An A to Z guide of up-cycling lingo

We all love a good google...

Especially when it comes to looking up a new term a fellow artisan has used when explaining the process of their work.

We are here to make it easier with our A-Z lingo buster!


Annabell Duke

A UK based mineral paint brand.


A term for a item added to the design usually wooden i.e WooduBend.


A cover up to help protect your clothing from paint.


Belles and whistles

A transfer brand from Dixie bell made in the USA

Bleed through

When a shadow, stain or colouring is peeking through the paint as it dries. (normally happens with mahogany or poor prep- Best way to avoid this is to prime or use a stain blocker).

TIP- Don't get using an oil based paint or primer, then a water based paint it will react and bubble.

Bio strip

To remove old paint and stain with an ECO bio strip, the strip is brushed on to the area and as the strip begins to work (breaks down the compound of the paint) it becomes easier to remove with a scraper.


When you marry two different paint tones by using a moist brush to almost mix the two tones together.


(see rub on).


A UK based chalk brand with 30 colours plus lots more.


Chalk paint

A water based paint with the main compound of chalk, the chalk creates a matte effect. (a great DIY paint or for a chippy effect).


To take off all the grime, dirt and dust to give the surface a sand so you are not grinding the dirt into the wood.

Cling on!

A brand of paint brushes that are brilliant for painting furniture.


This is when the paint is hard, through all its layers.

TIP- Only mineral and eggshell is washable after the cure phase- Chalk needs a top coat.



When you apply a "paper" or other element by gluing it down and smoothing out then covering the art with glue or a water based top coat.

TIP- When decoupaging, use a strip of cling film to help smooth out any wrinkles.

Decore Weave

A new product coming from Hokus Pokus.

Distressed (shabby chic)

To sand back the paint where the natural wear and tear of a piece would take place i.e by door joints or on corners.

Dixie bell

USA paint brand that has chalk and silk all in one, available through UK stockists.

Dry brushing

Often confused with blending, This technique is designed to leave the brush marks and see two paint colours that contrast with a scratch effect.



One of the very first paints to be used in this capacity on furniture, the approach is off a silk to matte finish that is very hardwearing.


Elevate the piece when you are working on it so you can see all the nooks and crannies.


A compound you add to the paint to help it flow and help the paint extend it's usage per sq m.


Fleur paint

Italian brand of eggshell and chalk paint, along with chalk pens available in the UK via stockists.

Floetrol also see pouring medium

A substance to help make the paint flow better while applying it.

Frenchic paint

A UK based very popular brand of chalk and outdoor paint.

They also have a "lazy" range.

Frog tape

A tape used to gain crisp lines when painting or creating stripes.

Furniture movers

Can be a piece of board on wheels or four independent dolly's to help move the piece while working on it or transporting it.

Fusion mineral

A Canadian family run mineral paint brand, available though stockists here in the UK.


Gloss finish

A finish with a high shine that is hardwearing and waterproof.

Gorilla glue

A extremely strong glue ideal for most fixes.

Grit (see sandpaper)

The different numbers indicate a grit, the higher the number the finer the grit.



When a transfer has left a ring around the outline of the design.

TIP- gently run with a warm finger over the halo, the heat will help remove it.

Heat gun

A machine that can strip paint or stain off wood with extreme high heat.

Hokus Pokus

A South African furniture transfer company available through stockists here in the UK.


Interior design

The design process of bringing a room together, in a design sense, often using the furniture, accessories and other items.


Jam jars

Ideal to self mix paints to create your own blend.


Key sand

When roughing up the surface to open the top layer to allow the paint to grip.



See veneer.

Laying off

The technic of removing pesky brush stoke marks, by making long sweeping movements with a brush each passing will soften the marks.



A finish, to give a dull non gloss effect, does not give a reflection.


Medium density fibreboard (MDF) is a compound of hard and soft wood residues compressed into this "fake wood" normally mixed with a resin to help make it hard when applying pressure and high heat in the creating stage.

Methylated spirits

See white spirits.

