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Upcycling a Footstool

1 Jun

Ages ago Katie kindly gave me this lovely footstool that once belonged to her grandmother. I’d been looking for one to do up for a while and this was exactly what I’d been looking for. It’s already been well used in my house but I finally got round to doing it up.

I started by stripping off all the old fabric and padding and giving the whole thing a good clean. I found fabric I liked in Fabrics Galore (Wandsworth Road, London) and wadding in The Crafty Sewer in Tooting.

I cut the wadding to size and lightly secured it on the footstool top with glue. Then I wrapped the fabric around it and got out the trusty staple gun. Halfway through it was obvious that the wadding wasn’t up to the job so I cut a second piece and layered them together. I’m still not completely happy though so any tips from furniture restorers on where to find proper wadding would be much appreciated. It does the job well enough for now though so I finished stapling the fabric securely round the top with a firm even stretch across the top.

I wanted to keep it dark wood but freshen it up, so the next step was to give the wooden base a good sand and a new coat of varnish. This was more difficult than I thought because some of the vanish came off easily and other parts were more difficult so it too a lot of elbow grease to get an even tone. You can still see the grain but I like that.

Two coats of varnish and the footstool is finished. Thank you Katie!


Decoupage Inspiration

16 Mar

Ever since I saw Nova & Lorsten’s cool Mills & Boon decoupage products at The New Vintage Event in Brixton I’ve been looking for a way to use it in a project. We have two very boring Ikea coffee tables at home which are starting to look a bit tatty so my flatmate and I are going to give it a try. Meanwhile here are the ideas that have been inspiring me on Pinterest.

Source: via Hannah on Pinterest

I love the patchwork effect on this chair.

Source: via Julie on Pinterest

Maps are a popular idea for decoupage.

Source: via Hannah on Pinterest

This table has been decoupaged with fabric rather than paper.

Source: via Hannah on Pinteres

I’m mildly obsessed with butterflies so using this wrapping paper would be right up my street.


Ideas for craft projects

21 Feb

A few ideas I have spotted recently…

I love this vintage suitcase stand on Shabby, Chic and Charming. I have been really struggling to get hold of the legs I want for the suitcase project I still haven’t finished (as soon as I get the legs I’ll be done, so hopefully I will post it soon!). This is a neat alternative – using a luggage stand to put the suitcase on. The only problem is that I think it might be too high for what I want it for, but if I don’t find legs in the next week, I will definitely be giving this a go!

Another great idea for old luggage – turn it into a charging station! Seen on Design*Sponge.

I love this simple but beautiful leather case for the Kindle Fire. Seen on Momtastic.

Transform a board game into a jewellery box! Via ReadyMade

What have you been making lately?

Five minute project: tile coasters

15 Feb

My family have had these tiles for a LONG time. We bought them when we lived in Mexico and since then they have graced various pieces of furniture – they formed a table top originally, then were carefully removed and used on top of a bar, and now my parents have used them as part of a bathroom backsplash. They are great and I wanted to do something with the ones they no longer needed.

As I now have some real wood side tables, the first thing that came to mind was that I should make them into some coasters! I ordered some felt from Amazon, which arrived a day after ordering it.

All I then needed to do was cut it to size and stick it to the back using some strong glue.

Project done!

It took five minutes, they look great, will protect the tables from scratches and ring marks, and I actually only needed one piece of the felt (would anyone like some? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll drop you an e-mail and post it to you for free).

Upcycling inspiration

6 Feb

I am currently working on a little bit of an upcycling project, taking a wooden suitcase I bought back in August in Newcastle and turning it into a coffee table. It’s proving a little trickier than expected, which I will tell you all about when I finally finish doing the work (working on the house seems to take precedence at the minute), but I thought I would share some of my inspiration as there are so many great examples of re-purposing furniture out there at the minute.

I have a couple of these library card holders, which I currently use for holding my spices, but this is a great alternative for them. Via Style by Emily Henderson

And here’s another great use of an old drawer cabinet being used as a coffee table. Those little legs make it just the right height. Via Richmond Thrifter.

Repurpose an old dresser by painting it and adding some hooks and a paper towel holder. Via Small Place Style.

This suitcase storage solution on Etsy is a great idea and so different!

It could even be as simple as putting a crate on its side and using it as a storage solution / coffee table – what a great idea! Via Pinterest.

