The trend of upcycling looks like it’s here to stay, and presuming you’re even a little bit handy when it comes to DIY, upcycling can offer a wonderfully creative, cheap and environmentally friendly way to add a touch of personal character and depth to your home.
In this sense, rather than fill your home with standard furniture (particularly if you’re on a budget) you can create classical creations without having to bear the cost of classical furniture.
It’s important not to forget the significant environmental benefits of upcycling, too, as upcycling is a great way to minimise the volume of waste sent to landfill sites whilst also reducing the need for new raw materials to be sourced (i.e. has the potential to cut down on deforestation) which would lead to a reduction in air and water pollution, greenhouse gases, and all sorts of other good stuff.
Realistically, you’re not going to save the world by upcycling - but every little bit helps, and making a difference can be as simple as reusing a shopping bag, so if you’re into recycling then upcycling will be right up your street.
Similarly, if you’re a student or on a budget, you can find many items that are free to a good home; often these pre-loved items are a little worse for wear, but that adds to their charm and with a little tender loving care you can revitalise these items to their former glory with a few added personal touches and shabby chic quirks.
There are also emotional benefits in terms of producing your own upcycled items, as it creates a sense of accomplishment and pride. It’s also a great channel for self-expression, which to most creative people, is fundamental to who they are. Indeed, there’s few better ways to express your personality and feel at home within your home than to create your own furniture.
Indeed, upcycled products tend to add a layer of depth and character to your home that the likes of IKEA furniture simply can’t fulfil.
So, we all agree that upcycling is cool. It’s good for the environment, your purse, and your soul - but what about making money from upcycling? Is there a way for you to turn your passion for DIY and creative eye into cold hard cash?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer could go into how it’s perfectly on trend and how sites like Etsy and eBay provide a very accessible platform to connect makers and creators with customers… but, rather than go into that, let’s instead look at four fundamental aspects you will require to profit from upcycling as a side business.
To upcycle an item you obviously need to start with an item in the first place. This can be a fun scavenger hunt; whether that’s roaming around the beach, through car boot sales, charity shops or even dumpster diving!
In the alternative, you can always start from scratch by building a solid base with new timber from George Hill Timber, but then add in other materials that are more antiquated, or even clad the timber frame with driftwood for instance - as whilst you want it to look somewhat shabby chic, you also need it to be functional and stand the test of time as a practical piece of furniture.
The first thing you’re going to need are some decent tools, as there’s a limit to what anyone can achieve without the correct tools and when it comes to buying tools the principle of “buy cheap buy twice” should be kept firmly in mind.
The majority of items you are going to sell will most likely be sold via the internet, unless you’re thinking about taking this to a whole new level and setting up a shop, or pop-up store. There are sites like etsy.com that offer a wonderful opportunity to tout your creative wares, then there’s also eBay and Gumtree, at the more local end, whilst Amazon has some interesting personalisation technology that can help connect you with the right buyers.
You’ll want to capture your item in the best light, as when it comes to furniture a picture paints a thousands words, and in many ways facts tell whereas photos sell. One of the most effective practices when it comes to this, is to take a photo of the unit in a really nice setting, one that creates a good mood and a feeling of creative aspiration or luxury.
For instance, a reclaimed desk that is photographed with an iMac and beautiful bunch of flowers is likely to sell at a much higher price than the same desk photographed against a wall in the garage with nothing on it.