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Upcycling A Thrifted Sideboard (Using Black Stain & Wavy Handles)

Upcycled furniture Mar 2, 2023

I’ve been wanting to upcycle a wooden piece of furniture using a black stain, and I finally got a chance to try it this week.

As you guys know, I love going to the tip shop, and I go often. For that reason, I get well acquainted with the pieces that sit for months and get routinely overlooked by other customers. This piece was one of those items – it had been in the tip shop for so long the staff had given her a name, ‘Beatrice’. Once I found out I knew it was a challenge I couldn’t refuse, and when combined with the fact that she had lovely lines underneath her tired exterior, I was excited to get started.

Tools & Materials I used

    • Stain (I used Prooftint in Black Japan from Feast Watson)
    • Timber Protectant – I like to use Feast Watson Timber Floor Wax
    • Paint stripper 
    • Electric Sander
    • Paint scraper
    • Gloves
    • Paint brush
    • Rag
    • Waxy wine rack for the handles (0r handles of your choice)

One tip about stains

The thing I love about using wood stains is that you can build the colour up depending on the look you are going for. For this sideboard, I did one coat of stain, and decided to not go too dark so the warmth of the wood could show through. If you want to add more layers of stain you will get a deeper and deeper colour, so it’s fantastically adaptable.

How to upcycle a thrifted sideboard


First I gave the sideboard a good clean and then I applied a thick layer of paint stripper and let it sit for about 30 minutes before using my paint scraper to scrape off the layer of veneer. I also removed all the old hardware!


The paint stripper can a bit messy to use, but it does a good job of removing a lot of the varnish and getting down to the original wood. I then gave the piece a light sand to remove any stubborn spots of varnish.


This is what the cabinet looked like after I stripped and sanded it back. I am always so curious about what the wood is going to be like underneath but I didn't like this design as much as I thought I might, so I decided a dark stain would be a good idea.


I then tested all the stains I had to decide what to use. I like to do this on the piece itself if I can, and then sand off the stains once I have decided.


I decided to do a lovely black stain for this, which was a huge change for me, and initially I applied it with a brush and a rag.


I also finally decided to test my idea of using a tanning mitt to apply and stain, and it worked sooooo well! I wore a glove underneath and I just painted a little bit of stain onto the end of the mitt and painted it onto the wood, turning it over to buff out any lines or build up of the product. It was so easy to do and it also gave such a good result.


To create the handles for this piece, I decided to cut up some wavy wine rack that I bought a while ago from Bunnings, and use that! I used the same stain on those too to get a cohesive look. I used a drill and screws to attach the handles onto the cabinet.


The final step for this project was to protect the wood and stain, I like to use Timber Floor wax which is an oil that gives a matt look. I just applied it with a brush and buffed it to a slight shine.



This post is in collaboration with Feast Watson

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