UPCYCLE: Toy house renovation

So my wee boy was quite taken with a little wooden toy house at the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh a little while ago. With his 3rd birthday coming up I wanted to get him one to play with, but I was disappointed with the gender focus on female when I did some online shopping research. For instance you’ll notice I have chosen ‘toy house’ rather than ‘doll’s house’. Have I gone PC mad? Whatever. I would just rather not have toys smothered with a gender-aligned colour. See my article here on the pinkification of toys I wrote for Girl Geek Scotland some time ago.

So being that I also have a penchant for upcycling, I happened upon a wee wooden toy house in Dunbar Zero Waste Hub (which is a place that rescues items from landfill). Here it is in all its pinkified glory:

Also, I noted that the front of the house with the door is actually screwed into the back, and the back pulls down from a magnetic strip into a “garden”. Which I didn’t like. But I figured out I could probably switch this around with some hinges.

So still trying to keep it a secret, we went to B&Q and I got the wee man to pick two colours of paint – he chose great! A deep red, and lovely yellow. Oh and a can of spray blackboard paint for the roof. And B&Q had a 3 for 2 on all paint. Perfect.

So on a weekend he was at his daddy’s I got to work taking it to bits and painting layer upon layer upon layer. It was looking braw!

The hingey bits were a bit trickier than I anticipated, also finding wee wood screws that were shallow enough to not poke through the wood was a challenge, and all I can say is thank the gods for Sugru.

The finished article looks great. Looking forward to seeing him play with it!

Upcycle in the garden

Messy garden. Had a baby. Garden stayed messy all winter. Now it’s nearly summer. Something had to be done. First steps:

Load of old rotting wood:

Bought gorgeous Cuprinol garden wood paint in following shades:

There’s a section of my garden next to the driveway that is trying to be a flower bed, but the shape is all over the place, the edges undefined, and basically it needed a lift. On the other side of my driveway I have a rebellious ivy plant that is trying to kill three small trees, every year I try to cut back last year’s dead strings and every year I’m left with a big pile of dead ivy strings to either try to put in the brown bin, or burn on the bonfire. I had tried to build a woven border around this flower bed with the dead ivy strings and it worked really well apart from the blasted evil ivy came back to life and started growing all round it, so it had to go. Instead I decided to paint the old rotting blocks of wood roughly (shabby chic LOL) in the colours above:

… and bed the blocks of wood around the flower bed – it looks lovely now! >>>



Upcycled cabin bed me hearties

I was looking for a genius solution for a bed for a weird-shaped small room. Not quite big enough for a double and needing to make the most of space and storage. I looked at high sleepers and loft beds, daybeds and sofabeds. Ended up trawling Gumtree, Shpock, and Facebook marketplace until I found an old cabin bed for sale. Pre-loved, twice I think. Perhaps once by a boy and once by a girl as it’s original feature panels were turquoise, but it had been partially painted over in very light pink. 

It was an old Stompa cabin bed which can upwards of £400 – and it everything I was looking for:

  • Solid wood
  • Not too high
  • Comfortable steps
  • Set of drawers
  • Two bookcases
  • Pull out desk with shelves
  • Hanging handy bookshelf

So I thought about a few options to give it a new life. Feature wallpaper over old paint job. Varnish old comics. Galvanished or metallic paint over. In the end I opted for chalkboard paint and I found a magnetic one to boot. It’s fairly robust a paint and easily refreshed. Really pleased with the results:

Drawers to ya I say!

These were a set of drawers we inherited from Brian’s Great Uncle George. They were very old and worn, chipped, wobbly handled and a bit murky. But rather than abuse them by letting them live in the garage with the spiders and the leaky roof, I decided to give it a bash to sand them down and do something new with them instead to see if they could be brought back to life a bit.

A few ideas flew around, like painting them mad colours or pasting old comics on the drawer faces. But instead I went with just a simple medium wood stain, some of my favourite drawer pulls rather than knobs, and jazz them up only by giving them some funky and bright drawer liners in the form of a a nice wallpaper I found on eBay. Purple in colour wallpaper in honour of my recently departed first love, Prince.

Very happy with the result and chuffed they’ll be staying with us for years to come and have a continued life holding our knickers and things.