Upcycling old furniture using wallpaper

I have been upcycling furniture for many years now. It is a great thing to do, as well as being good for the environment, re-purposing things also saves money and is a very satisfying thing to do.


Don't be afraid to look on Freecycle pages, as you can pick up some great deals. Personally, I still like the shabby chic look and like my things to look a little worn. I have created this effect many times on our wooden internal doors and a mirror, by adding various tones of blue, with copper and gold paint to create a patina, weathered look.

In the past I have used wrapping paper, cool wallpaper, mineral paint, emulsion and oil paint and even sticky backed plastic to revamp old furniture.

Some of the previous posts that I have shared over the years have shown how I have upcycled a second-hand table that we bought for £20 on a Facebook selling page. This was done with mineral paint and a Moroccan tile effect sticky backed plastic. I used pebble grey Fusion mineral paint on the chairs and midnight blue to edge the table. The table top worked better than I had expected. People actually have asked if it is tiled - the sticky backed plastic was very easy to apply, I did have to make some cuts to line the pattern up but I managed to complete this project within a day.

A few years back we used the decoupage technique to revamp a wooden chair which we had found dumped in the bin area outside our block of flats. Our flats seem to be a haven for fly-tippers as we have a large rubbish bin area. I have rescued lots of things from there including a Lloyd Loom chair. This folding chair was just plain wood, I had painted it but decided to try my hand at giving it a proper makeover. This was done with comic book themed wrapping paper. The paper cost me £1 and I used a mixture of PVA glue and water to stick it down. When the paper is wet it is very easy to rub it in to any grooves and ridges with your fingers or a dry brush.

I have used the same technique on drawers using tissue paper as well as wallpaper. Wallpaper makes a great internal lining for cabinets and drawer fronts as it comes in so many wonderful designs.

I also updated some pine drawers with a cherry blossom design using white emulsion and oil paints, which ended up producing a beautiful effect. The design would have worked well with acrylic paints. I used oil paint by mistake, but the effect it created was worth it. The brush ended up being quite stiff with the claggy paint, this made it produce a spread-out sort of flower shape. Mixing the colour in together also worked very well indeed.

The decoupage technique is extremely effective and pretty easy to do. To decoupage basically means to decorate an object by gluing paper onto it. After the desired effect has been achieved it is then finished off with varnish.


You can cut out patches of different wallpaper to create a more rustic effect or keep it uniform and looking smart with an all-over design. If you have covered a cabinet you can add some beautiful finishing touches using pretty drawer knobs and handles.


Before you make a start it is best to sand the furniture down to get an even, smooth surface. In my opinion there is no right or wrong way to upcyle - I have used a mix of PVA and water to stick patches of paper before, some prefer Mod Podge or with wallpaper you could use normal wallpaper paste.

To finish I have used furniture wax with a cloth to give it a shine and protect it, or you could use a clear varnish. With finer materials like napkins and tissue paper you can also sand it down afterwards to give it more of a rustic look.


The possibilities are endless - so just have fun. Practise on a smaller item first, like a little box if you are nervous. I tend to just jump straight in on new projects and hope for the best!


I hope you enjoyed this post. We all have more time on our hands at the moment so it is a great time to get experimenting.



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