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How To Upcycle A Kid's Old Bike

Reusing At Home Jan 15, 2020

Ok so if there were medals for one’s ability to upcycle and make do, my mother would surely win.

She’s one of those practical people who finds a way to reuse everything, and her commitment to shopping secondhand is notable. Sometimes too much? I mean, she recently found a scrunchie on the beach and was like ‘Geneva I thought you would like this, it’s perfectly good’. I’m not sure about you, but I had to draw the line at secondhand scrunchies! Anyway, for pretty much everything else I’m very into it and we love going secondhand shopping together. Although, I have to admit that mum’s not quite as committed to aesthetics as I am, I guess that’s something I get from my dad! Anyway, she found this trike (three wheel kids bike) in a thrift store for $3 and thought it would be a hit with the kids (my brother has a girl Frankie’s age). And she was right. They went mental for it! But honestly, it hurt my eyes and definitely needed an update. ┬áRead on for what I did.

Before & After

This is the before and after of the project, and I have to say I love it a lot. OF COURSE I used some terracotta paint (you remember this?) but balanced that bright colour with a blush chalk paint and some rope details. Trash to terracotta!

Materials

I bought everything I needed from Bunnings for this project, and also chatted to them about the best paint to use. I know that it can be hard to find a paint that will adhere to this poly plastic and not just come off, but luckily there was a great option that included a primer so the paint could stick properly and create a base for the chalk paint.

I chose to use the chalk paint because it is matte, which is something I also choose over a satin or glossy finish. Just a personal preference!

How to

1

Lay out a drop sheet or some recycled plastic to work on. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area or preferably outside. I then gave the bike a really good clean with some sugar soap and water. Then I used old bags to cover the wheels.

2

The first step is to spray the whole body of the bike. To do this I used the white undercoat which is designed to stick well to this type of plastic. Once that was dry, I did two coats of the pink spray paint. The chalk paint sticks to the undercoat so it's a good idea to make sure you use that. I let that dry overnight.

3

This is what the bike looked like after the body was painted. It's a very subtle pink which I was really happy about because I didn't want it to be too over the top. Ben said it reminded him of marshmallows.

4

I then got to work on the details! I used my favourite terracotta paint for a few details on the bike. I was actually initially going to use leather but realised paint would work better and last longer.

5

I also used the terracotta colour on the seat too. I used a foam brush for the main part of the seat and then used a smaller brush to do more precise details.

6

I wanted to add something to the bike to make it feel more textured, and realised some rope detail would be perfect. I wrapped the start of the handles with two rows of rope. To do this, I did a line of E6000 glue and then wrapped the rope around it, then tied the rope in a really tight knot underneath.  I like that this hides the join of the terracotta paint!

7

To do the seat, I did an outline of glue and then wrapped the glue around the edge of the seat. I did a the join on the underside of the seat.

Like what you see? Or just want to save it for later?

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Voila!

 

 

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