I keep getting confused between “upcycling” and “repurposing” – do you?

up·cy·cle   ˈəpˌsīkəl / verb
  1. reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.
re·pur·pose   rēˈpərpəs / verb  
1.    adapt for use in a different purpose.

Since this piece was in the garbage when I found it, I know it’s upcycled, but is it repurposed as well – given that it was intended for garbage?

Upcycled side table. Side table makeover, from trash to treasure. Union Jack table.

Maybe I’m just being too trendy trying to throw around the latest words and popular phrases.

Maybe I should just stick with “refinished”.

No matter what you call it, I’d say this is a piece that could use a little upcycling/refinishing/repurposing?

Yikes – what is that?  A fake inlay?  On an mdf top?  Gosh manufacturers really are getting cheap aren’t they?

I don’t usually like working with laminate or mdf pieces – they are harder to save if there’s been water damage because the boards aren’t solid – rather they are essentially sawdust that has been glued and compressed together to make a pseudo-board –  and when water seeps into it, it expands, contorts and bubbles and can’t usually be saved.

This one wasn’t too bad though – the bubbling was slight and fixable.

I started out using a grey mish-mash I had in the garage.  It’s an interior latex semi-gloss – which has a nice little sheen to it – but then this table isn’t really pin-worthy is it?

It’s just a plain grey table with a little nick in the side (I couldn’t get that one out).

Union jack table 3

She needs ‘something’.  A little oomph, a little style, a little something to set her apart from every other table on Pinterest.

Union jack table 4

Okay, not über-imaginative, but I did do the Union Jack in a monochrome colour on the lower shelf of the table, so that’s a bit different than usual right?

I would have gone for a Canadian flag, but I didn’t think I could tape off a maple leaf.

Union Jack table 5

If you are looking for a Union Jack template to create your own piece – this site had the best outline.

Measurements for Union Jack Flag

I added a bit of white to my grey to create the white area on the flag, and then I added a bit of black to the original grey to create what would be the red sections.  This kept all of my grey in the same group.  Buying three separate greys wouldn’t have worked as well because some might be more blue, others more brown…

Union jack table 6

I added a coat of triple-thick varnish to the top to help protect against any future water getting into the mdf, and lightly sanded the lower shelf for a smooth feel and slightly rustic look.

Union jack table 7

Did I mention that this was in my neighbour’s garbage?

Just last Monday.

If they only knew what a little patience and a bit of work could have achieved in just a couple of days.

Union jack table 8

So if/when the students move into or out of your area, keep an eye out for mdf (medium density fibreboard) pieces that aren’t too warped – you never know, it could be your diamond in the rough!

Furniture makeover - side table. From garbage find to Union Jack accent table.

Have a great one!

Too funny