Upcycling: From Curb-Side Trash to Playroom Activity Table


There's something magical when you take something that was destined for the trash, or deemed un-useable, and make it beautiful. Not only is it more economical, saving you money on buying something new, but it's also a great way to reduce waste in our environment by "upcycling"old items.


My neighbour was putting out this table (see below) on her curb, amongst a pile of other unwanted items. Many people might see a used, beat- up table- but I saw potential.  Actually, it was EXACTLY what I was looking for.  With it's raised edges around the tabletop, which would prevent train/ lego pieces from falling off,  I knew it would make a perfect activity table.


There's an odd feeling when you take items off the curb. You're thinking "Is this really okay to take", "did someone maybe accidentally leave it on the edge of the road?", "Will this be another piece that ends up in my gargage"? 

In this case, the lovely homeowner helped me put it in my car.  She was so thrilled that I would be giving it a new home. 



Prepping used furniture items

It will be difficult to avoid some sort of step prior to painting, especially if the homeowner is throwing it out or giving it for free- in most cases, it means the condition is likely not worth the selling process. Check for paint chipping, veneer chipping, loose parts, etc. You will want to fix these prior to refinishing the piece.  

This table was in mostly good condition. It has some scratches and chips to the paint, so I sanded it down to smooth out the surface.  Also the paint I used, Fusion Mineral Paint, suggests a light sand prior to painting.   

Two-tone painting

My aesthetic tends to be simple and classic but I am always pushing myself to try new things. The easier method would have been to go with one colour, so I decided to try a two- tone grey and white. I KNOW, bold, grey and white....  

Painting two contrasting colours next to each other would prove to take lots of patience-  and touch ups!

In order to get a straight line where the grey meets the white, I used a small art store paint brush.  An angled brush would have been preferable; however, I only had a regular one, so I cut an angle in order to paint a fine line where the white meets the grey. 

Top Coat

I wanted EXTRA DURABILITY.  I mean, it's a kids table. Fusion Mineral Paint has a built-in resin that does not require a top coat on it; however, I wasn't taking any chances with a kids table. I wanted something strong so I went with Rustoleum's varathane. So far, so good. 

Then came the hard part...

Put together train set. Sounds easy, right?

I bought this train set used and it came with A LOT of parts. This took me many hours (and glasses of wine) to get as many train pieces as possible on this table.

Thankfully I have this wonderful picture when my 3 year old tears it apart.


I hope I gave you a little inspiration to find something new in something old. 

Follow me on insta and tag #mysimplycraftedspace to share your upcycled projects.