5 ways to refresh secondhand furniture

Here's one of my recent blog posts for the Sally Ann. Hope you enjoy!

One of the best scores a thrifter can find at the Salvation Army Thrift Store is the perfect furniture piece for your home. In my opinion that is. And sometimes if you're really lucky you can find a piece that doesn't need any TLC. Unfortunately that's not always easy to come by. But if you go looking with an open mind and bring some creative mojo then you'll be able to find something that just needs a bit of work.

Here are 5 ways you can restyle a furniture find - from easy to labour intensive:

1. Replace the hardware
A super easy way to refresh a furniture find is to replace the hardware. If you score a cabinet or dresser that has dated drawer pulls then replace them. You can find drawer pulls at your local hardware store, home decor store or online. You can even make your own!

This is one of my FAV furniture updates - the new drawer pulls are stunning!

2. Sand and stain
Sometimes, especially if you find a gorgeous wood piece, all you need to do is a quick sanding job then stain it. It can bring an item back to life in a jiffy. Minimal effort with huge benefits.





3. Paint
When it comes to a quality wood piece I'm not a huge fan of painting but for damaged pieces or low quality wood then painting is a great way to revive a secondhand find. Also you can infuse your own personal style and make it very 'you'.



You can also try adding chalkboard paint. I found that by painting a boring table then adding chalkboard paint to the laminate top my dated find became super fun and nifty.



4. Upholster / reupholster
Don't be deterred by a chair needing a new look. Start with a simple upholstery job then build up to more complicated pieces. I found these chrome stools with a wicker top that looked dated. I added some stuffing then upholstered funky fabric over the wicker to modernize them.



Reupholstering can be a bit overwhelming. And some chairs may hold unpleasant surprises under the original upholstery. But if you persevere then you'll be so thrilled with the final refresh.



Before and after:

Note: keep your eyes open during your thrifting adventures. I've found amazing upholstery fabric at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store that I've used for some of my favourite reupholstery projects.

5. Repair
Repairing can be the most costly and time consuming but can be the most worthwhile. I found this amazing coffee table but one of the embellishments was missing. I then went about removing the embellishments then re-adding them to compensate for the missing one.

This is a stunning table I picked up for $20 - yay! Furniture was 50% off that day.

Here it is mid repair:


Another way of repairing is to replace any missing or broken parts. I found this wood table for $10 but the glass top was gone. I sanded and stained the base then got a new glass top cut. Getting glass cut can be expensive so be sure you're committed to whatever furniture project you're working on that requires glass.



Bonus tip: combine 2 or more of the above ways for added value... Paint and reupholster, stain and replace the hardware. The possibilities for creating awesomeness are endless!


Upcoming Crafternoons for 2018

Yay for more Crafternoons! I've updated the event listing on my TBD website with all of my current 2018 upcycling workshops with North Vancouver City Library and North Vancouver Recreation & Culture. I'm hoping to add a few more dates with other organizations soon. Stay tuned!

And I'm putting together an outline for a pilot project I want to launch through Crafting with Crap. I've lined up a couple of potential partners. Hope to share more information soon!

Here are my upcoming workshops:

Easter Crafternoon with NVRC
Saturday, March 31st from 1pm to 3pm with North Vancouver Recreation & Culture in Lynn Valley Village

Earth Day Crafternoon
Saturday, April 21st from 1:30pm to 3:30pm with the North Vancouver City Library

Halloween Crafternoon
Saturday, October 27th from 1:30pm to 3:30pm with the North Vancouver City Library

Xmas Crafternoon
Saturday, December 1st from 1:30pm to 3:30pm with the North Vancouver City Library

Let's get crafty!


Making Memories Crafternoons with NVRC

Monday's Family Day upcycling workshops with North Vancouver Recreation & Culture were super rad! I partnered with my new crafty peep Helen Murphy (aka Craft Naturally) for a couple of Making Memories Crafternoons. Helen created felted wool pieces with participants and then I helped make frames for them. Best combo ever!

