Upcycling Is Hip | 5 Innovative Ways To Recycle Items Around Your House

UPCYCLING IS HIP

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.

 

UPCYLING IS HIP

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

  • CLOTHING
  • HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
  • GARDEN TOOLS
  • FURNITURE
  • CARTONS & CONTAINERS

1- Upcycling Clothing

Oh boy, there are so many ways to upcycle clothing. You can reuse the fabric, buttons, zippers, and trim from a lot of clothing items. Here are some fun examples of how I used different things to make this cross-body bag.

upcycling sweaters

SWEATERS

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.

Be sure to check out my post on how to felt and store upcycled wool sweaters. I also have some YouTube videos showing you how to make a lot of these projects.

Upcycled denim quilt - youmakeitsimple.com

JEANS

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.

sewing tips upcycling t shirts

T-SHIRTS

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.

Read this post for some great tips on upcycling t-shirts.

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.

 

MASON JARS

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.

 

GLASS CONTAINERS

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.

CABINETS

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!

WICKER BASKET/DRAWER

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.

Get the instructions here.

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).

Get the whole scoop and detailed instructions here.

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. 

HERE’S ANOTHER POST YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

Upcycling Love | Thrift Store & Consignment Shopping Tips

 

Happy upcycling!

 

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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DIY Earphone Holder – It’s A Snap

I’m sure you know the scenario, of tangled earphone cords, right? Well, have I got the perfect solution for you. A DIY earphone cord holder made from upcycled materials, of course. It really is a SNAP! (pun intended).

Here is a SIMPLE, quick method for keeping your earphone cords organized and TANGLE FREE!. The great thing about this little project is there is no sewing involved and they take only minutes to make. The key INGREDIENT in this project is a SNAP.

The new craft gadget that I am totally in love with is this KAM Snap System. I love the simplicity of it, the bright-colored plastic snaps that are available, and the efficiency of this tool. I have had a box full of mismatched snaps and a variety of snap application tools that just sit there because there are missing parts and so many different sizes of parts. It’s overwhelming.

I got this new system, (which is VERY reasonably priced), and pitched all the other stuff. AHHHHHHH, that felt good. Now I have just one snap applicator and a bunch of cute happy colored snaps.

You can make these earphone cord holders using a few different materials, but the ones I found most durable and effective are upcycled yoga mats and upcycled wool sweater fabric. A thick, dense, good quality wool felt piece will work as well.

There are two different styles of holders: Rectangle shape and heart shape. 

Find out more about HOW TO FELT A WOOL SWEATER here.

EARPHONE CORD HOLDER MATERIALS & SUPPLIES

  • Free PDF Pattern (heart and rectangle style available)
  • Yoga Mat Scrap (Cut 3.5 inches x 1.25 inches) (8.5 x 3 cm)
  • Scissors
  • Snaps (Kam snap system) optional
  • Other snaps will work as well.
  • Snap Applicator
  • Awl

INSTRUCTIONS

CUTTING OUT: Using the pattern, cut out one piece. HEART DESIGN, fold the fabric in half and place the pattern on the fold where indicated.

If using a yoga mat, you’ll need to trim the mat using little snips to get a rounded edge.

SNAP APPLICATION: Follow the directions that come with your applicator.

Fold the fabric in half and line up edges. Using the awl, poke a hole through both layers where indicated on the pattern. (Wiggle the awl around a bit while inside to make the hole visible and easy to find).

SNAPS: You’ll need

  • 2 pieces that look like tacks (snap back piece)
  • 1 male snap
  • 1 female snap

Open the fabric up and poke the snap back piece through the hole. Apply either the male or female snap on top of that. (Look for the little ridges of the snap, that is the side that goes towards the fabric).

Grab the snap applicator and place the SNAP BACK onto the applicator tray. (This should match the size of your snaps). It should fit snuggly to the snap. You’ll know when it snaps in place.

Make sure the snap front is aligned in the applicator before SQUEEZING. Give it a tight squeeze to clamp the snaps together. Bam, that’s it!

Repeat the process for the other snap.

Wind up your earphone cord and place it inside the holder. Snap is place. You’re good to go!

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Play Video

TIP: If you use your earphones a lot during the day at work or on-the-go, you can slip the holder around a belt buckle on your pants. It will hold your earphones right there in place.

You’re going to love the simplicity of this thing. I hope it comes in handy for you as much as it has for me.

HERE are SOME OTHER POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN CHECKING OUT.

Carabiner Keychain Tutorial 

Coupon Organizer 

Have a fabulous day and remember to keep it simple!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More