Easy things to upcycle

Easy things to upcycle

I’ve been hearing a lot about upcycling in recent months.  As someone who hates the thought of contributing unnecessarily to landfills, and also as someone who loves free things, the idea of repurposing stuff that I would otherwise be throwing out (or tossing in a recycle bin) appeals strongly to me.  Here are a few of my favorite upcycling maker projects, most of which are kid friendly.

paper mache tea cup

You can use that old newspaper to make paper mache, which is one of my favorite ways of making something.  Who doesn’t love the magic of turning flour into glue and then changing old newspaper into anything you can dream of?

– Make a pinata – I did this once in elementary school and it was *awesome*
– Make dinosaur hats, piggy banks, and other cool stuff


Plastic bags
plarn and pop tabs

You can cut plastic bags into strips, join them together, and then knit or crochet with them.  Cool, right?

Pop-tab plarn bracelets
– Cool plarn bag


Old CDs



You burn some files to CD, and then the CD gets scratched, or the files go out of date.  Why waste all the pretty shininess of the CDs?

– Melt the CD into a decorative bowl/lampshade
– Use CDs to brighten shady areas of your garden, stack a bunch of them up for a cool lamp, and other neat ideas


Old toothbrushes

Old toothbrush handles are not useless!

Make a toothbrush bracelet
Make a crochet hook to use on all that plarn you’re going to be making


lightbulb ornament

Sure, you can chuck it in the recycling bin, but some of these projects are just cool.

Turn lightbulbs into ornaments
Create faux stained glass vases/candle holders
Other cool glass projects


You can also make things with bubblewrap, tin cans, and bottle caps.  Anyone have a favorite recycling/upcycling project I didn’t include?  Hit the comments, or tweet it to @makerbridge.



Images in this post:

cobalt123. (2009). Disc Decoration, Red Heart [photo]. Retrieved 19 October, 2014 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/4102378031. CC-BY-NC-SA.

peregrine blue. (2012). ready for tea? [photo]. Retrieved 1 March, 2014 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/peregrineblue/7842227598/sizes/s/. CC-BY-NC.

pinprick. (2006). i actually had an uncle named narcissus, if you can believe it [photo]. Retrieved 1 March, 2014 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinprick/198405940/sizes/s/. CC-BY-NC-ND.

Pop Tab Lady. (2008). Plastic-bag Yarn and Pull Tab Tote [photo]. Retrieved 1 March, 2014 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/poptoplady/2503373912/sizes/s/. CC-BY-ND.

Romain, Robin. (2010). Make Art Not Trash [photo]. Retrieved 19 October, 2014 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/49677956@N00/4474054211. CC-BY-NC-SA.

Silly Eagle Books. (2010). snowman ornament [photo]. Retrieved 1 March, 2014 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/sillyeaglebooks/5192818396/sizes/s/. CC-BY-ND.

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