Charis Williams on upcycling

Charis Williams on upcycling


Posted 7th Apr 2016

We've spoken to Charis Williams, artist, designer and TV presenter who you may very well recognise as the salvage expert from the popular Channel 4's TV show Kirstie Allsopp's Fill Your House For Free. We couldn't resist picking her brains to get her advice on getting hold of the best preloved furniture and materials for your upcycling projects:

 

Charis

 

1) Make sure you keep one eye on websites like Freegle, Freecycle and Gumtree. It's also worth checking out Preloved in the free ad sections.

2) Keep your eyes peeled for any abandoned accessories on the roadside and of course in skips – they can hold some surprisingly useful pieces.

3) Do you already have anything in the loft, shed, under the stairs, rotting in the garden that could be remotely useful to you?

4) Do your family & friends have anything that could be used? There's nothing wrong with hand-me-downs so make sure that you make the most of your nearest and dearest and ask around!

5) Lastly, make sure that you follow the appropriate pages, groups & communities on social network sites such as Facebook & Twitter

 

Once you've managed to secure the necessary pieces using the 'freebie' tips above you're ready to move on to the next stage! This will mean sprucing up what you've found to put your own stamp on it.

 

It's worth only upcycling items that are made of a decent sturdy material. For instance you have a beautiful old solid wood table Vs a table made from laminated chip board. Here the chipboard table is weaker and isn't designed to last. Therefore it's not worth wasting your time up cycling it – before you know it, it'll be scratched, if not broken! Therefore opt for more solid and well made base materials to up cycle & you can rely on your designs lasting a whole lot longer.

 

Make sure you remember to 'key' the wood before painting – this involves sanding your wooden furniture before painting it to ensure your paint sticks to the item. If your item was previously varnished make sure that you manage to remove all of the layers of varnish on your item - otherwise you will almost certainly end up with patchy paint. Also bear in mind that if your item was previously painted you do not need to remove every last bit of old paint. It's far more important to have smooth surface - otherwise you will see the edges of the old paint. Use a coarse sandpaper to remove the paint, varnish & imperfections in the wood. Then use a finer paper to finish off the sanding to leave you with the smoother surface you need to paint. Remember, the lower the sandpaper number the courser it will be - i.e.; 60grit is very coarse, 120 is much finer.

 

One you've finished off the sanding, it is very important to remove all of the dust from the area. I recommend hoovering the item and the surrounding area before wiping it over with a damp cloth. Then allow to dry before moving onto the next step.

 

I like to use water based paints for furniture. Not only will it last longer, it's also kinder to the environment, your nostrils & your brushes. Spray paint is also an option and can create a beautifully smooth finish. However bear in mind that spray paints usually cost more & can take some getting used to. Also remember that a spray can doesn't go as far as a tin, but can cost around the same so you could end up spending more than double what you would have done. You can get some great chalky finish paint in tins that come in a whole range of beautiful colours nowadays. To finish off simply put a wax over the paint.

 

For up cycling ideas and motivation follow me on social networking & find my YouTube channel for tutorials & inspiration, this year I will be making lots of videos to keep you motivated on your up cycling quest & giving away some very cool up-cycled prizes!

Charis Williams is an artist, designer and TV presenter and was the salvage expert on Channel 4’s TV series, Kirstie Allsopp’s Fill Your House For Free. We pick her brains to get he advice on sourcing the best preloved furniture and materials for your upcycling projects

 

  • Make sure you keep one eye on websites like Freegle, Freecycle and Gumtree. It's also worth checking out Preloved in the free ad sections.

  • Keep your eyes peeled for any abandoned accessories on the roadside and of course in skips – they can hold some surprisingly useful pieces.

  • Do you already have anything in the loft, shed, under the stairs, rotting in the garden that could be remotely useful to you?

  • Do your family & friends have anything that could be used? There's nothing wrong with hand-me-downs so make sure that you make the most of your nearest and dearest and ask around!

  • Lastly, make sure that you follow the appropriate pages, groups & communities on social network sites such as Facebook & Twitter

 

Once you've managed to secure the necessary pieces using the 'freebie' tips above you're ready to move on to the next stage! This will mean sprucing up what you've found to put your own stamp on it.

 

It's worth only upcycling items that are made of a decent sturdy material. For instance you have a beautiful old solid wood table Vs a table made from laminated chip board. Here the chipboard table is weaker and isn't designed to last. Therefore it's not worth wasting your time up cycling it – before you know it, it'll be scratched, if not broken! Therefore opt for more solid and well made base materials to up cycle & you can rely on your designs lasting a whole lot longer.

 

Make sure you remember to 'key' the wood before painting – this involves sanding your wooden furniture before painting it to ensure your paint sticks to the item. If your item was previously varnished make sure that you manage to remove all of the layers of varnish on your item - otherwise you will almost certainly end up with patchy paint. Also bear in mind that if your item was previously painted you do not need to remove every last bit of old paint. It's far more important to have smooth surface - otherwise you will see the edges of the old paint. Use a coarse sandpaper to remove the paint, varnish & imperfections in the wood. Then use a finer paper to finish off the sanding to leave you with the smoother surface you need to paint. Remember, the lower the sandpaper number the courser it will be - i.e.; 60grit is very coarse, 120 is much finer.

 

One you've finished off the sanding, it is very important to remove all of the dust from the area. I recommend hoovering the item and the surrounding area before wiping it over with a damp cloth. Then allow to dry before moving onto the next step.

 

I like to use water based paints for furniture. Not only will it last longer, it's also kinder to the environment, your nostrils & your brushes. Spray paint is also an option and can create a beautifully smooth finish. However bear in mind that spray paints usually cost more & can take some getting used to. Also remember that a spray can doesn't go as far as a tin, but can cost around the same so you could end up spending more than double what you would have done. You can get some great chalky finish paint in tins that come in a whole range of beautiful colours nowadays. To finish off simply put a wax over the paint.

 

For up cycling ideas and motivation follow me on social networking & find my YouTube channel for tutorials & inspiration, this year I will be making lots of videos to keep you motivated on your up cycling quest & giving away some very cool up-cycled prizes!

 

If you haven't already make sure you check out Charis's websites, Salvage Sister, Brighton Wallart and her personal website, Charis Williams! Also be sure to check out her Twitter for more great ideas. 

 






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