The 28-year-old woman who made £1,300 from ‘upcycling’ furniture – how you could too
Making money does not have to be from highly-thought out, entrepreneurial endeavours, and individuals do not even have to train themselves in order to be successful in this regard. In fact, the secret to extra cash could be lying around in a person’s own home. This was the case for one 28-year-old woman from Manchester, Tasmin Blaney, who discovered she could make a tidy profit through transforming furniture – particularly older pieces – within her Warrington home. Her journey first began in September 2020 when she purchased her first property with her boyfriend. Drawn to the area because of its greenery, Tasmin was contented with her new life full of independence and happiness, but thought about how she could get her hands on more cash.
That was when she decided to re-invent old furniture, pieces which were dotted around her house, in a process known as upcycling. Upcycling is essentially making use of old or discarded products in such a way as to make an item with a higher value and quality.
She told the budgeting finch bank, thinkmoney: “I’ve always been creative and used to upcycle old furniture my mum had in the house to give it a new life in my bedroom. I was a fashion designer but was made redundant at the start of the pandemic, so I decided to go into teaching maths – quite a different route!
“I’ve missed being creative every day at work, and try to be as creative as possible in my home life. That’s what motivates me and keeps me going.”
But aside from being a productive hobby to keep Tasmin busy throughout the lockdown, her actions could end up being particularly lucrative – creating a win-win situation for the former designer.
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To find out more about how Tasmin’s upcycling could make her more money, thinkmoney reached out to Julia Anduiza, Founder of Shelff, a rental platform for interiors. Ms Anduiza was able to predict the new resale prices of Tasmin’s projects, due to her own experience within this field.
Ms Anduiza previously sold vintage and second-hand homeware online throughout the pandemic, and since moved into creating a platform for renting interiors. This, she said, was an effort to tackle the “fast interiors” issue – the common purchase of new items for the home, rather than turning to older pieces.
She discovered that while Tasmin had spent a total of £169.51 thrifting and upcycling old furniture, there was a significant profit to be made. In total, Tasmin could sell her furniture on in the future at a value of £1,299.15, which could make a difference to her finances simply from objects lying around the house.
The items Tasmin decided to upcycle are innocuous enough, and can even be sourced from charity shops, websites such as Gumtree or Amazon, as well as Facebook Marketplace – all considered to be a hive of activity when it comes to people wanting to pass on items they no longer require.
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For example, Tasmin purchased a filing cabinet from Facebook Marketplace for a staggeringly low £5, and with some tender loving care, she was able to turn it into an item many people would love to kit out their home office with. After giving the item a good clean up, she attached dowel mouldings to the front, costing her £2.79 per 2.4metre strip – where she bought 14 strips – and then painted it black, attaching gold pull handles worth £12 for five.
With the filing cabinet costing £56.06 to buy and upcycle, Ms Anduiza estimated a resale price of up to £300 for the item. This means Tasmin could stand to gain a profit of £243.94 from this item alone.
Tasmin also described how she managed to upcycle an old desk, stating: “For my office room, the table that was in there already was awkwardly shaped. I got this free from a family member who was throwing it away. So, I cut it into sections and glued it back together with dowels and wood glue.
“I repurposed leftover pieces of the wood flooring I had in the kitchen/dining room for the tabletop and attached two legs – £20 for two on Amazon – in the corner, resting the other edges on the upcycled cabinets.”
Ms Anduiza highlighted the desk as a particularly in-demand object at the moment, especially given the fact more people are transitioning to work from home. With the resale price of the desk valued at up to £750, Tasmin could turn a profit of £730.
A set of bedside draws was the 28-year-old’s final upcycle project evaluated by Shelff, and found on Gumtree for £10, restoring the two-piece set appeared to be a labour of love. Tasmin attached rattan webbing with a border of half dowel mouldings to the front of each drawer.
She then filled in previous handle holes with gold hexagon pulls, and added hairpin furniture legs. Finally, she finished the whole thing off with leftover black paint to give the drawers a polished finish.
The draws cost a total of £74.79 to purchase and upcycle. However, it is estimated they could go for up to £200 each. This would leave Tasmin with a tidy profit of £325.21, all for a couple of hours of work.
Across all three projects, Tasmin made use of one tin of black paint, which she made go a long way. This cost a total of £18.66, and with the paint available in many stores, it will be easy for Britons to start on this part of upcycling.
Tasmin has shared her upcycling journey through her Instagram account, where she has also given Britons an insight into her first home renovation @life_at_limetree. It shows anyone can turn their hand to this kind of project if they have the patience to do so. And they could stand to make a sizeable amount of money from the action.
Jonny Sabinsky, Head of Communications at thinkmoney, said: “Clearing out your home and selling unwanted items is always a great way to make some extra cash. But, what we love about upcycling is that you can make a rather hefty profit by giving your furniture a new life.
“With a quick sand down, a lick of paint and some extra trending accessories, you have yourself a new hobby, as well as minimising the volume of unwanted materials and the waste being sent to landfill each year.”
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