RECYLING OLD FURNITURE FOR PROFIT AND FUN
One of the most enjoyable hobbies I’ve ever pursued was taking old, discarded furniture, stripping it and painting it with something creative. I offered it for sale on Ebay and did quite well.
I believe the secret to selling hand painted furniture apart from perhaps the ordinary is this; studying the piece, visualizing its use and staying with the character of the furniture. For instance I found a little dresser that was obviously hand constructed and it was too low, probably suitable for a little girl. The top veneer had lifted and it was warped from the rain. A real mess, but the lines were so cute. The appropriate use seemed to be for a little girl in pastel colors, with butterflies.
It helps to study the character of the piece. If it is a rugged old earthy looking garden bench, pastel pink rose buds probably won’t work. Instead use something organic looking, leaves, rabbits, flower- pots in muted, earthy shades. Save the pink rose buds for a delicate little piece, something for a little child's room.
Pictured in these photos is an old wall cabinet, which was one of my favorite pieces. It was rugged, found at a garage sale and I decided to give it a country French look in barn red. After painting it got a quick spot sanding and painted on cracks to make it look very old. I had to replace the hardware as it was just too old to function.
Elmer’s Glue and some clamps are necessary, an electric hand sander helps, paint remover, base coats and topcoats and then some acrylic artists paints. Builders (Home Depot) sometimes have sections where they offer furniture paints in little bottles and shaped sponges that you can use when you need to repeat the same shape dozens of times, like ivy leaves. You will need masking tape for masking off areas and making stripes. Mostly patience and desire to make something beautiful that otherwise would go to the dump.
Your own special touches will make the piece original. For an old milk crate that someone had made into a little shelf unit, I used some broken china and covered the knob with a little mosaic, which really made the piece unsusual.
You can start with hatboxes. Buy some inexpensive ones on Ebay, paint them with a base coat of white then design a theme. For instance pansies, or fruit, or bows and carry that theme out for the entire set. Its fun to match your hat boxes or flower pots to the furniture piece and include it as a bonus to your buyer.
You can find all sorts of interesting furniture pieces at yard sales and in junk shops. Most of the things I found cost less than $30.00. My most popular item was a garden bench. I was able to find a lot of old crusty benches to refinish and paint with bunnies, sun flowers etc. Also a source is unfinished furniture. Sometimes you can find pieces on sale and you save time and cost of having to refinish them.
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