How to reclaim tip trash

To recycle or not.

Up-cycling, ever thought to yourself, that you need to do a tip run, so much broken, old, and trashy stuff at your house? Well why not turn it into gorgeous reclaimed pieces of unique and eclectic beauty. In Australia at the moment there is a real enthusiasm for reclaimed furniture and interesting arty like house hold items made from recycled or reclaimed materials. With tips overflowing daily with numerous items withering away close to death it is the best place to find yourself a really good bargain. You would honestly be surprised at what turns up at the tip, especially if you find tips close to ritzy wealthy suburbs, sometimes the items you find literally are just a few years of being brand new and profit can be had without doing to much at all to items.

So what do you look for, well l tend to go with unusual pieces, and l love rusty items, the colours are amazing in them and with a coat of gloss varnish it can look so beautiful and new with a real vintage aged look, it's really in at the moment. I like to imagine the weirdest things that l can do with bits and pieces using items for something so far removed from what it was meant for, it adds a quirky factor and an original one of a kind aspect to household home wares and furniture and just makes talking pieces of furniture.

Firstly l like to see things as they are, so l pick up pieces that are just unusual or interesting or parts of things that have broken, they make interesting additions to finished pieces, things like old work shop horse benches, the metal legs are usually rusted, by the time they get to the tip and they make the most awesome table legs when varnished, old fire place guards, brass surrounds, door knobs, candle stick holders, anything, the tricks is don't try and see it as a finished product just yet, you'll be doing something and suddenly that old tyre iron or fly screen will just pop into your head and you'll have it there and ready to work on. It happens to me all the time!

Items are dirt cheap at the tip, and much cheaper then opportunity (opp) shops especially in Australia where the prices have been steadily rising over the past few years and suddenly even the poor or disadvantaged can't afford to shop there, especially on the Sunshine Coast! Items at the tip are just like opp shops in quality anyhow only much cheaper so l definitely recommend having a look. Some tips have tip shops attached so they look basically like opp shops anyhow, some do a weekly market whilst others are open 7 days per week. Check with your local council or refuse outlet for details.

Girls it's definitely time to think like the boys, so something's a little dirty, oily, rusty, be strong and think past it all, role up the sleeves and leave the stiletto's at home, a tip requires enclosed footwear, getting your car a little dirty inside, and being stared at by old men, not for your looks but because it has been their domain for way to long and their just wondering why a pretty young thing like you is at the tip rather then the boutique.

Tips are great places to stock up on simple tools, nuts, bolts and screws, especially large feature ones, they are a fraction of the hardware store prices and again, when you need them they'll be there ready. Also if your making recycled furniture often the rust attached to nail and bolts works for a better rusty authentic look anyhow rather then super shiny metal new from the hardware shop.

There's no rules to up-cycling, really anything goes, have a look on the internet under recycled art, recycled furniture, up-cycling, there really is a wealth of information there to give you ideas on what to do with just about everything. The best part about up-cycling is the satisfaction felt when you've finished a piece and it looks amazing, so amazing you just don't want to sell it.

In the picture attached is an example l have done, this used to be an old brown wooden video/tv table, I simply cut of the top leaving part of the overhanging top where l added a padded fabric cover, added a cushion seat in there, used vintage scrap booking paper and varnished it 5 times onto the doors, new knobs, two coats of white gloss paint and just a circle around where the old plugs used to go through at the back and turned it into a feature that was just meant to be there, and bobs your uncle now stands a beautiful seat with storage under and at a total cost of about $50 that's a definite bargain.

One point to remember when seeking tip trash treasures, you have to get there early or don't bother, here the early bird definitely gets the worm, especially if tip shops are only open one day a week, you'll find many people waiting at the gate ready to run like a heard of elephants (literally) once the door is unlocked. Another point is to bring a few 'hold for ......' signs with you, tip items don't wait for you to find staff, so unless you have brought an army of tip sitters with you, bring some signs with you to place on items you find and then go seek out staff. Most of the time people will observe the reserved signs.

Tip: Don't purchase broken furniture: unless you know the mechanics of how to fix it, or want to fix it, it can be time consuming and sometimes more trouble then it's worth. Look for good quality wood items if making a furniture piece. Stay away from chip board and cheap factory pieces, you want good quality wood/timber items in good condition. Starting with something in good condition means sanding will be a breeze, painting will be a breeze, adding paper or fabric decoupage will also be easy and much more fun.

Most importantly think outside the box.

Karen Elzinga (Copyrighted)


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