I am a compulsive 'upcycler' of old furniture and cannot bear to see anything go to waste or get scrapped.
Give me an old anything; house, chair, piece of wood and I will make a plan to turn it into something good. (I think so, anyway!)
I recycled before recycling came into fashion and will continue to do so when it is no longer trendy.
These adorable little creatures are fascinating to watch and I have used this image in my book as one of the projects. I stencilled the seahorse onto a litter bin for the bathroom and have detailed how to go about stencilling onto wooden surfaces in this excerpt from the book. For more sealife stencils click here for a shell border and here for a dolphin stencil. These designs are free to use but as always I ask that you donate something to your local charity in return.
Any wooden surface that is properly
prepared or is in good condition is ideal for stencilling. Wooden floors look
lovely when stencilled and give a cottagey feel to a room. The stencilling can
be used to demarcate different areas of the room or to define the borders of
spaces that are used for certain functions. For example a large open-plan area
could be divided up into sitting and dining areas by the application of a
Articles of wooden furniture can be
enhanced by a pretty motif or border. Wooden chests that can be used as
children’s toy boxes or linen chests are a good item for beginners. Small
cupboards, tables and chairs can also benefit from a little decoration. If the
paintwork on the item is in good condition and has not been sealed then you can
stencil it and then apply a sealer or varnish to protect the finish. Any type
of paint can be used as long as it is compatible with the existing base coat.
If the existing paintwork is in poor
condition you will have to strip the wood and sand it down before beginning any
work. The finished result will only be as good as the surface you are working
on so it is important to ensure a good preparation. Remove any handles or knobs
and repair any loose hinges or joints before beginning to paint.
If you want to paint an unfinished wooden
item first apply one coat of universal undercoat and then either two coats of
the desired colour or a paint effect of your choice. The stencil can then be
applied and finished with varnish or sealant.
New, unfinished wood that is smoothly
sanded can be stencilled on directly and finished with two coats of an
appropriate sealer. Wooden floors need to be sanded with a floor-sanding
machine – these can usually be hired from a tool hire company easily found in
the Yellow Pages under Tools. They will also be able to supply the sandpaper in
different grades to fit the machine. You will need to sand with rough grit
first, then a medium and finish with a fine to get a really smooth even finish.
The sanding is not difficult or terribly strenuous to do – rather like cutting
the lawn – but does make a huge mess of sawdust so do use a paper face mask to
reduce the amount of dust you inhale.