Using a Cricut Maker for a Quick Upcycle of a Magazine Rack

Recently, I was asked by Cricut UK if I had any small DIY projects I wanted to do and I immediately thought about a magazine rack I bought back in 2015.

After having my second child, I knew I really didn’t want to go back to work full-time, so I had a brainwave to start upcycling furniture and selling it.

At this point, I was a huge fan of Pinterest and on it all the time (before I found Instagram – the time thief) and I loved seeing how people were making a living by combining two of my favorite things. Finding great bits of furniture in charity shops and painting them!

This unloved magazine rack has been in our living room for 6 years, with a sanded top and not much else

I wanted to start small, so I bought an old mahogany magazine rack from a charity shop for £5 and started to sand it down. And that’s about as far as I got. It has sat next to our sofa now for nearly 6 years, unloved and unfinished.

I realized that even though I loved upcycling and loved coming up with ideas for it, my attention to detail was not very good and my finish was even worse. I don’t mind doing it for myself, but I just couldn’t be bothered spending too much time on it to create a masterpiece for other people!

So, this is where my dreams of becoming a professional upcycler ended

However, I have done quite a few upcycles now including a Welsh dresser, a glass cabinet and a chest of drawers, so thought it was finally time to update that magazine rack!

My previous upcycle attempts have included a welsh dresser, link to blog post here
And my Sons geometric chest of drawers. Link to my Sons bedroom revamp here.

My original idea was to paint it all one color and then potentially glue some tiles to the top like I had done with an IKEA table hack. I just couldn’t decide on the color and trying to find tiles that fitted the magazine rack without having to cut was proving problematic.

One of the first quick little IKEA hacks I did. I painted a table grey and stuck tiles to the top.

And this is where Cricut came in!

I’ve had a Cricut maker now for around 18 months and have used it to create tote bags, coasters, prints, and cards, so I decided to have a go at making a stencil and using this to paint a tile effect pattern onto the top of the table.

What You Will Need

  • Magazine rack!
  • Sandpaper
  • Sugar soap
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Small Paint roller
  • Small art sponge
  • Cricut maker
  • Cricut vinyl
  • Cricut weeder and scraper
  • Clear varnish


Firstly, I prepared the magazine rack by giving it a light sanding all over to make sure it was smooth and ready to be painted. Once I was happy that it was smooth, I sprayed the furniture with sugar soap to give it a thorough clean, ready to be painted.

Getting ready to sand down
The magazine rack has been lightly sanded all over and cleaned with sugar soap

Next, I made my stencil using the Cricut Design Space. Cricut has over 100,000 images that you can use to make anything from stencils to iron-on patterns for clothes.

I went to the images tab in Cricut Design Space and typed in “tile” and it showed me 1000s of images I could choose. Settling on one, I then got my Cricut Maker to print the stencil onto my vinyl and used the weeder to take out the negative part of the pattern.

My Cricut Maker
Choosing my pattern in the Cricut Design Space
The Cricut Maker than cuts out the stencil in the vinyl
Using a Cricut Weeder to take out the negative part of the stencil.

Painting the Magazine Rack

Placing the rack onto an old sheet, I set about painting it with a small roller. I went with Farrow & Ball Sulking Room Pink for the all-over color and Dulux Tissue Paper for the top of the rack to provide a base for the stencil.

I had to apply two coats of each to give it an even coverage and it took me about 2 hours.

The first coat going on
Painting the top
Waiting for the two coats to dry

Applying the Cricut stencil

Once the Tissue Paper paint had dried, I then put the Cricut vinyl stencil directly in the middle of the magazine rack so the pattern would be symmetrical.

I applied the Cricut stencil directly onto the top of the magazine rack

It is always best to use a sponge or very small roller with an extremely thin layer of paint when using a stencil as it stops the paint from bleeding underneath it.

As the stencil had a very intricate pattern, I used a very small art sponge to lightly dab the paint onto the magazine rack. I used Farrow & Ball Sulking Room Pink and Zoffany Serpentine to create the tile pattern.

The first pattern done using a small art sponge.

Don’t let the paint completely dry before taking off the stencil as this risks peeling the paint away with it. Let the paint settle a little first then gently lift the stencil once you are happy with the result. As I was painting a tile effect pattern, I wanted the paint to be a little uneven to give it a glazed look.


I then repeated this process until the top of the magazine rack was covered and let it dry. Once it was completely dry, I used a clear varnish on top to seal the paint and stop it smudging.

The finished pattern. Leaving it to dry for an hour or so…
From above
So pleased with the result!

And that is all there is to it! It took me about 3 hours to complete and I can’t believe I left it so long to upcycle. It’s quite an eye-catching piece of furniture now and I always get lovely comments about it. 

What a difference a lick of paint makes!
Complete with peonies
Looking good next to my sofa
And matches the colors in this room perfectly!
What mahogany magazine rack? 🙂

Now, what can I stencil next? 🙂

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