do anything to the jewellery box, I had to prep it. I started off by covering all the components that I didn't want to get paint on (such as the handles and glass) in masking tape for protection. If you are able to unscrew and remove such components, you are best of doing that.

The jewellery box was coated in a layer of varnish so I then had to sand the whole thing down with sandpaper to remove it. I am not going to lie, this part was very tedious and took a fair bit of time and elbow grease. This process can create a lot of dust, so you are better off doing it in an open space. If I am to go totally health and safety on you, I would recommend wearing some kind of respiratory mask as well!

As sanding down does create a lot of dust, you will need to make sure to wipe down the jewellery box afterwards. I used a soft cloth which I dampened so that any loose dust would stick to it. Make sure to dispose of any loose dust that has also gathered on your sheet. With the dust out of the way, there will be no dust-related mishaps when painting!

Once the jewellery box was sanded down, I got some white primer and coated it with this as a base for the paint to adhere to. I needed 2-3 coats of it overall.
My dad had a spare tin in his study so I just used this. I wouldn't go out and buy any specifically for such a small project, as I can guarantee a family member would have some lying around somewhere!

Once I had coated the jewellery box in 2-3 coats of primer, I started to paint. I didn't want all one color as this would have just been too similar to what it was before. I opted for a pale gold to lift the mocha tones throughout our bedroom, and mixed my own dark teal colour for contrast. As this was a small project, and wouldn't be used to the extent a piece of furniture would be, I just used acrylic paint - which I had plenty of!

This process took a long time as I had to keep going back to it. Not only this, but the fiddly parts such as inside the compartments and ensuring I didn't get the teal on the gold sections and vice versa, took a lot of time. I painted 3-4 coats overall. 

Once the paint had dried completely, I was able to remove all of the masking tape that had been used for protection. To finish off, I inserted a cut sheet of paper featuring a contrasting stripe pattern behind the glass panel in the door of the box. Papers like this can be found in most craft / art shops. This particular one was taken from the Wildflower Premium Paper Pad which can be found from The Works. I simply cut it to size, and then used double sided tape to fix it directly onto the back of the glass panel.

And there we have it! My very first upcycling project, and first completed project for the New Year. Hopefully this time next week I will have some new handmade jewellery to keep inside it!

I would love to hear your thoughts and see your upcycling projects too. The whole process has become so popular and accepted over the past few years and its intriguing to see how creative people can get.

Again I hope you have enjoyed the read and that I have inspired you to do something creative in your spare hours.

Keep watching this space.


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