Today I am sharing some upcycling projects for your home, with an upcycled telephone table and “whatnot” or side table project, from one of our community, Danielle.
The first project is the “whatnot” side table that Danielle’s Nan gave her Mum many moons ago (from the 1970’s) which she inherited, and the other is a telephone table she picked up here in Adelaide, that needed a little love and to be brought into this century gently!
Danielle is a keen upcycler and says she has other items they have yet to upcycle, and some big projects on the to do list of course, including a smokers lamp, tables, chairs, floor lamps from the 1950’s – which she will share as she gets to them!
Here is what she did.
Upcycling the whatnot
- After a thorough wipe down with soap and water we disassembled the whatnot.
- The whatnot legs are made of four separate pieces. We unscrewed them working from the top down to enable us to free the three tiers.
- The items looks like it may be made of bamboo and we gave it a light sand to take off any shine or varnish, and to give the paint something to grab onto.
- The old brass wheels were given a wipe down, and then the brass was given a polish with furniture polish, there is some pitting due to age but overall I think that adds to the look.
- Next we spray painted the three tiers both front and back, this took around three coats and we used “Dulux Duramax high performance enamel-gloss antique”
- We decided to leave the legs of the whatnot with dark wood as we have floor lamps in the same tone and it ties in with our look. Also the painted legs tie in with the colour of our picture frames.
- The item was left to dry about a month, as you don’t want the smell of paint fumes in a house. A coat of spray varnish completed the look.”Dulux duramax gloss clear coat”
After reassembly the item now takes pride of place in the lounge room and is used daily as a moveable coffee table.
How to upcycle a vintage telephone table
- We gave the item a good wipe down with a cloth so it was dirt and dust free.
- Next we disassembled the telephone table, unscrewing the legs and the drawer, and carefully popped out the vinyl seat.
- The legs and drawer were sanded thoroughly to take off the original dark stain.
- The colour we chose to spray it is called gloss antique – “Dulux Duramax high performance enamel” and it was given two coats, letting each coat dry in between, followed by a spray varnish – “Dulux Duramax gloss clear coat” and it was given several weeks drying time outside to air off.
- We carefully prised the old vinyl off the seat, and found the wadding underneath was still in good condition.
- We stretched the material over the seat being careful to tuck the edges in carefully before using a heavy duty stapler to attach it. It helps to have a second pair of hands for this part, as you need to flip it fabric side up, to ensure your material is straight and where you want the design positioned.
- Lastly we reattached the drawer to the telephone table frame/legs and pushed the newly recovered seat back into it’s frame and it was screwed together.
Why I love upcycling
Hi I’m Danielle and I have an intense love for all things retro, vintage, or a wee bit threadbare. After moving to Adelaide with my partner a little over 18 months ago we started visiting op shops, auctions, and recycling centres. The idea was to furnish our home with a few interesting pieces that we could make over and that didn’t cost the earth.
It’s a treat to find treasures that my Nan or Mum may have had, whether it’s a telephone table or an art deco unit. There is a history in every ding, scratch and scrape of a well loved piece of furniture. When I find something made with good quality workmanship and materials it gives me a sense of joy. I love that things were made by hand, to last a lifetime, and I often wonder who made it, or owned it. Sometimes I find myself researching a piece that we own on the internet and it’s fascintating to discover the history behind it. Especially early Australian designers.
In a time of mass consumption I realised that I don’t want what everyone has. What I want is something bespoke, that means something to me, and that I have a hand in upcycling, making that item shine once more. Probably the best upcyclers were our grandparents and parents, who often made do with what they had. Not having a lot of money doesn’t mean you can’t upcycle. Fabric and paint are usually quite a quick cheap fix and the results can look amazing.
In the end the things I make over give me joy, because I have taken an object and with love, made it mine.
How wonderful! If you would like to share your projects just get in touch