For those of you who follow me know that I love Upcycling! For some reason, I get a thrill out of taking something that is no longer wanted and giving it a new life. In this tutorial, I show you 5 innovative ways to recycle items that you have around the house.
What Is Upcycling?
According to Wikipedia: Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value.
I use a lot of wool sweaters for my projects, but there are a lot of other ways to upcycle all kinds of items around the house.
5 Innovative Ways for Upcycling
- HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
- GARDEN TOOLS
- CARTONS & CONTAINERS
Although a lot of my projects use felted wool sweaters, there are a lot of other projects that you don’t need a wool sweater for. Here are a few examples: Hats, Mittens, Stuffed Animals, Slippers, Toys, and so much more. You can locate all my patterns for many of these projects HERE.
The fabric from a pair of jeans can come in handy for so many things: Quilts, purses, patching holes, and anything that you need to make that needs a little more durable fabric. I have a big bin of old jeans ready to make another denim quilt for my daughter. This is an easy beginner sewing project. You can read more about it HERE.
I have some projects coming up soon using upcycled jeans, so don’t throw those old jeans away. Here is a tutorial on how to easily cut up jeans for upcycling.
T-shirt fabric is one of my favorite ways of upcycling. The stretchy fabric makes it useful in so many ways. Here are some ways I have found to use it: shoelaces, face mask ties, crochet projects, t-shirt yarn, baby clothes, headbands, hats, and so much more.
2- Upcycling Household Items
This is another fun category with endless possibilities. Although I have only posted on a few ways to upcycle household items, I have a big list of things I want to share with you. So stay tuned. Here are a few things I have repurposed.
TIN CUP PENCIL/PAINTBRUSH HOLDER
I’m a sucker when it comes to old tin cups, buckets, and other unique containers. Look how cute and functional this tin cup ended up working out to hold my paintbrushes.
Oh, the random ways you can use a simple mason jar! We use mason jars in our home a ton. Not only for canning (which I don’t do much of anymore), but for storing all kinds of random things. Just add a lid and you’re good to go.
Without a lid, you can use them as a vase, pencil holder, drinking glasses. Seriously, we use the small jars as drinking glasses in my kitchen.
I’ll be posting some specific tutorials just for mason jars here shortly, so stay tuned.
You gotta love this round jar with a flap lid. I’m not sure exactly what this was used for before, but I found this at a tag sale and had to have it. I found the perfect use for it in my laundry room. It holds the bulk laundry soap in my laundry room. Check out my laundry room tour here.
3- Upcycling Garden Tools
Here are a few ideas of how I’ve upcycled some used garden tools.
GARDEN RAKE/NECKLACE BRACELET HANGER
My dad was a gardener and having a garden tool displayed in my home brings sweet memories of my dear pa. I found a fun way to use this old garden rake to hang my necklaces and bracelets. I have a few other old rakes waiting to be used.
You could hang all kinds of stuff from this rake mounted on the wall. Wouldn’t this be really cute in the kitchen/pantry to hang aprons!
GARDEN BUCKETS AND BARRELS
There is something about the look of old galvanized buckets and barrels that I love. I think they can add so much character and charm to your home.
Use them as containers for plants, flower arrangements, and other random items. I have used this quaint bucket many times for plants.
In the picture above, I brought my rosemary plant inside and placed it in this bucket. Not only did the rosemary plant look beautiful, but I also had fresh rosemary to use in my cooking.
4- Upcycling Furniture
It’s so fun to find an old piece of furniture and not only refinish it, but TO USE IT FOR ANOTHER PURPOSE THAN IT WAS MADE FOR.
For example, this cute cabinet that I painted orange and put in my bathroom used to be a television cabinet. My husband cut it down so it wasn’t so deep and put a new back on it. So cute!
This nightstand has a weird, deep shelf that was not functional and hard to use. So I found a square wicker basket and added a drawer knob. Now it functions as a useful drawer.
5- Upcycling Containers & Cartons
Many items that you buy come packaged in containers that can be repurposed and used in other ways. Here are a few examples.
UPCYCLED MILK CARTON SNACK/DRINK HOLDER
Here is a fun way to upcycle a milk carton spout. These little jars with a small screwable lid work really well to store all kinds of snacks (nuts, seeds, and even liquids).
SHOPPING BAG DISPENSER
Here is a way to upcycle two items: shopping bags and a tissue box. This is another quick and easy project that works like a charm to help keep those obnoxious grocery bags organized. Check out the tutorial here.
METAL BIKE BASKET
I turned this metal bike basket into a quaint and functional magazine holder for the bathroom. Simply apply a piece of felt to the bottom of the basket so it doesn’t scratch your floor.
There you have it, 5 ways to upcycle that are hip and unique.
Start looking around your house and at the thrift store for some fun items that you can upcycle.
I hope you found something inspiring and useful in this tutorial. Feel free to share some of your own ideas in the comments below.
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