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Upcycling Flea Market Finds: Tips for Getting Started

Upcycling Flea Market

Are you an innovative individual who is environmentally conscious? Or maybe you're strapped for cash and are trying to renovate your home on a budget? Or maybe you just like creating beautiful things?

It's time to give upcycling a try! Upcycling is when you take an unwanted product and turn it into something better by refashioning it. For example, an old door might be turned into a dining room table. It's a fun hobby that allows you to be creative. It also has a great positive impact on the environment. Instead of unwanted items getting tossed into landfills, they get repurposed into something new.

If you're ready to hit the flea market and find your next project, here are some tips to help you get started!



Think outside the box

Sometimes a piece of furniture might just need a makeover. Other times, you might need to think of different ways that the piece could be used. For example, just because a dresser is missing a few drawers doesn't mean it isn't any good anymore. It can be turned into something new -- possibilities include a bench, media center, desk, and more! Upcycling sometimes means forgetting old functions and coming up with new functions. Think outside the box and get creative.


Shop thrifty

When you're out looking around flea markets, you might come across some vintage pieces that are perfect for upcycling. However, always be sure to check the price tag before committing to the piece. Some flea markets and antique stores put high prices on vintage furniture because the piece is rare. While vintage pieces are usually built well and are popular choices for upcycling, there might be more modern furniture that is just as solid at a cheaper price. Also, remember to check out thrift stores -- you can find some amazing things at a cheap price in thrift stores!

Make sure it is solid

If you're looking to upcycle furniture, make sure to choose furniture that is going to last. You're going to come across plenty of dirty and dusty pieces that have flakes of paint chipping off of them. Dirt, dust, and paint are all cosmetic. Look past all of that and see if the structure of the furniture is solid. It's easy to clean an ugly piece of solid furniture, but it's not so easy making a cheap piece of furniture stand the test of time.


Look for inspiration

If you're not sure where to start, check out what other folks are upcycling. Upcycling is such a popular hobby that there are websites, blogs, YouTube channels, and Pinterest boards dedicated to people sharing the projects they've completed. It's easy to find before and after photos of projects. Most people also write instructions on how they completed a project or at least provide some general tips on how to complete a similar project. Looking at what others are doing can provide you with the inspiration you need to get out there and attempt your own project! 


Stock your workshop

Before you begin upcycling projects, it's a good idea to have some supplies on hand. Make a list of all the materials you think you'll need and start shopping. Check out Austral Wright Metals if you're looking to stock the metal supplies in your workshop. Check out your local home improvement store for quality paint brushes and other tools. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to get started!


Finish the job

If you start a project, finish it. This means completing all steps of the project, plus taking care to protect it after all the work you put into it. If you’re working with a wooden piece, sometimes a coat of wax, varnish, or paint is needed to help finish the piece properly.


Don't be afraid

If you’re new to upcycling, you might be nervous that you’ll damage a piece or won’t be able to make it look exactly the way you want. However, don’t let that fear hold you back. Do it anyways and do the best job that you can. Part of upcycling is learning how to complete projects along the way. Instead of viewing a mistake as a failure, view it as a learning experience. The more you practice and the more you experiment, the more tricks of the trade you’ll learn! 


Final thoughts

If you’re ready to get creative with upcycling, keep the above tips in mind next time you visit the flea market! You don’t have to go into the flea market with a specific project in mind. Sometimes looking around at discarded items is all the inspiration you need. Someone else’s trash could become your treasure.

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