For frames, I brought old tiles donated by Urban Repurpose, cardboard boxes, cereal boxes and popsicle sticks. The popsicle sticks were perfect for the morning session since NVRC had a photo booth set up. Unfortunately my iPhone was a bit sickie and the camera stopped working. All photos provided by Helen's iPhone - thanks Helen!

Here's one of our most excited participants of the day. She was over the moon to learn about felted wool. And then to use an old tile to frame her masterpiece.

Here's one of our cardboard frame DIYs... I love using duct tape to not only glue materials together but it's a very clean and simple way to add colour to your projects.

Another sample project using cardboard then decorating the frame with scraps of patterned paper.

Here's my project - a swanky rainbow...

Here's the final felted wool rainbow. Next I'll need to make it a bit more sparkly then frame it. Yay!

Loads of thanks to NVRC and to Helen! We made crafty, upcycling magic happen together! And thanks to our participants - the Making Memories Crafternoons were a huge hit!


Creative Expert video feature - part 1 is up!

A couple of weeks ago, the Salvation Army Thrift Store posted part 1 of the videos I shot about me, TBD and thrifting as one of their Creative Experts. If you missed it, you can find it on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SAThriftStoreCanada.

In conjunction with the videos, I built a supplemental webpage off of my personal website. You can find the page at www.denisecorcoran.com/creative-expert.

You can find out me and what I do...

My style in 2 words...

Why I love to thrift...

My tips and advice...

My 3 step thrifting strategy...

What kewl and unexpected treasures to look for...

Of course a few of my FAV scores...

My top 2 Sally Ann's in Vancouver...

And finally a bit of love to the Salvation Army Thrift Store cause they rock and I love my Creative Expert gig. Yay!

Stay tuned for part 2 of my 'get to know me' videos. And of course more tips, tricks and DIYs.


Another spectacular Crafternoon with NVCL

Yay for crafting with my North Vancouver City Library peeps! It was another amazing afternoon of upcycling awesomeness. We had 80+ participants who upcycled items donated by Urban Repurpose - cardboard tubes, playing cards, paint sample cards and more. We rocked it!

First up was love crackers made out of the cardboard tubes. Here's my buddy Clay having a craft date with his daughter.

More love cracker magic...

The room was abuzz with tons of creativity... These guys took on the challenge of upcycling metal bed springs.

Here they are deep in the throes of making upcycling magic happen.

The wire springs were a hit!

Every table was filled... We even had to set up extra seats to make room for everyone.

Aww so sweet - a love cracker with googly eyes and heart feet.

This guy is on a craft mission...

Another donation from Urban Repurpose - pink stuffing paper. Note to self: this stuff gets everywhere and is no fun to clean up.

And of course Jose, our craft renegade, popped in and made another origami masterpiece.

Thanks NVCL for another fabulous upcycling workshop! Big thanks to all of the participants and especially to my helper Susan. All of you rock!


Prepping for my Valentine's Day Crafternoon with NVCL

Yesterday morning I was busy prepping for my Valentine's Day Crafternoon with North Vancouver City Library. I scored a bunch of awesome donations from Urban Repurpose. Tom even cut up cardboard tubes for me... I think I ended up with at least 60 pieces. Thanks Tom!

I decided to focus on using the materials donated by Urban Repurpose for my sample projects. We had the cardboard tubes - I also grabbed sparkly embellishments from the dollar store...

We had playing cards, paint sample cards and random sheets of coloured paper...

I thought the paint sample cards could be restyled into gift tags.

Here are a few of my samples - a garland using cereal box cardboard, gift tags out of paint sample cards and a love cracker using the cut cardboard tubes.

This is the perfect packaging for a love note, yummy treats or anything small you want to give to your sweetheart.

My super simple gift tags. I glued plain paper to the back to make it easier to write on.

So fun to get a bit crafty yesterday! Today I'm prepping for two Crafting Memories Crafternoons with North Vancouver Recreation & Culture tomorrow. Join me at Delbrook Community Recreation Centre from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm.