Sunday, 21 June 2020

Upcycled Bureau

Hello!  How are you? I'm still painting furniture!

My latest upcycled project is a bureau (or writing desk) which I found at a car boot sale some years ago.  It was quite tatty when I bought it and I did paint it at the time...

...but it was a bit of a rushed job, and I wanted to change the colour anyway to more white, less cream.  It also needed a new stay hinge, as it didn't feel very secure when you used it.

I didn't actually use it much.  It sat in a hallway, acting as a bit of extra storage.  I knew it could be more useful than this - and better looking!

It makes a great little fold-out desk and is even big enough to use a laptop on.  Because our new home will be much smaller than our current home, I think this little piece of furniture could prove quite useful - it doesn't take up much space.

As soon as I started painting, it became clear I would need to dig out the stain blocking paint, plus fill the holes created by the stay hinge.  I'm not sure what the pink stains are (my guess would be felt pen!) but they were seeping through the painted finish...

It isn't the most well-made piece, but I feel like it was at least made with love and care.

I love that it's not been churned out in a factory, and while I've been painting this I can't help wondering about its history... was it made by a granddad for a little girl to do her homework, or a husband for his wife to write letters?  In my imagination, it is always made by a male and used by a female, but maybe it was made by a woman? Or perhaps it was a young person's first foray into joinery?  I may never know, of course.  But it does make it more interesting than a plain old IKEA unit!

I started with what is fast becoming my signature blue, and played around with the white and blue for a while...

I decided the maps might make an appearance on this piece of furniture, and the front of the bureau was the most obvious place, with a natural frame around it.

I tore the map pieces into rectangles, arranged them, then glued them on with PVA.  I made a mistake here though, and glued under and over the maps all at the same time. It was just too much for the map paper to handle, and unfortunately the wrinkles just didn't dry out.

I decided to go with it, and sanded them down.  I figured if it didn't work, then I'd need to sand it all off anyway, so at least I was making a start!

The resulting worn look is actually quite pleasing, if unintended! It fits in with the whole shabby chic and worn feel - the sanded back maps look great on here now.

The finishing touches were the robust stay hinge (an eBay purchase), and sanding then waxing.

It works well as a pop-up desk, houses a laptop - and the laptop will stash conveniently too.

Hopefully all this furniture will be in its new home very soon, as we should (fingers crossed!) be moving house in a week's time!

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