Modge podge (also see PVA)

A brand of glue from the USA often confused an actual item, modge podge is the brand of glue used in decoupage.

Mulberry paper

A fabric like design from Redesign with Prima, that needs to be glued onto the piece.


Natural wood

Oak, beech, walnut, teak, mahogany, ebony, elm, pine, tiger wood all without a stain or paint.



A paint effect that blends colours from a dark hue to a light hue or visa versa.



Oil based- You must clean the tools with white spirits or a paint thinner/stripper.

TIP- Never use an oil based primer than a water based paint, they don't mix well.

Water based - Most paints including chalk, mineral and egg shell are water based. Clean up is easy, water and liquid soap to get all the paint residue out the bristles.

Painters tape See frog tape.


A colour that is almost insoluble in water (inorganic compounds).


A water based top coat sealer that is non yellowing.


Is the oil based partner to polycrylic, However may yellow if outside.

Not recommended to be used on whites or light colours.

Pouring medium also see floetrol

A liquid compound you can add to paint to help it flow better

(Also see extender)

Posh chalk

Pigments and raised stencil pastes.


Preparing a piece for "Upcycling" Clean, sand and then clean again.


An "undercoat" for dark surfaces to gain the right adhesion for the paint also help block stains and knots on pine wood.


Polyvinyl acetate, Ideal for decoupage and for porous surfaces.


Queen Anne leg

Actually a Cabriole leg often referred to as the "Queen Anne" leg was made popular by French cabinet makers André-Charles Boulle and the Rococo style from the French court of Louis XV.


Raised stencil

Add plaster of Paris or a mixed medium over a stencil to create a raised effect.

You can purchase this coloured and metallic now - See posh chalk.

Redesign with prima

A USA brand of furniture transfers with mulberry paper along with stamps and stencils.


Microfibre- a cloth roller, Ideal for paint to gain a non brush mark effect

Foam- a foam roller, Ideal for top coats or gluing

TIP- To take off pesky loose fibres on the rollers wrap the roller with painters tape and then pull off (before first use)

Rub on

To apply even pressure when applying a furniture transfer.



A paint finish that has a mild sheen to it.


A paper with a grit, Ideal for removing paint or stain and keying the surface in the prep stage.

Shabby chic

A chippy, warn or lived-in look to the paint.


An online courier network for moving your furniture or belongings.


Resin based liquid which is poured or rolled onto a piece, Can also be used as a stain blocker.


To add items to enhance the look of a piece for a photo


Very similar to satin, silk has a slight polished effect to it once cured.


A paint sprayer used to gain a more professional finish. Paint needs to be watered down to go through the sprayer.


A liquid (normally) for dying wood a different hue to tone all together.

Stain blocker

A liquid to prevent stains- see bleed through and undercoat.

Sugar soap

A yellow liquid ideal to clean grime off a piece ready to sand and paint.

Synthetic bristles

A brush with synthetic filaments, recommended when using water based paint.

(See cling on! and Zibra)


Top coat

The final coat over the paint, normally varnish or wax especially ideal for high traffic pieces like dinning tables.


A printed design that is self adhesive that needs to be rubbed onto the piece then sealed in.

See Hokus Pokus or Redesign with prima.


A cleaner for removing grease and grime.

See sugar soap.



Also known as a primer, ideal for a surface that already has paint on it or when you need to stop a dark colour showing through.



A transparent liquid that is a hardwearing coating.


Thin top wood under a pressed wood, especially found in utility furniture and post war furniture.


Wet sand

Using a specific sanding paper or block to be used wet, this style is brilliant for chalk paint to remove the brush marks.

White wash

Paint effect, a watered down paint normally white.

It creates a semi opaque effect with the brush marks to it.

Wood filler

A compound to fill holes and and large deep scratches, this compounds dries hard and can be painted, sanded and drilled if needed.


Bendable appliqués for furniture design.




When a top coat or paint (normally white) has cured but with a yellow hint to it!


Zibra brushes

A brush brand from the USA with a patented style of bristle and handle.

We hope this A-Z of up-cycling lingo helped you!

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