Friday, 5 June 2020

The Map Cupboard - Upcycled Furniture Project

Hello!  Hope you are keeping safe and well in these really strange times.

The upcycled furniture project I'm showing you today took me a while, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable project and two things I had in abundance were time and maps!

This project is likely our house be known as the map cupboard - but it isn't a cupboard to store maps, rather it is now lined with maps.

Map lined cupboard
It's the British Isles but not as you know it!

This piece of furniture started out life as a wedding present for my parents in 1953 (along with a dressing table and wardrobe).  I remember it from my childhood, as well as mum and dad gifting it to me in 1980 when I got my own first home.  It is still strong and sturdy but it was looking dated as well as battle-scarred, having been in two homes with children, spanning several decades.

Old and very tired
I started by painting the outside white. Neat and clean, but very predictable - and while it was OK, I wasn't over the moon with it.

A bit neater looking, but I couldn't help thinking something was missing
I still had time on my hands, and a handy atlas of the British Isles... so I started tearing and gluing.

Just like being back in nursery school - lots of paper and glue!

We were at the beginning of lockdown, and The Range was the only place for miles around that I could buy PVA and paint. I queued for a long time, feeling so guilty about going out for non-essential shopping that I also bought some frozen chips (fries)! (Because we all know they are essential!).  The PVA felt way more essential than the chips, though...

The PVA meant I could make a start on the maps

I really enjoyed this stage, tearing up the old atlas and placing the pieces of map together

I glued torn pieces of map in place, then glued over the top.  PVA works well as a varnish, but does make the paper under it wrinkle slightly - this does go away as it dries, but always gives me a little bit of anxiety in case it doesn't.  Just remember this if you are trying your own project!

PVA's other weakness is it can become soft if wet, even after drying.  It's not likely to get wet in this cupboard, but just in case, I applied a couple of layers of furniture wax afterwards. This will also make the finish more hard wearing.

A road map of Warrington town centre, my home town
You may recognise some of this

I had to add this tiny scrap of the south east coast when I realised it had a village called California!
The reference to California (above) is for Jane - my best friend from my school days in the 1970s, who now lives in California.  Jane unknowingly inspired me to put these projects onto my resurrected blog, as she was so interested in what I was doing and looking for inspiration for her own furniture projects.  Thank you for the idea for this, Jane!

I still felt the white finish was just a bit boring so painted the drawers pale blue (I used the white paint with some cerulean acrylic paint stirred in).

I like it better with the blue drawers.  I might try sanding some of the white paintwork back a bit more

I like the blue and white contrast

I sanded back some of the wood just inside the cupboard doors and waxed it

Overall, I think it's been a successful project in many ways.  The maps were a lot of fun to put in, and I think I will be happy to have this in my new home!

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