Monday, July 17, 2017

Triquetra Table with Roses

Some consumers, such as pagans, wiccans and occult enthusiasts, are under served by the mainstream manufacturing community. It can be very difficult for someone with interest in those subcultures to find commercially available items for ritual use, home decoration , or even basic functional items that are made in a style that reflects the aesthetic of their chosen life path. Which is to say- it can be hard to find things with pentagrams on them. It is especially difficult in an area like mine, which is not particularly liberal or tolerant of non-christian cultures. Before the internet, there were a handful of mail order houses you could turn to, and other than that, you were on your own to make whatever you needed. That is why I spend a lot of my time scouring the marketplace for items with "up-cycling" potential. I look for things I can buy cheaply and then modify them to appeal to a more niche market.

Take this nice oak veneer end table, for example. I found this at a discount store for a very good price, and it just screamed out to me to have a big ol' occult symbol emblazoned across it (and then, of course, to be resold for a reasonable profit). Some of the items I up-cycle get substantial modifications. Others, like this table, just need a little paint.

To make these modifications, I first took the top of the table off so that it would be easier to work on. Then I covered the table top with a mask. Sometimes I will use vinyl contact paper, but this time I used masking tape. Some months back, I found a couple of rolls of masking tape that were about 12 inches wide. I had never seen rolls that wide before, so I grabbed them. This looked like the perfect project to try them out.

Next, I selected my design elements. I went with a triquetra for the center of the table, and then roses around the edge. The triquetra I got from a vector image I downloaded online. I printed it out to scale, (which took two pieces of paper that got taped together) and spray glued it to the center of the table, right onto the masking tape.

The roses came from several stencils I had bought from the craft store. Unfortunately, no single stencil gave me the look I was after, so I had to Frankenstein the images together, one piece at a time. I traced the rose images right onto the masking tape with a pencil. I probably should have used a marker. The lines were a little hard to see. But I wasn't sure if I would need to erase. I was making up the layout as I went along.

Then came the laborious and oh so tedious task of cutting the images out with an x-acto knife. Those roses took a LOT of time to cut out. I think I worked on them for about two days.

Once the images were all cut out, I masked off all the roses and painted the triquetra with several light coats of gold spray paint.

When that was dry, I masked off the triquetra, uncovered the roses, and masked off just the flowers themselves, and gave a quick light base coat of white over the stems and leaves before spray painting them green. Again, I waited for that to dry thoroughly before unmasking the flowers, and masking the stems and leaves. Again, I gave the flowers a light base coat of white before spray painting the roses red.

After all the paint was dry, I removed the masking tape from the entire table top and inspected it for errors. I did find one spot where I must have made a mistake cutting the mask. There was paint connecting two parts of a stem that should not have been connected. It was a small area, and luckily, I was able to lightly scrape the paint off with a razor knife without damaging anything. Finally, I put three light coats of spray spar urethane over the whole top.

Most up-cycle paint jobs like this I can do in less than a day, but the intricacy of the roses really ate up some time. I worked on this project for about four days total (including drying time), and I will sell it for about 2-3 times what I paid for it. Which is probably still in line with, or even less than, what someone would have to pay if they found something like this online. Projects like this are really only economically feasible if I can buy the base item at a substantial discount. Unfortunately, that means that most of my up-cycled projects are one-offs, because I find the base items at discount closeout stores, and I won't be able to find more of them at the price I need.


  1. Looks great!
    I did a great deal of upcycling, too in the past. Mostly leather though, never furniture.
    It's very satisfying to give something new meaning by modifying it :-)

  2. I do a lot of furniture pieces, and house-wares. Especially things that can be used as ritual tools. I don't recall how long this post was in the queue, maybe something like six weeks (I have been keeping about 5 posts ahead and releasing on an aprox. 10 day cycle in order to keep my posting schedule more consistent), but I find it funny that it has sat in the store all this time, and within three days of going live, the item sold. And I don't think it is likely that any of the few readers here are local to me.

    In case anyone is interested in the economics of up-cycling items like this, I purchased the table for $20, spent at least 4 hours in labor on it (probably closer to 6), and sold it for $65. This one took longer than most. More typically, my base price would be $20, I would spend 1-2 hours in labor, and resell for about $45. Obviously, the lower my base price, the better my profit.