ByKimberly Button

Aug 17, 2015
upcycling —> chandelier

Trash happens. Trends go out of style, household items break, or you get gifts that you don’t want. At some point, you will be standing over a trash can with something that you know should be valuable in your hand, yet you just don’t want it anymore. What to do? Start upcycling.

Here are some awesome upcycling ideas that will have you saying, “Wow! I can make that?!?” All it takes it something that you would have once considered trash, some creativity, and maybe a couple craft supplies.

Old pillowcases quickly and easily become garment bags with just a snip or two of the scissors. Use old or mismatched pillowcases to cover and protect clothing, bedding, heirloom quilts and formal wear that you have stashed in the closet gathering dust.

Christmas lanterns
Image courtesy of kidspot.

The next decor for your party might be hiding in your bathroom. This amazing tutorial shows how to turn toilet paper rolls into sparkly lanterns ideal for hanging from the ceiling or a chandelier.

A snooze-worthy clock gets a stylish and colorful makeover with the simple (and free!) addition of paint chips. Hide those imperfections or 1980s design by gluing on vibrant paint chips cut and pasted to create a colorful timepiece.

An old t-shirt becomes an eco-friendly market bag with this great tutorial from Martha Stewart.

Got one mismatched washcloth that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the items in your towel closet? Before it’s destined to become a rag, turn it into a toiletries travel kit. The best part is that it’s definitely washable, so your travel gear can be sanitized after a vacation.

Sure, newspapers and magazines can easily be thrown into the recycling bin, but why not use those materials to make some stylish accessories for the home? Newspaper, book pages and any other scrap paper can be cut and rolled to create flowers that will never fade.

Glass bottles become serving glasses with this tutorial on how to turn a beverage bottle into a piece of dishware. Ideal for using at a cocktail party, they’re also fun glasses for your orange juice, too.

Baby lotion bottles can be cleaned and cut to create handy mobile phone charging stations.

Holder for Charging Cell Phone (made from lotion bottle)
Image courtesy of Make It – Love It.

Broken crayon bits still have a lot of creativity left, but little hands can’t hold them. Upcycle those tiny bits of color into unique chunky crayons made with a variety of hues with this easy tutorial.

An old metal rake becomes a rustic chic wine glass holder by cutting the handle to be shorter and mounting it upside down on the wall. Hang bar glasses in between the rakes’ tines.

Turn an old ladder on its side and mount from the wall for a wooden shelf perfect for displaying books and mementos.

Globes can be repurposed from office decor to unique serving pieces with just one cut of a saw. Cut a globe in half and create a conversation piece bowl that can be displayed on a pillar. Fill with pinecones, vacation memories or even bottles of beverages at a party.

Have other ideas?  Share your comments below!

Feature image courtesy of Dianne Yee

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit for more information.