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Repurposing 101

Regardless of your preferred medium, your artistic talent and trained eye give you a leg up when it comes to the repurposing trend. Whether you are repurposing an old table that you found at the curb for your own apartment or repurposing an antique wardrobe to resell, there is no better time than the present to try your skills at breathing new life into an old piece.  

One of the first things you need to do when you decide to try repurposing is to pick out the perfect item to transform. You should think about the types of projects that you currently enjoy before choosing. If small detail work bores you to tears, make sure you choose a larger piece that will give you room to implement expansive designs. If you enjoy working with light colors, consider where your finished piece will be displayed and make sure these colors would work. These types of considerations can help guide you as you make your choice. However, the item you choose should inspire you, and you should be overcome with ideas of how you can make it into something new.

Once you have chosen your item, it is time to do a bit of research. A Pinterest search or a quick look around Google or Etsy can help you identify different repurposing strategies that may work well with your piece. There are so many options depending on the type of item you choose. Covering the item with fabric, distressing and painting it…the possibilities are endless. From chairs turned into shelves to shelves transformed into dollhouses, you are only limited by your creativity. Get a plan in place, and get ready to move forward with the process!

As you begin, if you intend for your piece to have a distressed or aged look, make sure you look into chalk-based paint options which will provide you with a well-worn look with minimal work. If you are considering using fabric in your piece, visit the bargain bin at your local craft store because you can often find great deals on extremely unique fabrics. Also, if your project entails any resurfacing, make sure you invest in high quality sandpaper or use an electric sander to ensure you get a smooth finish to act as your base.  

Don’t forget to take pictures of your creative process. Having clear, high-quality images of your item before you begin is a very important step in documenting the repurposing process. If you plan to sell your repurposed item, these images can help to increase the value of your piece. Shoppers are looking to buy pieces that have a great story, and if the buyer can have a photo diary detailing the transformation their piece undertook, it will make for a great conversation piece. They are buying the story and the item.

Finally, one of the best parts of working on a repurposing project is that if it isn’t turning out how you intended, you can always start over. Assess what went wrong on your first attempt. Determine if you were overreaching or if you need to use higher quality supplies on the next go round. These are two of the most common reasons that repurposing projects fail.