Roots and Wings Teaches How to Upcycle Furniture

Local furniture painter and blogger Jenni Ingram shares her DIY methods on a popular YouTube channel.

Even at a young age, Jenni Ingram loved to get her hands dirty doing DIY projects. It started when her grandfather taught her the basics of woodworking — and her talent was evident from the beginning. In eighth grade, she won Shop Student of the Year.  

These days, Ingram is still getting her hands dirty with her two Pittsburgh-based companies: Pittsburgh Candle Works and Roots and Wings Furniture. The concept for the former is simple: scented candles — made by Ingram — with labels featuring artwork depicting different scenes from around the city, courtesy of a local artist. 

The latter, her first company, she started in 2013 as a stay-at-home mom.  

“I was home with three kids and I knew I wanted to do something that got me out of the grind of being a stay-at-home mom — like get me in front of adults a little bit — and so that’s why I started Roots and Wings,” she says. “I just needed something else to get my creative brain going.”

Roots and Wings specializes in upcycled furniture, including dressers and tables. Ingram has sold her furniture locally in shops and, thanks to Etsy, to clients across the country.

More recently, she has began scaling her business online by teaching furniture painting, DIY home improvement projects and home decorating via YouTube and her blog.

Since she started Root and Wings out of her garage in Wexford, she has gained more than 17,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, where she teaches her methods in a step-by-step process. Her most popular video to date was on color washing for furniture paint. It received more than 280,000 views and nearly 150 comments. 

“I really enjoy teaching people and I know people can learn so much better sometimes on video format,” Ingram says.

She adds she never imagined that she would be upcycling furniture for a living. 

“I went to school for engineering, so I did know I like the hands-on…but I wasn’t sure what that would look like or what that would be. So I got my degree in engineering thinking that somewhere along the line that would kind of work itself out,” she says. 

Ingram says she sees her enjoyment for hands-on work reflected in her three children, who often help with her projects.  

“They will all get involved in their own way. Like if I’m building something in the house, they will be involved,” she says. “They really, really like to paint walls and things, so if I’m painting a room, they really try and get involved with that. But I do let them help as much as my patience will allow.”

Categories: Nest