Ideas for craft projects

24 Jan

A round up of some great craft projects found on pinterest.

Origami heart bookmark via Bloomize

DIY Stencil pillows via Wit and Whistle

Sweet hand made teabags - what a great gift tag idea!

Amazing upcycled map drawers via Richmond Thrifter

Have you seen any good craft projects lately? Share them in the comments!

Furniture Upcycling

15 Jan

My flatmate and I have have been keeping our eyes out recently for things for our home that don’t cost us a fortune. My flatmate needed a new bed and spotted this on ebay. A nail biting £28 later and with a bit of sweet talking her father to collect it she was the proud owner of this solid wood frame bed.

With a quick rub down with sand paper, a coat of primer and a couple of coats of ivory cream satin wood it now looks beautiful in her bedroom.  In total it cost about £45 and a bit of elbow grease.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hankering after having a dining table but we don’t have the space for one that’s up all the time. The other day I was walking past a nearby house clearance shop and spotted a small drop leaf table outside. I did a deal including delivery for £40 and with the same treatment as above now have a handy table that serves as a side table by day but can be brought out with some folding chairs if people come round for dinner.

The table had clearly been well used if not loved

Quick refresh: Kitchen Cupboards

12 Jan

After the success of my fireplace upcycling, I decided to have a go at painting our kitchen cupboards.

Why would anyone choose grey kitchen cabinets? Of all the colours!? Grey!?

Eventually, the plan is to buy a new kitchen, but it might take us some time to save up the money to do this (especially as the windows need to be repaired, which is slightly more urgent). So I took one of the handles to IKEA, so that I could get some slightly less naff looking replacements, and gave it a quick paint job.

Because the units aren’t wood (they were MDF with a laminate face), I was worried that the paint wouldn’t stick to it. I used the same primer and white paint colour I had for the fireplace, but it did require one additional coat of paint to make the surface appear even.  But the units are small and the paint dries quickly, so I was able to completely transform the kitchen using primer, 3 coats of paint and a few hours of work (in total the painting took me two days to allow for drying time).

The handles were around £3 for two, and we spent around £15 in total. The paint we already had from some other work we are doing, and despite the 3 coats, we used quite a small amount. Bargain!

Upcycling a fireplace surround

10 Jan

There is a lot of work to do in our new flat, some of which we are doing ourselves (painting, laying new flooring, replacing the skirting boards) and some of which we need a builder’s skills to do (taking down walls, fixing the creaky stairs, evening out the flooring in the very wonky bedroom).

One thing we did almost straight away, which instantly lifts the room, is to paint the fireplace surround.

The existing fireplace surround is fine, but with wooden flooring throughout this room, it could quickly start to feel a bit heavy. We talked about replacing it, and buying a white one with a bit more detailing, but in the end we realised that we could easily just paint it white.

A quick lick of primer and two coats later, it looks transformed!  A very different look at a minimal cost.

Champagne lighting

19 Nov

It was almost a year ago that I spotted this tutorial on the Wit and Whistle website. I loved the look of it and thought it was such a pretty idea. Eventually P and I want to have four of these lights, each made with a ‘special’ bottle of champagne. For the first one, which we just made, we used a bottle of Mumm that we drank last Christmas. It was our first ‘Christmas’ together (we celebrated a few days before as I was flying out to see my family on the 23rd) and it was absolutely wonderful. The next one we make will be with the bottle of (delicious) Cornish Camel Valley champagne we drank when we moved in together.

There’s a great guide on how to create the lights on the W&W blog, so I won’t write out a step by step break down of how to do this (although there are lots of pics below!) but from my perspective, the things that I would say you need to note are:

  1. The drilling takes a hella long time. Be patient.
  2. Don’t go too fast at first, as you can crack the glass.
  3. Brace the bottle in a big open hardback book (we used the Collins Complete DIY Manual) to keep it steady, as especially toward the end the bottle and drill get a bit wobbly.
  4. If you’re having trouble ‘breaking through’ the glass, use a metal drillbit toward the end. It worked really well for us.
  5. Make sure you remember (we didn’t) to remove any of the stickers you don’t want BEFORE you start drilling.

Tools and protection

Masking tape helps keep it steady

I am officially no longer scared of drilling

Ready for the lights!

And then… ta da!


We’ll hopefully be cracking the next bottle open in December, when we move into our brand new flat together!

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