Top 10 - Tools for Furniture Upcycling – Eliza Rose
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Top 10 - Tools for Furniture Upcycling

Here are my Top 10 tools that you need if your going to be undertaking some furniture upcycling. I really do enjoy taking pieces of old furniture, which you can pick up cheaply at Car Boot Sales, Tip or Charity Shops and turning them into something beautiful!

When dabbling in furniture upcycling, you will need several tools. I haven't included the basic screwdrivers, hammers and sponges because I'm assuming that you have these (even if they are hidden in your garage or shed), however the tools below are just my suggestions at things which really will make your life easier and always come in very handy indeed. You may need others depending on the project your doing, such as wood filler (available in various of colours).

Paint Stripper

You may need paint stripper to get rid of anything that you don’t want on the surface of your furniture piece. Thick, gloopy paint stripper will get rid of thick coats of paint. However you don't need to get rid of any Varnish as it can be painted over with Chalk Paint. 

Detail Sander


If the piece your working on is very dented you'll need a detail Sander. A detail sander can make light work of any surface. Apparently you can sand at 100 – 200 strokes per second (and inconsistently, too), whereas a power sander can sand at 600-800 strokes per minute. This is also essential if you want to finish a table or chest of drawers with a stripped back top, which you can then wax to finish. 

I use a Bosch detail sander which despite being noisy is ideal for this job! However generally don’t do a lot of sanding before I paint a piece, mostly its afterwards. 



Sandpaper is an absolute requirement for any upcycler! It's needed to get any dents, marks or damage out of the furniture before you start painting and afterwards to give it that distressed feel. It is also used if you have filled old drawer knobs with filler to sand it back to a flat finish. I use 120 grit mostly, or 80 if preparing a piece or I want heavy distressing. 

I buy sandpaper in rolls now as it works out much cheaper if your doing lots and lots of sanding. 

Paint Sprayer


Paint sprayers make painting quick and easy. I use the Bosch Airless Sprayer, in the photo above (available from Amazon or B&Q), though there are many to choose from including as well as airless paint sprayers I've already discussed - self-contained HVLP paint sprayers and HVLP paint sprayers with an air compressor. 

I did a lot of research before buying mine, it was based on expense, finish and how heavy it would be. I knew I would not be able to hold something very heavy for long! 

Chalk Paint needs to be thinned by 10-20% before using and I predominately use it to do a base coat before hand painting the top coat. If you’re planning on upcycling a lot, while this is quite an investment, it will save you a lot of time.



I personally don’t like using a roller to paint, so when I’m not spraying on the paint, I use brushes. In the beginning, I bought the cheap brushes, I didn't understand all the fuss surrounding the expensive ones. As I started painting more and more,I bought a Everlong Paintbrush and have never looked back! Let me tell you, these brushes REALLY do make a big difference in the quality of your end product. Do not skimp and buy cheap brushes. Evelong brushes will last you a good, long time, if you take proper care of them and they lay down a much smoother layer of paint and greatly reduce the appearance of brush strokes.




If your looking to make your furniture stand out, nothing is better than adding a moulding before painting. These can simply be glued into place and then painted to achieve an amazing vintage or boudoir feel or to add character without too much effort!

Chalk Paint


Now the the tools you need to finish your upcycled piece. Chalk paint is the best way to achieve a shabby chic, distressed or vintage fell, there are many different brands out there and you will either have a favorite or find the best one for your project. I use Everlong Paint, which means no waxing but any can be used to obtain the colour of finish you after. These paints can be used with no priming, sanding (apart from big dents) or removal of previous finish. Perfect if your lazy like me ;)


After you have finished painting your furniture, you can add a cute Parisian motif, letters or wording. Stencils are widely available in a plastic form which means they can be washed and used again. Alternatively you can make your own from thick card. This is an easy effect to achieve using either a stencil brush or mini roller with chalk paint. 



If using stencils or mouldings doesn't suit the piece you are doing, you can use Decoupage. This is fantastic for lining the inside of drawers, bureau inserts or the tops of tables. You can buy expensive Decopatch paper from Hobbycraft or you can use the top layer of napkins to achieve this effect! Once the paper is in place, you add layer after layer of glue to achieve a waterproof finish. 

Drawer Handles


The final finishing touch is to add gorgeous Drawer knobs and handles. These can really make a piece stand out, personally I love mis-matched drawer knobs as they add a true touch of quirkiness. Lots and lots of different styles, flat, mushroom, round, as well as hundred of designs are available so you will always be able to find the perfect one. Sometimes to achieve the effect you want, you may need to fill in old holes (do before painting!) and then drill new holes.

So there is my round up of the Top 10 tools for upcycling furniture! Do you have any others that you couldn't live without?

Simone x 


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