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  • Writer's pictureKelly Ratcliffe

Upcycling: Beginner Tips

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

The great thing about upcycling is that there really are no limits as to what colour, what handles, what finish, if you want to take out shelves, add in shelves, spray paint, patterns ... the list goes on and the creative options are endless!

Upcycling is a sustainable, cost-effective way to create your own one of a kind pieces at home.

Here are a few tips when starting your own upcycling project:

1. Preparation

Always plan ahead and make sure you have the right tools & materials needed. Give your piece of furniture a good wipe down because we don't want dust and webs in our brushes! Be sure to allow some time for corrections and any neatening up you may need to do. Try not to rush too much!

2. Be imaginative

Get that creative hat on and think outside the box! Ladders are ladders but ladders can also be great hanging plant rack or a towel rail. A boring black rusty metal shelf could turn into a golden spray painted chic shelving unit.

3. See the potential

You may go by a high end brand of furniture and love it & buy it. Before you do, consider that you may find something structurally very similar or even with more character for free or at a low cost second hand which can be upcycle and totally customised for you and YOU only for a fraction of the price, bespoke piece and helping to support the environment by reusing and not encouraging more manufacturing.

See our website & instagram for some before & afters:

Instagram: @upcyclehongkong

Image courtesy of @upcyclehongkong

4. Go crazy but keep within style

Ok, so, I still stand by you can do whatever you like when it comes to upcycling but just try to plan out the colours to what era or style the piece of furniture is. lets not go too shabby chic on an extremely modern piece or too modern on a very old vintage piece.

5. Invest in your materials

It is worth considering to spend that tiny bit extra of better quality brushes for a few reasons being that it will last longer (not continually buying is the aim), bristles may not fall out like cheaper versions and the coverage may turn out better with a better quality brush. Most brands of paint do compliment with their own brushes but its not necessary to buy from that brand.

6. Old socks!

Sounds funny buy the less the fluffy the better as they are great for using to apply wax!

8. Remove accessories

Take off/unscrew the old drawer knobs first so you don't paint around them only to find when you remove the old ones, the new ones are smaller and you have a space with no paint. Sometimes even removing hinges and giving them a spray paint makes all the difference too, and helps neaten the work.

9. Outdoor

Don't forget, upcycling is for outside the home too! Plenty of outdoor paints are available to make a pastel outdoor vibe, or crackled effect or just a general spruce up on your worn out wooden furniture. Metals an wickers are also able to be upcycled!

10. Finishes

Once you have finished your pieces, make sure you protect all your hard work with wax or varnish to give it longevity. After putting so much effort into making something re-loved, you really want to look after it as much as you can. But fear not! you'll be a pro and you can go in for touch ups whenever!

11. Just do it!

Don't hold off or be afraid to start, you will make mistakes and you might not understand why its turned out the way it is but you WILL work it out and you WILL create something amazing!

Upcycle Hong Kong have just launched nearly 30 different styles of drawer pulls to help get the inspo for changing up your furniture! check them out on

New drawer pulls available at

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