How to upcycle almost anything with paint

Rather than throwing out old household items, you can restore them with paint. It’s a quick, easy and affordable way to give anything from furniture to fences a new lease on life. However, because not everything is made from the same materials, it’s important to learn how to paint and prepare different surfaces to get the finish you want.

Choosing your paint

Water-based paints are easier to work with and apply, while oil-based paints are more durable, but take longer to dry. For some projects, you might want to use spray paint to get the job done faster. When using a primer, make sure it’s compatible with the paint you’ve chosen. Also, remember to work in a ventilated area and wear safety gear to protect yourself from paint fumes.

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How to paint over varnished timber

Paint is a great way to revive worn timber furniture or cabinetry. To paint a varnished surface, you need to rough it up first. You don’t have to remove all the varnish, just enough so that a primer can stick. Start by cleaning the surface with a scouring pad and household cleaner. Fill in any cracks or imperfections with putty filler. Then, sand it back. Next, apply the primer and once that’s dry you can start painting.

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How to paint plastic

When painting plastic, it’s best to use spray paint. Like varnished timber, you need to prime the surface, so that your paint won’t peel off when it’s dry. Clean it first, then use an aerosol primer for a nice even finish. When it’s dry, spray the surface with a few coats of paint. You can even use a glossy sealant for a shiny top coat.

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How to paint metal

If you have any rusted metal gates or outdoor furniture with flaky paint, give them a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. First, use a wire brush to clean off any paint or rust. Then give it a few light coats of spray primer. Let it dry and give the now primed surface two coats of enamel paint. Make sure you don’t put too much on your brush to avoid drips.

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How to paint plywood

Structural plywood is a tough, versatile material that’s used for all kinds of projects. If you want to revive old plywood, a coat of paint can make a huge difference. Give the wood a clean first with a dustpan brush. Fill up any holes with wood filler and sand smooth when dry. Then, all you need to do is give it a coat or two of all-in-one paint and prime and it’ll look good as new.

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How to paint MDF

Made of engineered wood, MDF is a common material used as panels in cabinetry and storage units. Over time, it can start to look old and dated but a lick of paint can give it a fresh new look. Sand it back first until smooth. Then, give it a couple of undercoats before painting. Because it’s usually in larger panels, you can use a roller to get the job done quicker.

Start painting

Check out more D.I.Y. ideas with paint or take a look at our full paint range.

Scrape the walls 01:51

Preparation How to prepare walls for painting Good preparation is the key to any painting project. We’ll show you a few of the basic steps involved in preparing a wall for painting to make the job much easier.

paint poured into tray

How To Paint How to determine your paint requirements How to determine your paint requirements

Start painting by cutting in the edges 04:07

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paint brushes 02:03

Preparation How to choose paint brushes and rollers In this video, Bron from Bunnings Warehouse describes the different types of paint brushes available.

Store your clean paint brush 02:21

How To Paint How to clean paint brushes You can save a lot on paint projects just by looking after your brushes. We’ll show you how to clean your brushes to get the most out of them.

colour scheme

Guides & Projects Create a colour scheme for your home A new coat of paint can make a huge difference to your home. Colour Expert from Dulux to get some tips on how to choose the colour scheme that’s right for you.

Backyard patio

Guides & Projects How to choose a paint colour for your outdoors If you want to spruce up your home and give it some curb appeal, painting the exterior a new colour can really add value. Whether you’re just looking for a change or preparing to sell, Andrea from Dulux has some advice on how to choose the right col...

Kitchen

How To Paint How to paint a kitchen benchtop with dulux Dulux® Renovation Range Tiles & Benchtops is a revolutionary, water based interior coating that is perfect for transforming your benchtop.

diy bookcase 03:22

Shelving & Storage How to build a D.I.Y. bookcase This D.I.Y. bookcase might be the perfect solution for your storage needs. It’s easy to make and its minimalist look will suit almost any room. Find out how with Bunnings.

bedside 02:54

Bedroom D.I.Y. copper and timber bedside table This copper bedside table will add a modern touch of style to your bedroom and it is easy to make.

closet and storage ideas

Bedroom Cut the clutter with a closet clear out Cut the clutter with these expert storage tips to help you get more from your wardrobe.

How to update window mullions 02:04

Bedroom How to update window mullions It may not be in your vernacular just yet, but a window mullion is the aluminium that holds your window to its frame! They’re super easy to update, just follow these steps and they’ll look good as new in no time.

Copper Jewellery Stand 02:02

Bedroom D.I.Y. copper jewellery stand Keep your jewellery all in one place with just a few spare plumbing parts and a bit of timber. You can make this stylish copper jewellery stand. Read more at Bunnings.

Person attaching the drawer handle 06:02

Bedroom How to assemble a wardrobe insert unit Learn how to assemble a shelf and drawer unit for a wardrobe. Just follow our step-by-step guide.

Man measuring the position of the water pipes 02:25

Laundry How to install a laundry cabinet Learn how to measure and fit a laundry cabinet. We’ll show you how to cut holes for pipes and drainage and attach the cabinet to your wall.

Workspace

Study A workspace fit for any room Whether you need a nook to do family admin or a room for running your fledgling business empire, it’s possible to carve out a great workspace in any home.

low water garden

Planning & Projects How to create a low-water garden ‘Dry’ or ‘low-water’ gardening is a real art and, when done right, will provide you with an inviting landscape that uses very little water.

Finished artificial green garden wall behind garden bench 02:05

Planning & Projects How to create a green wall using artificial hedge Green walls are all the rage at the moment, but buying and maintaining one can be costly. Why not have a go at creating your own using pieces of artificial hedge – it looks great and will last the distance. Here’s how.

reducing water

How To Save Water How to reduce water usage Whether indoor or outdoor, there are lots of ways to be smart about water usage. And there are some simple actions that can make a big difference to your water bill.

doorbell 02:04

Doors How to install a ring doorbell The Ring video doorbell is a wireless doorbell which allows you to see who is at your front door. Find out how to install the Ring video doorbell yourself.

a tree lit up with solar lights around it 01:46

Garden Lighting How to install solar lights in your garden Solar lights are a great way to illuminate your pathways and highlight your garden beds at night. Install them yourself with these easy steps.

how to organise your pantry 02:52

Shelving & Storage How to organise your pantry Create an organisational system in your pantry with these handy storage hints. Trust us – its life changing!

front door 01:31

How To Paint How to paint your front door Make an entrance every darn day of the week by painting your front door a bold, enticing colour!

how to hang pictures

Walls The best way to hang pictures on a wall Learn the tricks to hanging your wall decor so it looks good – and doesn’t damage the plasterboard. Create an effortless-looking display by taking the time to consider spacing, proportion, frame styles and colour palettes.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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