Hate to throw things away? I’ve got good news! Thanks to upcycling, you can turn your trash into treasure. Like recycling, upcycling helps the circle of life by reusing old materials — but with a lick of paint and a sprinkle of creativity, your woebegone artifact can enjoy a second coming as something far more chic.
The Internet is rife with ideas for upcycling projects: there’s even a magazine for it. We all know that recycling reduces carbon emissions, air pollution, and water pollution. By heading to the junkyard instead of IKEA, you’re helping the environment. But turning trash into treasure isn’t just helping the planet — it’s a fantastic way to make your home unique. Check out some of these ideas to help your kickstart your foray into the fun world of upcycling!
You Can Turn An Old Door Into A Bar
What a great idea! Salvage yards are usually stuffed with old doors — and some of them are really beautiful antiques! Next time you see a door lying around, think about turning it into a cool little bar.
Or A Grand Photo Frame
Or A Chalkboard
Change Your Frame Of Mind
Joanna Gaines, from HGTV’s Fixer Upper, is the fairy godmother of upcycling. The next time you see an ornate frame lying by the wayside, think twice before you leave it in your rearview mirror. Paint a gaudy frame, and transform your walls. Want to double down on your commitment to saving the environment?
Plant some of your favorite kitchen herbs in an old tin can (instructions here), mount it to the wall, add the frame and voila! Now you’ve recycled tin cans and an old frame — and made your home a little more sustainable! Paint your tin can to match the frame for added appeal.
One For The Books
If you’re a book lover like myself, the idea of destroying a book may initially seem sacrilegious! But every year, thousands of books go into landfills. It’s pretty grim, especially considering all of that paper could at the very least be recycled! Converting old books into novel items of home decor is another great way to give an old book a second chance. Try this tutorial from Apartment Therapyon how to turn vintage books into succulent planters!
Through The Looking Glass
Glass bottles can last thousands of years inside a landfill. Why not turn your glass bottles or jars into mini galaxies? Nebula jars are a great activity for kids, too. Find an instructable on YouTube!
Plastic bags are a huge, huge issue for landfills. Burning them results in toxic air pollution, and when they’re buried, they take thousands of years to decompose. Instead, you can check out this tutorial on how to turn your plastic bags into useful trashcans.
Want some unique wall decor? Try soda can butterflies. You don’t have to stick to the original can design (although it’s pretty cool too) — use permanent markers to create nifty patterns, or use matte spray paint to give them a unique finish. Liquitex (available at Michael’s) has a dizzying array of colors to go with any room.
Unfortunately, old tires are often burned. This is an environmental catastrophe for a multitude of reasons. A burning tire releases more toxins than nearly anything else. It’s especially bad for children. If they happen to inhale polluted air, small parts of tire residue can lodge in their lungs and cause life-threatening damage. If you have a couple of spare tires collecting dirt on your property, give them a kid-friendly makeover!
Yep — these are all tires! They don’t look so nasty and industrial now, huh? Tires make pretty amazing teacup planters, and you can also turn them into other fun items of garden decor. Like these swans:
Even light bulbs can be repurposed into cute garden accessories.
And Don’t Forget Goodwill
If you want to witness Goodwill furniture miracles, check out the Bower Power blog. This young family from Georgia has an amazing ability to transform unsightly furniture into epic focal points for every room.
Upcycling is a great way to give your home a unique finish. It’s also kind to the environment — and your wallet! Which project are you going to try first?