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Furniture Upcycling in Ireland

Listed under Adam Bermingham, Blog, hand-painted furniture Posted May 14 2014

Adam Bermingham, Traditional Painter in Ireland covers many aspects of the furniture business – hand painting pieces for clients, restoration, refinishing, and sales.

furniture upcycling If you browse the internet, the term Furniture Upcycling is everywhere, especially in the USA. There are companies selling it, there are companies providing services, but what is it?

Let’s take a look at a few recent contracts to discover how I go about Furniture Upcycling in Ireland…

Upcycled furniture comes in three’s

Recently I had 3 pieces in the workshop: two for local clients and one piece I found at an indoor market, to put up for sale on my website.

Hand Painted Kitchen Dresser

The first piece was a pine kitchen dresser for a client in Strokestown. When I unloaded it from the van & into the workshop it looked like this…

furniture upcycling Now some people may like it as it is, but to me, and the client, it was tired, outdated & in need of modernizing. Rather than throw it out & get a new one, the client called me in to hand paint & refinish it… that’s Furniture Upcycling.


The process of hand painting a piece of furniture, or a kitchen, always starts the same way. First is to clean all the surfaces with * Krud Kutter. Then I sand the entire piece, and for varnished pine like this, I used 120 grit paper.

Next up, a coat Zinsser B-I-N shellac based primer. It dries fast, so work fast. On the plus side, it seals the surface & adheres very well.

furniture upcycling I then fill any cracks, holes or minor surface imperfections before sanding again with fine sanding pads.

Next up, a coat of Tikkurila Furniture Feelings Primer, tinted to the same colour as the top-coats. In this case Holman Specialist Paints equivalent of “Tallow.”

Sanding in between coats I then apply 2 coats Tikkurila Furniture Feelings. To apply this I used a variety of equipment including Corona Knight, one of my “go-to” brushes, * Axus Grey Pointed Sash Brushes & * Axus Decor Wood Finishing Sleeves.

furniture upcycling

With all the doors & drawers replaced & the glass cleaned the client had a fantastic, new piece of furniture delivered back to them a week later. A piece that would cost many times my fee & many times the value of the original piece…

furniture upcycling

Upcycling a Lacquered Pine Dining Table

The second item, a pine dining table in Roscommon Town, had nothing wrong with it. It was well made but showing signs of age. A number of dents & scratches on the top & 2 of the legs, closest to a patio door, were badly sun damaged…

furniture upcycling

A simple, cost effective process. Again, the whole piece was cleaned before sanding with 120 grit paper. For the top I used a Bosch GEX with dust extraction…

furniture upcycling Then, concentrating on the top, every hole, scratch, dent & knot is filled.

For a dining table you want an ultra smooth finish, without a blemish. The surface is then sanded again before a coat of sanding sealer is applied.

This product does a number of things; seals the knots, prevents bleed, accentuates the grain & leaves a hard surface for fine sanding, producing an ultra smooth finish.

For finishing I used a fantastic product new in the workshop at My Hand Painted Furniture. Tikkurila Kiva Lacquer, available from Holman Specialist Paints is a water based clear lacquer.

furniture upcycling

It comes in gloss, semi-gloss & semi-matt, and for this table I opted for the semi-gloss.

I applied 3 coats of lacquer using a 6 inch foam roller, laying off with Purdy Syntox, a peerless brush in translucent coatings.

A new dining table for a fraction of the cost…

furniture upcycling

Furniture Upcycling for everyone

This last project is an example of something you can all do.

Below is a vintage Singer Sewing Table that I bought in Longford. Part of my business involves stocking my website with interesting & unique pieces of furniture, and to make this happen, I get up early & hit the local markets & boot sales.

Back in my workshop I decide how they would look best & what I can do to add value.

If you are looking for a piece & can’t find the character you are after from a store on the high street, why not do the same!

All I did was sand, fill & then wax the top & clean the metal base…


furniture upcycling


furniture upcycling

Thank you for reading this post & I hope you can take something from it. Any questions, please ask.

To stay up to date with everything that’s going on at My Hand Painted Furniture please visit our Facebook Page & “like.”

If you have an item of furniture that needs some work & you don’t feel you can tackle it yourself please contact me using this link, click here…

Happy Painting.

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