Saturday, October 20, 2018

Turn a Thrift Shop Table into a Vacation Scrapbook

Why not use your travel brochures to turn a thrift shop table into a vacation scrapbook? It's easy and fun. It only takes vacation souvenirs, brochures and a trip to the thrift shop to create this keepsake.
My family wanted likes to keep a record of our vacations. The problem is that we are running out of room to put everything. Storing the travel brochures and souvenirs takes up space. When we needed a replacement kitchen table we decided to hit the thrift shop. Then we decoupaged the travel brochures to the table top.

The result is a conversation piece that will last for years. Creating this particular vacation scrapbook table with travel brochures is a pretty straightforward process. It takes a few days and a moderate level of crafting or scrapbooking skill but the results of your labor is worth it. Why store boxes of travel souvenirs in the attic when this unique vacation scrapbook can be created?

Choosing the right piece of furniture
The chosen kitchen table, nightstand or other furniture item must be sturdy and have a solid wood top. Otherwise, recycling those travel brochures by decoupaging them to the table will cause more problems that it solves. Finding the perfect table took few trips to the thrift shop. Ultimately, we found our dream furniture item for less than $50.

Preparing the surface - Sanding
Prepping the surface of this particular thrift shop table took most of a day and consumed a stack of sandpaper. Preparation has to be the most tedious step in the process and also the most necessary. All of the old layers of varnish and stains had to be removed from the surface. If not prepared well the travel brochures won't be able to adhere to the table.

An electric sander hurried the work along and a green varnish remover helped with the parts we couldn't sand easily. It was hard work but seeing the recycled travel brochures on the table later made preparing the surface worth the effort.

Sealing the wood
Aa brush on sealer was applied after all the sawdust was wiped away The sealer filled in surface cracks and chips on the the piece of furniture. To seal the legs and edges of the thrift shop find we used a wood tone varnish.

Once this was done the project had to sit for another 24 hours. Now the fun could really begin! It was finally time to get recycle those travel brochures and begin our vacation scrapbook.

Cutting the travel brochures
Our first step at decorating the thrift shop table was to cut out large map sections and the parts of the travel brochures that meant the most to us. These were then placed on the surface and glued securely. Other layers were added until we were pleased with the vacation scrapbook. Once all the recycled travel brochures were glued down we allowed the thrift shop table to dry thoroughly.

Resin application
I chose to coat the table top in an epoxy resin. This is a popular coating for bars and restaurant. It dries to a hard finish that holds up to years of use. Several different brands are available. Each one basically uses the same 2-step process.

Mixing the resin can be tricky. Follow the directions exactly. Deviating can cause unpleasant results. The label also helps determine how much resin is needed the first application. Additional layers can be added later for extra thickness.

Prepare the work area
A lot of work goes into the process to recycle travel brochures on a thrift shop table. Taking extra time to prepare the work area is essential to creating this vacation scrapbook.
If you haven't already done so, now is the time to cover the entire floor with drop cloths. Because spilled resin doesn't clean up well (or at all) we created our vacation scrapbook outdoors. If creating indoors, be sure to work in a well ventilated area that is thoroughly protected from spills.

Applying the resin
After the work area is prepared the resin has to be properly mixed. Only then can the mixture be applied to the top of the thrift shop table. Once you start pouring the resin onto the vacation scrapbook there is no turning back. Pour slowly and carefully over the entire surface.
Use the plastic knives to gently guide the resin to the all the way to the edges. Every part of the brochures and the table edge must be coated. Inspect the table from different angles to be sure that every spot is covered.

After every inch of the top of the thrift shop table is covered it needs to cure for at least 24 hours. Touching the project earlier than 24 hours can permanently and negatively impact the look of your vacation scrapbook. Don't do it.

The thrift shop table becomes a magnet for insects and dust after resin is poured. Bug spray used away from the scrapbook project can help. If you work indoors, the thrift shop table can gather dust. Using a ceiling fan or placing a small fan nearby can help with either problem.

Apply additional coats of resin
The recycled travel brochures were well covered but we decided to add a few additional coats of resin to the vacation scrapbook. This built an thicker layer on the thrift shop table and added extra protection to the travel brochures that we chose to recycle.

Final word
Who could guess that a decision to recycle some travel brochures by covering a thrift shop table would be so much fun? This was is one vacation scrapbook that we will enjoy for years to come.

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