The Art of Upcycling

At Common Goods we are fortunate to receive a variety of unique furniture pieces from our generous donors. Some of these items can go directly to the sales floor. Other times, the pieces we receive need a little extra love and attention. At Common Goods, we call this process “upcycling“. It can be as simple as a new coat of paint, or it can be somewhat more complicated, requiring multiple steps which results in a complete transformation.

For those wanting to delve into upcycling, there is no doubt that the process can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never attempted such a project on your own before. Below I’ve included steps & pictures of a project that we completed last year, to hopefully help put your mind at ease, and to give you a little encouraging nudge to try DIY…yourself!

First, you will need to pick the piece you wish to change. Here is the before picture of a great rocking chair that was in great need of upcycling:Chair (before)

Next, you enter the “idea phase,” which can be the most difficult part at times. Fortunately, there are several websites that can help if you find yourself with “creativity block.” (Pinterest, anyone…?) If you are at a total dead-end, just go to your favorite search engine and type in what you are trying to accomplish (i.e., “How to reupholster a chair”). You will probably receive more than enough great ideas for your project!

Finally: it’s time to execute your plan (and probably do a little shopping)! Our idea was to revive this piece by painting and reupholstering this rocking chair. The materials & tools that were used for this project included primer, paint, sandpaper, a staple gun and staples, screwdriver, scissors, and fabric.

Here are the steps we took:

  1. Wash or wipe down the chair to remove any old dust and dirt.
  2. Remove the seat (so it can be recovered).
  3. Apply primer to make sure the paint adheres to the chair.
  4. Once the primer is dry; paint the chair the color of your choice.
  5. After the paint is dry; lightly sandpaper the chair along the edges to give it a vintage distressed look.
  6. Finally, put the new fabric over the old seat and staple it to the underside.

And here is the finished project:

Chair (after)

Quite the transformation, right? The best part is that a project of this size can easily be accomplished in a single weekend….and of course if DIY just isn’t you, the good news is that there is almost always a new project in the works here at Common Goods, so you can shop upcycled, too! Good luck, and happy upcycling!

Get Involved with Common Goods:

  • Shop (you can always find a great “upcycled” piece like the one above).
  • Volunteer (check out volunteer opportunities on our website).
  • Donate (check out our donation guidelines).
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Loving Our Neighbors

At Bridges of Hope, our mission is to build bridges of support, anchored in Christ’s love, between families in the Lakes area and the community assets that can help them thrive and gain hope

Basically, that’s a fancy way of saying we want to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” Last year, somewhere around 7,000 of “our neighbors” reached out to Bridges of Hope for help (~2,600 households). We live out our mission each day through a range of programming that is designed to meet a person where they’re at--whether they’re calling us for the first time or the twenty-first time.love-your-neighbor-logo

When working with a household, we often connect people to resources to help them, sometimes we help them find the solution within themselves, and other times we provide a longer-term service to walk alongside them more intensely–always striving to maintain the mindset that we’re just doing what we’d hope someone else would do for us, if we were in the same situation–because that’s what a caring community is all about.

Below is a sampling of things that “our neighbors” said to us when we called them to follow up on their situations last year:

  • “Thank you so much for your help.”–a grandma raising her three grandchildren, who needed help with rent resources.
  • “I want to rate you all as ‘excellent’.”–an elderly adult receiving disability who needed furniture and other household items.
  • “Crisis Nursery helped me keep my job. Thank you so much! I also now have a new daycare provider, thanks to you!”–a single mom whose daycare provider went out of business.
  • “You are our go-to people.”–a family of four who were sleeping on futons and mattresses on the floor.
  • “You made me so happy! It was so nice! I was overwhelmed. Five plus plus.”–a woman using a walker who needed a smaller bed for her room to move around it more easily, rating our quality of services on a scale of 1-5.
  • “Thanks for calling back and checking on me.”–an adult with a roommate whose power steering had gone out on his car.
  • “Thank you for not judging me.”–a single mom who had gotten behind on her rent.
  • “Getting assistance is very overwhelming, and it was helpful to have someone to tell us where to start.”–a family of six living in a 2-bedroom apartment, needing to find a larger (and still affordable) place.
  • “You were nice, and also easy to talk to.”–a woman who had moved to the area to escape an abusive relationship, needing connections to employment and housing.
  • “You were extremely helpful in making our home feel like a home.”–a recently single mom who had moved into a new apartment and needed household furnishings.
  • “Thank you Bridges! God Bless you.”–an elderly woman who needed home repairs.
  • “I feel the love Bridges of Hope has for the people you help.”–an adult couple in their 70s; the wife needed new dentures and hadn’t been able to eat solid foods for awhile.

Thank YOU, Lakes Area, for making it possible for Bridges of Hope to love our neighbors as ourselves every day.

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Make a gift to support a neighbor in need this year: a gift of $175 helps us support one family. Your donation is 100% tax-deducible.