If you’ve never heard of upcycling, you’re in for a treat. Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. Not only is it an eco-friendly concept that can easily be applied at home, it’s positively addicting! With a bit of time and creativity, the possibilities are endless.
As fun as upcycling or repurposing can be, the idea of creating something useful out of something you’d planned to throw out can be a little daunting. In order to get you started I wanted to share some of my favorite upcycling ideas with you!
- Mason Jar Snow Globe – Grab an empty food jar, some toys and some glitter and glycerine from your local craft store. Glue your toys to the lid, add glitter and a few drops of glycerine to your water filled mason jar, and then just screw on the top! If you’re looking for some additional inspiration, head over to Ucreate for an awesome tutorial.
- Denim bag – Everyone has a pair of old jeans around the house. Instead of letting them take up precious space in your closet, put them to good use as a new purse or bag. Take a pair and cut across just above the leg openings and then sew together the opening where you made your cut. Take a big, wide ribbon and lace it threw the belt loops, tying a bow where the button is. Next, use the legs you cut off to create a handle or longer, cross-body strap. Sew the strap to the inside of the purse and you have yourself a brand new jean purse or beach bag, complete with lots of pockets for compartmentalization.
- Popsicle Stick Frame – This one’s a classic! I remember making these with my Mom when I was a kid. Old popsicle sticks can be used for a variety of different craft projects, but frames are super easy. To make a frame all you need is piece of cardboard and some popsicle sticks. As easy as it is, this one is kind of hard to explain but this YouTube video does a perfect job!
- Cardboard Castle – Put those empty appliance boxes to good use by creating a cardboard castle for your little prince and princesses. Using whatever boxes you may have laying around, remove one side to open up the roof, cut holes for a window and a door and then let your kids go to town. Children don’t discriminate; to them a cardboard castle is just as cool as the real thing. There is no wrong way to do this just have and fun and be creative.
- Ketchup Bottle Pancakes – Create perfect pancakes every time by keeping an empty ketchup bottle on hand for pancake days. Instead of using a ladle, mix your batter in an empty ketchup bottle and then just squeeze out flawless circles.
- Mason Jar Hanging Tea Light Holder – Take an old mason jar, a tea light and some metal wire or an old wire hanger. Place the tea light in the jar and then wrap the wire around the neck of the bottle and tie up outside. These quaint little candle holders are the perfect addition to an outdoor summer BBQ.
- Pop Bottle Herb Container – This one is really simple. First cut an empty pop bottle in half, recycling the top portion that you’re not going to use. Fill the lower half with soil and plant your seed! This is a great idea for herbs you use on the daily, like basil or peppermint.
- Brown Bag Book Covers – This is a great one for the kids as schools will often require them to cover their text-books so as not to increase wear. Take a brown grocery bag, cut it in half and then lay it out flat on a flat surface. Place the book open on top of the brown bag. Fold the brown bag around each end of the cover, just like if you were wrapping a gift. Make sure there is ample room to close the room and you’re good to go!
- Broken Crayons Recycled Into Crayon Shapes – Most households with children are filled with broken bits and pieces of old crayons. Instead of tossing them out, place the crayons (separated by color) in a muffin tin and bake at 300 for around 15 minute. Pop the final product out just like you would ice cubes, for new and improved crayons! If you have muffin tins in cool shapes, those are even more fun! These heart-shaped crayons from The Green Girls are beautiful!
- Muffin Tin Jewellery Organizer - Although muffin tins can put up with a ton of use, most of them eventually need to be retired. Give them a new lease on life by using them to organize things like your jewelery, office supplies, keys, etc! Best of all, the’re the perfect size to hid away in a drawer.
Now that you have seen some upcycling ideas, take some time and look around you house and see what you can come up with. Be creative and use your imagination and remember the most important thing to do is to have fun and stay green. Happy upcycling!
Jessica is a Community Coordinator at PartSelect online resource for the do-it-yourselfer and distributor of appliance parts. She blogs about anything and everything related to DIY, green living and home repair.