I’ve never ‘upcycled’ anything before, until now! Upcycling a cabinet was fun and challenging, and here’s how we managed it.
Nearly a year and a half ago, we bought this pine corner cabinet for just £40 from a lady who was clearing out her mum’s house.
It was such a great bargain, and fits in that corner so perfectly (thank goodness, we didn’t measure it). The cabinet was far from in perfect condition. Around the bottom half of the door were dents and scratches that I wasn’t sure would come out, even with sanding. And the pine in that colour looked a little old fashioned for our taste, but we bought it anyway, knowing that we’d be able to fix it up.
I kept putting off upgrading the cabinet, until Valspar got in touch and challenged me to upcycle a piece of furniture. I knew straight away which piece of furniture was going to be the lucky one, and agreed.
We headed down to our local B&Q to buy the paint, the sanding equipment and anything else we might need for upcycling a cabinet.
For the entire project, we bought:
- Wood primer, white
- Sand paper, a mixture of fine and medium grit
- Bosch orbit sander
- Paint tray and rollers
- Interior wood and metal paint, 2.5 litre, in eggshell from Valspar (paint colour name: Fortune’s Mist)
This is the part I hate of any DIY. Give me a paintbrush and I’ll happily paint something for 6 hours, but putting tape around the edges? Sanding? Eugh.
We started by taking the unit apart, and taking all the hinges off and screws out. Jay sanded the shelves down completely, taking the horrible orange varnish off.
We decided to keep the shelves this colour, but paint the rest of the cabinet. This meant that the shelves needed a clear protective coating to stop them from becoming stained or damaged. We already had some wood coating in the garage from when we updated our garage doors, so Jay put this on, and the shelves were done.
He then briefly sanded the rest of the unit just to remove the top layer of varnish. We wiped the whole thing down with a damp cloth to remove any dust, and left it to dry.
The next stage of upcycling a cabinet was to prime it. This is a job I don’t mind too much so I took over.
The wood primer from Valspar was really effective. We needed to put two coats on to make sure there wasn’t any wood showing through, but it went on smoothly.
The cabinet has a glass door which I wanted to protect from any paint, so I used masking tape and newspaper to make sure the glass was covered:
Next, on to the exciting bit: getting the colour on! Again the colour went on really smoothly, but it dried a little bit too quickly, so it started to clump together if I went over it too many times. I learned from this, and did a small section at a time, going around the edges with a paintbrush and then filling in the gap with a roller.
One coat wasn’t enough, and it was a little patchy in some places:
The second coat went on an absolute dream, and covered any patchy bits that I was previously worried about.
Overall, I was very happy with the Valspar paint and primer. The one thing I did notice with the primer was that it would scratch away quite easily, despite being dry. There was a couple of times where a paintbrush hair got stuck in the paint, and when I tried to get it out, the primer came off with the paint. Hopefully, this won’t be too much of an issue. The paint we got was eggshell, so hopefully is a little hard wearing.
Cabinet: £40, secondhand
Paint and primer: £70*
New paintbrushes, rollers, and sanding equipment: £20 (this cost doesn’t include the brand new £50 Bosch orbit sander we bought, which I consider an investment as it’ll be used again. Therefore the below project total doesn’t include this.)
TOTAL COST: £130
The unit in the photo below is made of pine, and is in a style very similar to mine. Although it’s currently in the sale, full price it costs a huge £635 which we never would have been able to afford.
This is why buying solid wood furniture from charity shops, or a car boot sale is always worth doing. If the wood is in good condition, you can do almost anything with it for a fraction of the price.
I’m so excited the unit is finished. Upcycling a cabinet was surprisingly easy, it just took time and patience.
Have you ever tried upcycling a piece of furniture? How did it go?
*The paint was gifted to me for this project from Valspar. All opinions are mine. This post also contains multiple affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase something after clicking through the link on my site.