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RECYLING OLD FURNITURE FOR PROFIT AND FUN

Updated on March 22, 2011
Child's dresser with stripes, butterflies and ivy. Even a tiny bird nest.
Child's dresser with stripes, butterflies and ivy. Even a tiny bird nest.
Rugged old wall cabinet, painted barn red and distressed to make it look even older.
Rugged old wall cabinet, painted barn red and distressed to make it look even older.
Old Milk crate made into a little cabinet and given a 40's look complete with mosaic knob.
Old Milk crate made into a little cabinet and given a 40's look complete with mosaic knob.
Hat boxes.
Hat boxes.
Bunnies in a tug of war on an old garden bench.
Bunnies in a tug of war on an old garden bench.
Child's roll top desk with pink butterflies, sripes and flowers.
Child's roll top desk with pink butterflies, sripes and flowers.

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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    • mslizzee profile image
      Author

      elizabeth 5 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      Thank you Crafting. I appreciate your comments.

    • CraftingTime profile image

      CraftingTime 5 years ago from Spring Hill, Florida

      That roll desk is beautful! I also like the idea with the hat boxes. I never considered repainting them. Great Hub.

    • mslizzee profile image
      Author

      elizabeth 6 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      Hi Enlydia:

      For several years I sold furniture as fast as I could paint it. I even had some benches made. I sols them on Ebay and yes, I made quite a lot of money on it, BUT, the past 3 to 5 years it stopped being succesful on Ebay. In my opionion not only the economy was the problem but ebay too. They started allowing people to list the same piece of furniture (cheap imports from China) dozens of times on the same page. It cluttered the pages up with cheap junk and my things got lost and stopped selling.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      I'm very impressed with your talent...I love this idea, and every time I go to the thrift store I look at pieces that I would love to decorate...it is still all in my head, and I haven't tried it yet. Thanks for the inspiration. Did you make enough money to justify the time?

    • mslizzee profile image
      Author

      elizabeth 7 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      Yes thank you. I am so grateful for any kind words. I've written about 20 hubs and all of them seem to violate something and I'm getting really frustrated. Thanks again.

    • Tuesdays child profile image

      Tuesdays child 7 years ago from In the garden

      Wow, these are beautiful!!! You have a fantastic sense of color/design -utterly wonderful. I'm voting this up, up, up!!! I voted funny too, tho not in the funny sense, but in the sense that kids would love it funny. Does that make sense???

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