Up-cycling is nothing new…Americans have been doing it forever (and trust me 55 years seems like forever). Does anyone remember the old “antiquing” kits from the 1960’s?
I realized recently that I had about 55 years ago, what was probably my first experience with up-cycling furniture.. A friend sent me a pic of a piece of furniture her grandmother “antiqued” around then. Look closely and you’ll see little flecks of paint.
It reminded me of an old vanity my mom bought for our cabin on the river and an antiquing kit. She probably bought the kit at our local Davis Paint store. I was just a kid, but remember helping to paint this vanity one summer. I even remember where we put it to paint it. It was outside by the tire swing. Crazy things you remember. You first painted a base coat, which was off white. Then you somehow distressed it with this really, really ugly green. The final touch was putting the green on a toothbrush and flicking little dots strategically all over. I think that was to represent worm holes maybe. I just remember it looking like mold on a piece of off white furniture. That vanity would bring big bucks now. I’m sure I have a pic of it somewhere. May have to look sometime. It had drawers on both sides of a lower shelf and a mirror of some kind attached. It looked a little like this one, but not near so fancy. At that time, it would NOT have been considered an antique, just an old vanity no one wanted and I’m sure my mother paid next to nothing for it. It was for the cabin!
It made me realize that, as a family, we’ve been into painting, upcycling, and refinishing, making things old new again for a long time. Mom and Dad went on to really refinishing furniture. They did a lot of really nice things. Kathy and I are still using furniture they refinished. Kathy remembers them mixing up some kind of concoction with linseed oil and a sealer of some kind. Beautiful wooden pieces like that, I would keep as is. But give me something that needs a new life and I’m ready to paint! So, maybe I should be advertising on SharSum Paint that I have over 50 years experience upcycling furniture. : ) Dad even made, by hand, bookcases for Kathy and me. We still have these. We can’t bear to part with them…they are not attractive at all, and not very sturdy, but he lovingly fashioned them for us out of the lumber from the outhouse when he bought the rights to tear down the cabin and the outhouse from the Corps of Engineers. : ) Yes, he was quite the jokester.