Creative Upcycled Storage Solutions
I love a bargain and I’m also quite creative so I wanted to share some projects that cost me next to nothing to make. I also love a storage idea and believe that you can’t have too many places to tidy everything away.
There is a real buzz out of making something useful or just attractive from something which has been thrown to the back of the second-hand store. All the items in the photographs have been purchased very inexpensively or were already in the house but well past their best.
The decoration on the items has been done by using a simple craft process called Napkin Decoupage. It is really easy, even children can do it!
I will show you how to use Napkin Decoupage to decorate items but first I wanted to show some finished projects. Of course, if you don’t like the shabby chic effect, there is no need to add the decoration.
This shelf was originally dark wood and looked so old fashioned, I had to sand it and give it several coats of paint. It makes a fab bedside cabinet for the spare room with lots of room for books and magazines.
These creative, upcycled storage solutions can be made to sell at markets or online, to bring a new look to a room or to make a really personal gift for someone.
The materials needed are also very inexpensive to buy, in fact, the only thing you will need lots of is PATIENCE!
Here is an old fashioned toy boat which I painted and placed in the bathroom in a standing position to display toiletries, candles, etc. The box with the mesh front can be used as a flat storage container or in an upright position as a spice jar cabinet or as a bathroom cabinet.
We are all crazy about storage. There has to be a box or container for everything these days. Some of these items were found at car boot sales, it’s surprising what you can find if you look around.
Use your imagination to think about how you can transform something, not just in appearance, but also to use in a completely different way.
Most surfaces can be painted, varnished or polished it’s just spotting objects that can be transformed.
This writing box was dark brown wood, very well made, probably old but very boring. I didn’t want to make it look brand new so after a couple of coats of paint, I lightly distressed the paint with sandpaper.
How To Distress Wood
To distress something you need to think about where the item would be handled the most. Pick it up yourself, open the drawers, lift the lid, these areas should be lightly sanded. Think about the little crevices where dust could collect and the areas where sun damage is most likely.
The box above is mass produced and made with really cheap wood. I’ve seen these boxes in plain wood in Ikea but this one was from a charity shop and cost 50p.
Use any paint that you have left over, the boxes are small and only need a small amount. You will be surprised just how much paint you can get out of what was previously thought to be an empty can. Mix two almost empty can contents together and create a unique colour. I use neutral colours but there is no reason not to go for bright colours too.
Buy some sample pots from the Do It Yourself shop if you don’t have any leftover paint. If you want to sell the things that you make, pay a little more for your samples and get well-known designer paint (eg Farrow and Ball or Laura Ashley) Customers love to see these names and you should always mention the designer and colour in any product descriptions. Take a photograph of your sample pot to show the colour name (and prove that you used it!) The item will be much more popular and you can ask for more money.
Here are some more unusual items that I found and upcycled to give a new lease of life. I added a couple of coats of paint and some clear varnish to give a professional look.
The bread bin was made from cheap white MDF materials. It needed a really good scrub inside and out before I started to add paint. The small wooden bowl is kept by the front door for coins etc and the letter rack was previously a very boring toast rack.
These are upcycled jewellry boxes. The second-hand shops are full of them and with a little paint and napkin decoupage, they can make lovely, bespoke gifts for friends. Don’t forget to paint inside the drawers too.
Decoupaging the painted surfaces.
The items shown in the photographs have all been decorated using an effect called Napkin Decoupage.
I have written a tutorial on napkin decoupage which can be seen here.
To explain very briefly, it is the craft of using paper napkins which are attached to a surface with glue. Paper napkins are usually two or three ply (2 or 3 layers). These layers need to be separated and just the very delicate top layer is applied. I picked out roses from the printed napkin and cut them out but the whole napkin can be applied.
The napkin has to be applied without creasing, which needs patience. However, if a distressed or shabby chic look is required the occasional crease gives an aged effect.
When you are happy with the placement of the napkin several fine layers of clear varnish should be applied. This improves the look but more importantly, it gives durability to the item.
I used Cath Kidston napkins which can be bought separately on eBay. If you plan to sell the item a designer name will make it much more desirable. The napkins are extremely good quality and you can complete several projects with just one napkin, so it’s really cheap!
Invest in a really good pair of craft scissors which are super sharp to cut out the delicate floral patterns.
I made these small wall hanging cabinets into a key tidy and a letter rack, they look great in the kitchen and keep all the mess well out of the way. You can always add hooks to make something much more useful or buy little clips or magnets to attach things too.
This is an old cutlery drawer which I now use to keep pens, batteries, pens, chargers etc I also have one which I distressed and I keep makeup in that one. I love this idea because everything is on show and you don’t have to go rooting around looking for something you need.
Buy just one good quality paintbrush and clean it after every use. A really small paintbrush also comes in handy to get in nooks and crannies.
I hope you like this post. I have loads of crafty ideas I would love to show to you. Maybe you have some ideas you would like to share?
Thank you for reading.