Did you know, that in 2010/11, 1,590,000 tonnes of bulky waste (electrical waste, textile waste and furniture waste) was collected at the kerbside or taken to Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRCs). An average African elephant weighs 6 tonnes, so that’s 265,000 elephants of bulky waste we throw away in the UK each year!
And do you what the worst thing is about this? It’s deemed that around 55% of this waste is reusable! We could be saving money by fixing up that old ‘rubbish’, helping someone out by donating it to them, and preventing the waste taking up space in landfill. By choosing not to buy new items and not sending waste to landfill, we reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases released in producing new items, and processing them as waste.
42% of the bulky waste we throw away is furniture. So, in this post you’ll see how we upcycled a rocking chair donated by one of the local Broomhill residents.
We began by sanding down the wood to remove the varnish so that the process of découpage would work better. Découpage sounds pretty fancy, but it is simply applying paper-cut outs to objects in order to decorate them. We decided to design our chair for use in the art flat, and so we used second-hand children’s comic books to make it appealing for children.
All you need for this process is the paper you wish to use, watered down PVA glue and a brush! Make sure to cover all the areas though, even the undersides, in order to give a professional finish.
We then added colours to the spokes in the back of the chair using chalk pens. This gave us greater control then using paint and brushes, and a more vibrant colour. The chalk pens required 2-3 coats to give them an even finish, but the ink dries quickly once applied.
Once you have done this, all that remains is to varnish the chair – we think using a spray varnish is best as it dries clear and does not drip. Again, make sure to cover all of the chairs and get right into the cracks.
Then, simply finish with a cushion and sit back and relax.
This was a great collaborative project in which we all learnt new skills and proved to ourselves just how easy it is to bring new life to a seemingly worn out piece of furniture.
Here’s a link to the info on bulky waste used above: http://www.wrap.org.uk/system/files/private/Technical%20Report%20v2.pdf
The Recycle Upcycle sessions run every Monday from 6-8pm at 12 Broomhill Court, Ann Street, PA14 5HE.