A little while ago I was contacted by the people at Christy - the gorgeous (fancy) home and linens company. They had teamed up with Harlequin who create beautiful wallpapers and fabrics to create a Cristy-Harlequin towels range featuring Harlequin inspired prints. To celebrate, some bloggers were challenged to craft something using Harlequin wallpaper. I chose to do my dressing table/vanity table. I got this table about 4 years ago in an Oxfam for £10. It's an old-fashioned style, walnut veneer dressing table which was peeling and looking very sad for itself. Rather than bin it, I was inspired to "upcycle" it! I thought I'd show you how!
Initially, I convinced Sam to take the mirror off and take the handles off the drawers. I bribed him with a cup of tea
Then I ran to Homebase for the supplies - quick drying filler for cracks, chips and holes in the drawers, Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish furniture paint in Clotted Cream, Rust-Oleum furniture lacquer in clear, PVA glue, a filling knife, paint brushes and sanding paper.
I chose the Rust-Oleum paints mainly because they were cheaper than my usual Farrow & Ball, and they promised you didn't need to use a basecoat/primer first. I found the paints harder to use than Farrow & Ball Eggshell as the paint "pulled" where it was so thick, meaning it took a lot of paint. Plus the finish needed three coats. The lacquer was a shock - it wasn't clear at all but slightly brown. I was heartbroken at first but actually I like the slight dark wash it gave the paint. I chose to lacquer the chalk paint to give it more strength - I tend to bash around and knock furniture so wanted to give the paint a chance! You could also use the wax to coat the paint.
First, I filled the holes. There were chips out the top of the dresser, old handle holes and some corners missing on the top which needed filling and building up. Then I waited for them to dry, sanded them down and at the same time gave the whole dresser a light sand and then a clean.
I then painted the dresser, heart in my mouth as I watched it dry. This is after the first coat where I wondered if I had made the wrong decision!
After 3 layers within about 4 hours and a good overnight dry, I could use the wallpaper to top the dresser. This is the Harlequin Limosa wallpaper which features watercolour painted feathers. I first cut a big enough piece, then placed it on the top, weighted down with tins. I made sure the straight edge and the side lined up with the straight edge of my dresser.
I then used the filling knife to firmly press down on the wallpaper, following the curve of the dresser. This line then served as a guide to cutting the paper perfectly.
I then generously painted the top with PVA glue, and with the help of Sam, carefully placed it on. I smoothed out as many air bubbles as I could, but the dresser wasn't that smooth to begin with so I could only do my best! I then painted the top with a good layer of PVA, paying extra attention to the edges.
Once this had dried clear, I applied the lacquer all over the dresser, including over the wallpaper to make it extra waterproof.
Next I got an old stool from my parents, it was falling apart but I liked the wood inlay so chose not to paint it.
I took it to B&Q and they cut me a piece of wood the exact size of the seat. I then got some upholstry foam, a staple gun and glue gun from Dunelm Mill. I also had the Limosa fabric to cover the seat with.
Using the piece of wood as a guide, I drew on the foam and cut it out with a bread knife. This was a really messy process and my poor Teddy dog became very allergic and his whole face and eyelids swelled up that evening so be really careful.
You can make the seat curved by carving off the corners, then using some wadding to keep the foam smooth looking. Then fold over the fabric, making sure you make the edges neat and staple on.
I glue-gunned the seat to the wooden frame and it was ready!
Finally, I got some glass drawer knobs from Dunelm Mill and Sam drilled some holes into the drawers. Then I cut some drawer linings from the remaining wallpaper (there is still loads!) and put the drawers back in! Here she is, looking fresh! I sent photos to my mum who said it looked "very modern" which I think is code for not my taste!
Then finally we carted it back upstairs and now its my dressing table again! Look, posing with the towels!