If you’re anything like me and my family, you have kids toys coming out of your ears and no idea where to store them all. When we moved into our new house I was determined to get on top of our toy storage problem, but also create something that looked good and fit in with our interior style. Today I thought I’d share what we went for and how I used decoupage to upcycle it into a beautiful and unique piece of furniture.
Once we had moved we purchased the Trofast storage unit from Ikea as, when I asked most parents what they used for their toy storage, this seemed to be the big favourite and I liked how you can make it to suit you with different sized and shaped units as well as depth of drawers.
Once we had it in place, it felt a bit bland. White on white, it wasn’t exactly the prettiest piece of furniture we owned.
So I delved into my favourite resource – Pinterest. After only a little searching I came across some great decoupage pins. I loved how crafters had used different papers – newspapers, books, even maps – to totally remodel a piece of furniture. When I came across this idea a school had created for a bookcase, I knew that was the one.
I decided I would paint the units mostly brown to tie in with the rest of the furniture in the room, and just add the decoupage to one side. I also wanted to include the children into the project by using their handprints down the side.
I set off to my local craft store and purchased my required items.
So here is how I did it:
Materials (there are some affiliate links in here for your convenice):
Item you are decoupaging
Paper for decoupage
Pair of sharp scissors
Spray paint for remainder of item if required
First I used the masking tape to cover the rails that the boxes fit onto, as they were too awkward to remove without damaging them.
Next I sanded down every side I wanted to paint to give the paint a key so it adheres enough. Ikea furniture in particularly has a bit of a shine to it that paint would just crumble off.
Now comes the fun part – spray paint all the surfaces you require painting. I much prefer spray paint for jobs like this as it is so much quicker and easier to create an even finish. Make sure you hold the can the distance away that is states and move it from side to side evenly. If it starts to run, you are holding it too close or spraying too much on one spot. If this happens I get a paintbrush and brush the run away, then leave it for five minutes and give it a fine spray to cover it.
Once you have left it to dry the time stated on the tin you can get to work on your decoupage! First you need to water down the PVA glue to 50/50 consistency.
I chose a wrapping paper I came across for my decoupage – I love the little birds and the browns and greens fit in well with the decor in our dining room.
I covered one full side and a small part across the top of each unit, so it was relatively straight forward to cut out. Using the straight edge of the top of the paper, I marked how much I needed and added a little extra for overlap. Once I’d cut it out I covered the area I wanted the paper on with the glue/water mix.
The next part can be a bit tricky, it depends how bothered you are about it being perfect. Press the top of the paper to the top of the unit, then working down gradually smooth it with your hand or something like a ruler. Be careful not to press to hard though, as the paper may tear. Despite being very careful I was left with quite a lot of bubbles, so I smoothed them away as much as I could and on the remaining ones I used a Stanley knife to nick a little hole to let the air out. I didn’t manage to get rid of them all, but to be honest I quite like the effect.
I then folded the overlap of paper over the back edge, where it wouldn’t be seen, and glued it down.
For the front edge I folded the paper over the edge and ran my finger down it to create a crease I could follow. Then I used a sharp pair of scissors to trim the paper down as close as I could. Again it really depends on how particular you are about it being perfectly neat, but I got as close as I could.
Once the whole of the side was done I repeated the process across the pieces on the front of the units. Here is the before and after:
Next it was the children’s turn to get involved! I had purchased a roll of brown paper so we rolled it out in the kitchen and got to work drawing around our hands – of course we did some artwork too!
Once I had some good prints I cut them out and using the glue stuck them in place down the papered side of the unit. I then gave them a full coating of glue and let them dry.
Finally I coated the decoupaged areas in a coat of varnish and left them to dry. To finish off I removed the masking tape from the rails inside and using a bit of spray on one finger I touched up the bits that needed it.
And there you are! A piece of furniture that is bright, fun and fits in with our dining room perfectly! I am so pleased with the result and I found the process surprisingly easy yet it makes a great impact.