Looking for a fun project this spring? Why not try upcycling? It’s a satisfying way to learn new skills, get creative and repurpose old items around the home.
What is upcycling?
Simply put, upcycling is taking old stuff and giving it a new lease of life. It’s gaining popularity as people turn to reusing existing items instead of buying new because doing so is both good for the planet and saves money. It’s also a wonderful way to produce unique pieces for your home – the nature of upcycling means that whatever you create is a one-off piece. And social media means everyone can share ideas and projects, adding to its popularity.
Finally, it is a great activity to do with kids. They can take pride in their work and, if it doesn’t come out as well as expected, it can be chalked up as a learning experience.
How to upcycle
Upcycling can be as much or as little work as you want. Some people enjoy spending hours searching through op shops and junk shops, or keeping an eye out for discarded items on front verges. For many, the hunt is part of the fun.
You can also search the digital world. Join some Facebook groups, search on Gumtree, or find a local Buy Nothing Group. All these sources will be rich with bits and pieces you can upcycle.
Otherwise, you can look around the house for stuff that you don’t use anymore. There are few homeowners who don’t have bits and pieces lying around in the shed or down the side of the house. See what you can find and have fun.
Upcycling can be as simple or as complicated as you like it – you are limited only by your imagination and creativity. You can upcycle small items like cans, jars and clothing, upcycle furniture or work on items around the garden.
To help kickstart your creativity, here are some upcycling projects for beginners:
- Create a patchwork quilt: Patchwork quilts are a classic example of upcycling. Well before it had a name, people were stitching scrap material together to create quilts. Finding offcuts and pieces of usable fabric is as easy as heading to an op shop, asking at a haberdashers, or going through your drawers and linen cupboard. You can also find plenty of handy guides online like this one from the Ecologist.
- Make a candle or a lantern: Teacups can be easily transformed into pretty candles for some ‘cottage core’ flare. You can fill mason jars with battery-powered fairy lights to make stunning lanterns or pour in some coloured water and float a tea candle or two.
- Liven up old furniture: Dusty old furniture that you find on the verge or in an op shop can easily get a new lease on life. You can upcycle furniture with just a few coats of paint after sanding it down, turning a shabby old piece into a contemporary work of art. Dressers, coffee tables, dining tables and chairs can all be upcycled.
- Wallpaper with old books: Pages from old books, magazines, or newspapers can create a unique feature wall or add character to a room. House Nerd provides an easy run down on creating cool wallpaper for some literary flair.
- Repurpose old window frames: Old window frames are surprisingly easy to come by. They are often found at junk shops or during verge week. If you have an older house you may even have some lying around at your property. If you are replacing your widows, make sure to keep the old ones. The Big Happy House has forty different ideas to put old window frames to use. They include making clothes racks, window cabinets, and coffee tables.
These are just a few simple ideas to get into upcycling. Spend a little time googling or let your imagination flow. And don’t forget to tag us when you share your creation on social media.
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