Saturday, February 23, 2013


To me upcycling is all about finding old pieces and giving them new life. At the same time trying to use what you have to make that happen. Yes I have to buy paint to accomplish this, but I try to reuse the hardware or find hardware that is not new. I shop thrift shops and flea markets and the restore to find these pieces of old and unique hardware. If I can not use what is on the piece or if it comes with no hardware at all.
Recently I was at the restore and I was very surprised to find that their hardware supply was so low. When I inquired why this was so, I was told they had taken most of it to a metal place and sold it. All of that beautiful hardware, handles, knobs etc melted. I wanted to cry right then and there, I could not believe it. My favorite place to go for hardware and they had just literally thrown it away.
When they saw how horrified I was they reassured me that they will be getting more. But in the meantime I would really have to scour the city to find what I needed.
That is why on my latest project I had to get creative. I will warn you these pics are not pretty or blog worthy but they are what they are.
I found this amazing desk at a thrift store and knew it had potential. And although the knobs had been painted I could see under the chipped paint that they were brass. And I wanted to save them.
I think the guy at the thrift store thought I had lost my mind when I bought this.

This poor baby was screaming help me, I don't know who would like this colour scheme
But I saw great potential in the desk
Don't worry darling, I will save you
But first I am going to save those handles
I am warning you now there is a not a completed desk pic at the bottom of this post
The desk is still a work in progress, this post is more about the hardware than the desk
pretty desk pics to come
I am addicted to pinterest and love to browse it at night to unwind
I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided this would be the time to use it
I want to save those gorgeous handles
And I am not a big fan of paint stripper, that's why I paint rather than refinish lol
So the idea on pinterest says to boil the handles in an old crock pot
So I picked one up at Sally Ann for $3.00
All you put in is water (please do not put chemicals in, you will inhale them in the steam
(not a good thing to inhale)
I put all the handles in the crock pot and put it on high
It says to let them boil over night, but I don't like to leave things on when I am sleeping
So I started them in the morning
A few hours in, my house stunk like paint, so I moved the crock pot outside
much better
I let them cook outside on a table for about 4 hours
I removed them one at a time and scrubbed them with a steel brush
Wear thick gloves people, hot metal !!!
You can see the paint is just falling off
You have to do one handle at a time and yes it is tedious
But once the paint hits the cold air its sticks to the handle again, so work fast
You will see by the pics that this did remove most of the paint
Some was still left in the grooves and such
So I put them back in the crock pot for another hour
I worked on the desk in between the handle process
And Voila
Beautiful brass handles with just water, a crock pot and some elbow grease
I polished them up with a little bit of brass polish as well
They are a very nice handle and they have a bit of weight to them
And I am so happy I can reuse them
But as I said isn't that was upcycling is all about
And now I just need to finish painting the desk
After a bit of patching a few nicks here and there
I feel bad that I can't show you the finished desk with handles
But I promise to post it as soon as it done
I wanted to share this unique way of saving handles that have been painted
Thank you Pinterest
I will be sure to keep using this idea in the future
Now back to my ugly duckling desk
Which I am going to make stunning and glamorous
Would love to hear any great upcycling ideas you have used
to re purpose furniture
hope everyone is having an amazing weekend
I am praying for nice weather so I can work outside
What are you up too this weekend?
Happy Picking, Painting and Upcycling
and my sidekick Maggie

1 comment:

  1. I seriously don't know how anyone could think you were crazy for seeing the beauty in that desk - it's spectacular!!! Looks like a bankers desk almost!
    Great tips Tobey - and how awful of Restore to do that - I go there often for knobs too!!!