Upcycled Furniture

Drinks Cabinet Upcycle


I thought I’d share another old upcycle with you.

It’s customary in France to invite your neighbour round for an aperitif prior to dinner. It’s good to be aware of this custom as it is just that, a pre-dinner cocktail, and not an invitation to dinner. This can catch Les Anglais out as we tend to invite people for dinner or for a drinks party, but not for a brief drink. When my parents first moved to France my mother found herself embarrassingly in the situation of not realising that this was the custom and slowly coming to the realisation that she was doing something wrong when she started to notice the furtive glances at wrist watches and shuffling in seats. A guideline to not outstay your welcome is one to one and a half hours. imageIt’s worth remembering too that you do not need to turn up to your hosts home with anything such as a bottle of wine, however if you do feel naked going to someone’s house with nothing in hand you can always take some home made produce, vegetables grown in the gardens flowers straight from your garden. These don’t necessarily have to be presented in special packaging either – as we may do back home as a sort of polish to a homemade gift (I wonder if we do that because we’ve lost the value of making things ourselves?). On another occasion my mother had brought a bottle of wine to her new neighbours as a. Christmas gift and was rather surprised to find, having opened the bottle, their gentleman neighbour went to his wine cellar with a hastily wrapped bottle in the paper shed just give him! Their masters of ‘waste not want not’ the. French.

How to Upcycle A Drinks Cabinet

In anticipation of inviting my neighbours round I wanted an appropriate cocktail cabinet which I could store all my spirits in. I found this old 1930s drinks cabinet and decided to upcycle it to suit my decor. Here is how it’s done.

  1. The first thing I did was carefully remove the back of the cabinet which had been covered in fabric that had aged badly. This allowed easy access to the interior of the cabinet for painting.
  2. Using Autentico chalk paint in Antique Pink I painted two coats straight onto the veneered parts of the cabinet. You don’t need any other prep with chalk paint, just make sure it’s clean and dry. Also this type of paint is very quick drying and on a hot day it can be dry within 20 minutes, giving you just enough time for a cup of tea or café in between coats.
  3. As well as benefiting from no preparation when using chalk paint there is the additional benefit when imageapplying it tp objects with a a lot of glass and thin strips of wood such as this cabinet and that is that the paint’s texture is as it states, chalky. Therefore you don’t need to take too much care being precise as it’s very easy to scrape off any excess with a glass scrape quickly and easily; it just falls away like powdered chalk.
  4. To seal the paint I applied two coats of Annie Sloan wax. Just take some on a lint free cloth and apply it to an area of about 30cm circumference in a circular motion. Then take a second lint free cloth and buff it, using some elbow grease as my mum would say, to create a shine.
  5. Next lay the material you want to back your cupboard with, I chose a raspberry pink Toile de Jouy, and lay it out on a large work surface such as a dining room table. Lay the backing board over it and, using a vanishing ink seamstress pen, outline it’s shape. Then cut it out with pincer scissors to stop the edges fraying as you work.
  6. Spray the back of the fabric with fabric glue spray liberally a little at a time starting in one corner, lining it up and smoothing out any wrinkles whilst applying and then continuing to the next piece when satisfied.
  7. Next use a good quality staple gun to fix the board the cabinet and, if needed, then use upholstery nails to ensure it’s fixed well.

Voila! I’d love to hear what you think!

Uncategorized · Upcycled Furniture

Soft Pink and Gold French Cabinet


As we’re waiting to move I can’t indulge in my favourite hobby, up cycling old furniture, so I thought I’d share an old project with you. I love french style furniture and often buy pieces with interesting details that I can upcycle. This piece here was an old TV cabinet that I bought on ebay for £10.00. As it was designed for an old style TV it had a large amount of room in the back so it was perfect to make into a cupboard. Le Marie measured and cut out a piece of MDF to be fitted as a back panel as there was none before – and he also added a shelf. I had painted the interior gold and covered the MDF panel in a rose chintz fabric to give it interest when opened. I had also glued on some rose patterned furniture mouldings that I bought cheaply on ebay which complimented the theme – you can see these in more detail below.

I had originally painted the cupboard in an off-white vinyl paint. However when we found out we were going to have our daughter the hubby went a bit mad protecting her from any future mishaps by glueing and then nailing pieces of grey rubber foam to all the furniture in the house as well as sticking on child safety locks. Literally anything under three foot was targeted. I tried to point out that that was a bit over cautious, but he insisted that we couldn’t be too careful.

As time has gone on I’ve managed to persuade him that, as she can’t reach the tops of the cupboard, we could remove some of it and as a result I’ve had to repaint things to cover the damage done.

I thought that I’d share how I painted the cabinet here step by step.

Step One

The first thing I did was paint any details with a gold paint so that some would come through later on (be aware though of the point in step three).


Step Two

I painted the cabinet in a pale pink chalk paint by Autentico called Antique Rose.  The most famous brand of chalk paint is Annie Sloan’s and I do use this. However it thickens considerably whilst applying it and I find that I need to sand it quite a lot afterwards to get a smooth surface. You don’t need to do that with this brand, but you do need to add an extra coat as it doesn’t cover as well. I applied three coats to get good coverage but, as chalk paint dries very quickly, this isn’t as time consuming as it sounds. Particularly when you consider I didn’t need to prep in any other way prior to starting – a benefit all chalk paints have over vinyl ones.


Step Three

I then lightly sanded the chalk paint with the finest grade of sand paper I could find on the detailing to reveal some of the gold. This worked well on the scrollwork and the rose but actually took too much of the gold away on the cornices and shell detailing so I ended up repainting these.


Step Four

The next stage was to apply a dark wax. I used the Annie Sloan brand with a normal stencil brush. I wouldn’t buy one of her brushes as I only need a small amount to highlight detail and I find hers very expensive.

I literally used a dab on each area of detail like the rose and scroll hinge to add depth. As your mum used to say – you can always add more!


Once you feel like you have enough on the details you can start to add some onto the main body of the furniture. What makes this a soft pink rather than a powder pink is the wax, I feel it made it a more sophisticated shade rather than just girly.

You do this by taking some clear wax on a lint free cloth and applying it to an area in a circular motion. Then take a dab of dark wax on another cloth and rub it lightly into the area with the same motion. Then take the same clear wax cloth and add more wax so your removing the amount of darkness you want. Who’d have thought, your mum was wrong after all – you can take it away!

I’ve put a picture below so you can see it mid process so you don’t get freaked out by how dark the wax looks.


I’d love to hear what you think!