The phrase trash to treasure tends to get used quite a lot in furniture upcycling circles. However, in the case of a mirror which had been sat around in the workshop for longer than I’d care to remember, this truly was the case. The item in question was saved from finding its way to landfill at the 11th hour by another person in the workshop who just couldn’t bare to see it being thrown out.
So, saved from becoming another victim to throwaway culture, the first step on the trash to treasure road was to prep the piece. Normally, with furniture prepping a light scuff sand suffices before I get my WoodUbend warm and my pigments mixed. However, in this instance, there was a really dated, tarnished metallic paint used to finish the piece. Although WoodUbend will adhere to just about any surface, the colour was so far removed from what I wanted that it all had to go.
If you’re into your trash to treasure upcycling, I’d highly recommend investing in a little power sander, you can pick them up relatively cheaply from pretty much any DIY store. They really take the hassle (and back ache) out of prepping your projects.
All sanded and ready to go, I stepped back and gave myself a condor moment and you know what I decided? This piece needs WoodUbend…lots of WoodUbend! Just check out a quick picture I snapped when I was mapping out the mouldings.
Now, I’m sure that most of you know by now that WoodUbend are decorative mouldings which have all the properties of wood when they are cool; when warmed up, they become bendy and can be adhered to just about any surface. If you’d like to learn a little more about WoodUbend, check out our helpful FAQ or How-To section.
As I had a bit of a WoodUbend jigsaw going on around my trash to treasure mirror frame, I decided to employ some jigsaw tactics. Now, anybody who knows anything about jigsaws knows exactly where to start. The corners!
I had so many mouldings to get onto this piece, so I needed to incorporate a bit of concurrent activity when I was heating up my 2093 pediments for the corners. In the background I had my whole retinue of mouldings getting nice and toasty on a sausage griddle!
In the meantime, I used my heat gun to warm up my corner pieces. When using a heat gun with your mouldings, remember to keep it moving; most heat guns produce heat of up to 600°C which means they are quite capable of scorching your heat bendable wood mouldings. If you’re a little concerned about this, feel free to use a hair dryer to warm your mouldings, it will take a little longer but there’ll be no scorching.
As the the frame was cambered and the 2093 mouldings were being used as corner pieces, I had to ensure that the mouldings were nice and toasty to allow me to sufficiently bend them. This brings me onto my next point, if you heat a WoodUbend moulding then manipulate it and hold it in place until cool, it will remain in that position. If you press down onto a moulding and let go whilst it’s still warm it will just spring right back into shape. Magic!
Anyway, I digress, sticking with the pediments, I had two pre-heated 2152 designs to use on the left and right of the frame. So just like the corner pieces, they were heated and stuck onto the surface using a good wood glue. When using WoodUbend, you have two options to take when adhering your mouldings, you can either coat the entire back of the moulding with the wood glue or you can put the glue onto the surface. The latter is a great method when using the trims.
It’s likely that when you are pressing your moulding onto the surface, some glue will be squeezed out from underneath it. This is fine, in fact it’s a good sign, it just means that the moulding is adhering very well and no more glue is required. Simply come in with a baby wipe, wet paint brush or a Q-tip and clean it up.
Ok, it feels like we’re getting somewhere now doesn’t it?
Next up were the 1376 pediment designs.
Like the 2152 decorative mouldings on the sides, these would be used to form the main part of the top and bottom. Except…they were too long! Not to worry, the ever versatile WoodUbend mouldings have another trick up their sleeve. When warmed, not only do they become bendy, they also can be easily sliced with a craft knife and even stretched!
Once again, I got my bendable wood mouldings nice and warm, this time slicing off a little bit of the excess so they fit perfectly. I let them cool a little and sanded down the edges of the pediment mouldings for a nice, smooth finish. As a side note, never throw your spare little bits of WoodUbend away, you can always find a use for them in your next trash to treasure project.
The small 1320 scroll mouldings were perfect to fill a little gap above the 1376 pediments. I’m sure you know the process by now, heat up, apply wood glue to the back and press onto the surface before giving it one more pass over with the heat for good measure.
Time for a bit of bling! Not the tarnished, off-gold colour which adorned this mirror frame before. No, we’re talking the lustrous, highly metallic Posh Chalk Pigments, Silver Pigments to be precise. I mixed up the pigments with the Posh Chalk Pigments Infusor, the great aspect of mixing your own colour is that you’re in complete control of the consistency – from a paste to a wash it’s all up to you.
I mixed up a thicker consistency so I got great coverage and a really metallic finish. It is a trash to treasure project afterall. When mixed with the Infusor, the pigments are weatherproof and suitable for use outside without any further sealing required.
I used a French Tip brush from Dixie Belle to really get into all the intricate crevices of the mouldings. This really cuts down on painting time, using a stabbing motion meant that the colour really got where it needed to be without me having to painstakingly come back in with a small brush to fill in the gaps.
Trash to treasure was certainly the right phrase for my mirror frame at the moment. It was shiny! A bit too shiny. So in order to tone it down, I came in with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Black. I wanted to both take the edge off of the silver and really create some depth in the piece. This wax is water-based, so if I didn’t like the final result then I could quite easily paint back over it again – something which you may struggle to do with an oil-based product. If you’re using an oil-based product, make sure it goes on last.
I was picking out the detailings and crevices with the wax but I felt that I wasn’t really getting the antiquey look I was going for. It was time to break out the big guns, the Black Posh Chalk Patina. Now, this is a oil-based product, which is why it was going on after my Dixie Belle wax. It’s also extremely highly pigmented so a little goes a very long way. The Posh Chalk Patina, combined with the Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax, worked a treat.
My trash to treasure creation was looking great! Blingy, antiquey and with bags of character; all it took was a smorgasbord of WoodUbend, a coat of Posh Chalk Pigments and the cherry on top – the Posh Chalk Patina.