Photo of Ann Marie Auricchio

Drab To Fab Furniture Upcycling

Home & Patio

with Ann Marie Auricchio
Drab To Fab Furniture Upcycling
Transform yard-sale finds into items that showcase your style! This class teaches techniques to unearth and fix up those hidden gems.

From items forgotten in basements to cast-offs picked up at the thrift store, professional decorative artist Ann Marie Auricchio shows you how to transform ordinary objects. You'll learn faux finishing, distressing and crackling, how to use silver leaf, and sophisticated stencil and tape techniques. Ann Marie will also teach you how to identify styles and eras of furniture design, as well as the secrets to distinguishing which items are worthy of upcycling and which are better left untouched. Master the art of "upcycling" all types of household items quickly, easily and inexpensively!

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Introduction

  • Meet Ann Marie Auricchio, whose 20-year career as a scenic artist and decorative painter has taken her from Broadway to Hollywood - but she loves nothing more than taking a beat-up old object and making it beautiful.


Lesson 2. Find Your Inspiration

  • What catches your eye? What shapes, colors and styles do you want to surround yourself with? This essential lesson shows you how to explore the world of design and create a look that's uniquely yours.


Lesson 3. Choosing Tools and Materials

  • Ann Marie goes over the tools and supplies she uses, chosen over years of work on movie sets, theatrical stages and decorative projects in million-dollar homes. Her professional toolbox includes plenty of items recycled from the kitchen or hardware store.


Lesson 4. Cleaning and Prepping

  • Ann Marie shows you the essential products and techniques she uses to prepare surfaces to receive a new finish, cover up minor surface marks and make basic repairs with auto body filler and wood glue.


Lesson 5. Milk Paint: Distressed Terra Cotta Pot

  • Ann Marie introduces you to the versatile, nontoxic milk paints you'll use throughout the course, by giving a brand-new terra cotta pot the weathered look of an English antique.


Lesson 6. Milk Paint: Stencilled Terra Cotta Pot

  • Ann Marie explains how to create your own design and achieve a smooth, high-contrast finished product with rolled-on base coat and single-use adhesive stencil.


Lesson 7. Milk Paint: Regency Coffee Table

  • Learn how to create a durable finish with milk paint, adding and revealing color layers to create a look that's rich and historic, and finishing with handpainted details that look more difficult than they are.


Lesson 8. Wax Finish: Regency Coffee Table

  • Ann Marie shows you how to create and maintain the hand-waxed finish she uses on many pieces, applying different colors of beeswax finish, working them into details and buffing to a sheen.


Lesson 9. Gilding: Picture Frames

  • By giving a thrift-store frame a makeover, Ann Marie teaches you the basics of gilding. She goes over the steps of a metallic leaf finish, including how to apply adhesive and how to buy and work with imitation and genuine leaf. A coat of tinted glaze, rubbed back with a rag, finishes the look.


Lesson 10. Art Deco End Table: Primer, Base and Silver Leaf

  • Take your gilding skills to the next level on a piece of furniture. In this lesson, you'll learn how to prime with shellac, apply a dark base coat and add silver leaf for a smooth, shiny, vintage look. Finish by burnishing with steel wool.


Lesson 11. Art Deco End Table: Crackle Finishes

  • Crackling is not just the noise your cereal makes. Ann Marie takes you step-by-step through this three-layer process. By varying the crackle medium and top coat, using different tools and brush strokes, you can produce the perfect textural contrast to your furniture's smooth gilded surfaces.


Lesson 12. Distressing, Stencilling and Glazing the Radio Cabinet

  • Ann Marie teaches you how to sand old paint safely for a distressed look that's not cookie-cutter shabby chic. She uses stencils and tinted glaze to make the cabinet's surface look deeper and richer.


Lesson 13. Transforming a Metal Patio Chair

  • Ann Marie sands the finish of this classic 1950s chair and uses auto body filler to smooth out chips and dings. After a latex enamel base coat, Ann Marie uses masking tape to apply a stripe pattern that combines midcentury colors with an updated style.


Lesson 14. Wrapping Up: From Drab to Fab

  • Look what you've done! You took inexpensive items and turned them into expressions of your style and personality. Ann Marie wraps up with a challenge to you to find the beauty in old pieces and share the results with the Craftsy community.

"Ann Marie is a fantastic teacher! - very articulate, presents the materials and their uses in a realistic manner by letting you understand the pros and cons of the products, she uses her 'mistakes' as a venue for creativity, I felt like she was having a conversation with me, she evokes confidence to the students by enjoying the processes and tells us to have fun. ... Thank you, Craftsy, for your excellent classes ... they truly embrace the arts that enrich our lives and families. Keep up the good work."
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