Upcycling ideas are on trend in the DIY space. This involves taking any ol’ item and re-using it so that it functions with a different purpose. Practically anything can be upcycled. Not only is it an environmentally-conscious activity but also is practical, fun, and inexpensive, too.
So, why not get a little creative and help yourself and the environment? Here are 14 upcycling ideas for regular household items. Get the family involved so you can all be environmentally-friendly together!
1. Plastic Bottles
Plastic bottles are one of the worst offenses in terms of litter. From water to fizzy drinks, plastic bottles are a cheap way to package our favorite beverages. However, they cannot be reused more than a few times after refilling with new beverages, as the plastic begins to leach toxins into the liquid it holds. So in order to get the most out of plastic bottles, without tossing them in the trash, is to find a new life for them! Here’s an idea: dip the bottle of various shaped plastic bottles into paint and imprint it on a blank piece of paper, creating a flower figure. This is a great activity to do with kids – they get to paint and learn about upcycling all at once!
2. Wine Bottles
There are so many creative and beautiful things you can create out of used wine bottles. Instead of putting wine bottles into the recycling bin after a boozy evening, save them in order to create decorative vases. Use a paintbrush or spray paint to decorate the vases, fill each with water and then stick a few long-stem flowers into neck.
3. Tennis Balls
Tennis balls can fall flat after repeated use, but that doesn’t mean they are no longer any good. Cut a 3-inch long slit parallel and about 1-inch up from the white line on the ball. Adhere the opposite side of the ball to the bathroom wall. Now, push the top of a towel into the slit and watch it hang gracefully and securely from the tennis ball.
4. Ketchup Bottles
When you’re out of ketchup, wash and rinse the bottle and then use it as a dispenser for pancake batter. Ketchup bottles also safely store unused batter for a later use.
5. Old Doors
If you’ve replaced your doors or have old ones hanging around somewhere in the shed or attic, don’t just let them rot in loneliness. Instead, get use out of them. Transform an old door into a table top. Doors are flat, sturdy and rustic-looking. All you have to do is install legs and you’ve got yourself a unique piece of furniture.
6. Mason Jars
If you are anything like me, you have more mason jars than you think to use. Now they can be transformed into beautiful lights. It’s so easy to do, even kids can accomplish it on their own.
7. Egg Cartons
Egg cartons make for great storage containers for small, easy-to-lose, easy-to-tangle jewelry. Separate necklaces, earrings and other pieces of jewelry from each other by reserving each shell for its own piece.
8. Toilet Paper Rolls
Finally, a way to store cables! From your phone to your computer to your mp3 player and beyond, it’s hard to keep track of all the cables and cords. To remedy this, simply take a shoebox and take a collection of paper roll center cartons and stand them upright, side by side. Make sure you have enough so that you fill the entire box. Next, roll up your cables individually and slide them into the rolls.
9. CD Holders
Not sure how to pack that bagel sandwich to work or school? Place it in one of those old-school CD holders. It’s not like you’re using CDs these days, anyway.
10. Picture Frames
Picture frames make for great serving trays for when company comes over. Whether the frame contains a picture, painting or nothing at all, the frame makes for a useful (and hopefully well-adorned) alternative to a plain old tray you’d otherwise use to serve food or beverages.
11. Kleenex Boxes
Reuse Kleenex boxes much in the same way they were used when first bought – as a dispenser. Store extra plastic bags in the box and pull a bag out every time you need one.
12. Bulletin Boards
Place a bulletin board on the wall near the main door of your house or apartment and use it to hang keys and chains.
This may seem far-fetched, but it’s a great idea for those into alternative designs: use an old bicycle as a base to bathroom sink! Install a flat board on top of the bike and then place the sink above that. You’ll need help from a professional to install it properly and to make sure that it is sturdy, but it’s most certainly possible and looks charming once finished.
14. Mini Fridge
An out-of-service mini fridge operates as an excellent storage cabinet. Just be sure that if the fridge still works, that it is not turned on when being used as storage, else your belongings will go frigid.
Related on EcoSalon
5 Awesome DIY Projects to Upcycle Bras
Our 5 Favorite Upcycled Fashion Designers from the US
Creative Ways to Upcycle Before You Recycle
Hydrangeas in bottles image via Shutterstock