Repurposing or upcycling your clutter can be a satisfying way to get creative, save money, and breathe new life into items that you no longer use.
Next time you go to throw out a tin can or you’re wondering what to do with all the old cake tins you no longer need, it’s worth considering whether they could be used for something else. You might be surprised at what you come up with.
Methods of upcycling are becoming increasingly innovative and stylish, and are a great way to be kind to the planet. To help you get started, here are 16 clever upcycling ideas that’ll hopefully inspire you to get creative with your clutter…
1. Turn old jeans into a work apron
If you’ve got an old pair of jeans that you no longer wear, you could turn them into a handy work apron. All you need is a pair of old jeans, some scissors and a needle and thread.
2. Make a pendant lamp out of wooden sticks
Your choice of lighting and lampshades can make a big difference to your living space and add a touch of elegance to a room.
If you fancy getting creative whilst saving some money at the same time, why not give this DIY pendant lamp a go? You might be surprised at how something that’s so easy to make can look so stylish.
3. Turn an old stuffed toy into a doorstop
If your grandchildren (or you for that matter!) have stuffed toys that are no longer wanted or needed, why not transform one into a doorstop?
All you have to do is make a needle cut in the fabric, pull out the stuffing, fill it with something heavy like gravel or sand to make it heavy, and then sew it back up.
4. Turn an old cable reel into a coffee table
This cute table will not only give you somewhere to enjoy your cake and coffee, but offer a place to display and organise your books and plants in an interesting way too. An added bonus is that it spins.
5. Turn an old sheet or duvet cover into a new rug
We all update our bedding from time to time, and the old stuff often gets repurposed as dust sheets or cleaning rags. While this is still a great way to recycle your old bedding, for something a bit different, you could try making a new rug.
The video below will show you how to make an Amish knot rag rug out of an old duvet cover or sheet.
6. Turn an old window into a piece of wall art
If you’ve recently had an old window replaced – or still happen to have one lying around from when you did – why not give it a new lease of life by turning it into a piece of unique wall art?
The video below will show you how to use wax paste and chalk-type paint to create a beautiful feature piece for your home.
7. Turn cake tins into a tiered organiser
If you’ve got too many cake tins or yours are simply a bit worn out, they can easily be repurposed and used as a handy organiser.
Whether you want to organise your cosmetics, herbs and spices, or random bits and bobs – your old cake tins could be the ultimate storage solution.
8. Give old wooden furniture a makeover
If you’ve got old wooden furniture that’s looking a little tired or no longer matches your colour scheme, why not give it a makeover? Not only can this be much cheaper than buying new furniture, but it can be rewarding too.
It’s really quite amazing how with a fresh coat of paint, some varnish, and/or a new set of handles, something like a dresser, chest of drawers, or wardrobe can look brand new.
The video below, where someone has taken an old broken Welsh dresser and given it a much more modern, fresh look, is a great example of this.
9. Turn tin cans into pretty pots
If you’ve got green fingers and you’re keen to save money on plant pots, old tin cans could make excellent upcycling projects.
In a few simple steps, empty tins can become pretty pots for your leafy companions.
Consider hanging them in an arrangement on a wall or garden fence, using them as a table centrepiece, or even giving them as gifts to friends or family members.
10. Turn an old stool into a gift wrap caddy
Are you fed up with rolls of gift wrap becoming squashed, bent, or unravelled in storage?
Find out how you can convert an old stool into a gift wrap caddy to keep them organised in just a few easy steps.
11. Create your own blackboard
If you’ve got an old piece of wood knocking around that you no longer need, why not create your own blackboard, where you can keep track of daily tasks and reminders?
All you need is some chalkboard paint*, a brush, and eventually some chalk*. If you don’t have a piece of wood to spare, you can still create a blackboard on a wall in your home using just the paint. The video below will show you how to do this.
12. Turn old newspapers into a wall decoration
Old newspapers have many uses, but have you ever thought about turning them into a pretty wall hanging to inject a bit of life into your living space?
The video below will show you how to roll newspaper pages into thin tubes to create a piece of homemade wall art that you can be proud of.
13. Turn bricks into planters
Plenty of us have a rogue brick or two lying around in the garden. If they’re sitting there unused, you could consider using them as planters for your greenery. Simply scoop some soil into the brick holes and add in a few small succulents.
Succulents typically have shallow roots which means they should still be able to thrive in their new home, even though the holes are fairly small.
Have a look at the video below, which will show you how to propragrate and plant succulents in bricks.
14. Make your own lap tray out of old bits and bobs
A lap tray can make eating on the sofa a much more relaxed (and less messy) experience. It can also be used to place your laptop on when you’re not sitting behind a desk.
You can use things that you’re likely to have lying around the house to make a DIY lap tray of your own. All you need is an old pillow, a pillowcase or piece of fabric, a large rectangular photo frame, and an image that you like to go in it.
The video below will show you what to do next.
15. Turn your perfume or aftershave bottles into unique ornaments
Perfume and aftershave are expensive and the bottles are often quite interesting or pretty. So, it can be a shame to get rid of them when the contents run out.
If you find yourself hanging onto your perfume or aftershave bottles for this reason and would like to find a proper use for them, why not turn them into ornaments?
Acrylic paint works well on glass bottles and can transform your empty Chanel. No 5 into something quite unique and beautiful.
16. Make coasters out of wine corks
Rather than throwing your wine corks away, consider holding onto them and making some decorative coasters for your coffee table. All you need is some strong glue and a little creativity.
We hope these upcycling ideas have given you some creative inspiration to spruce up your living space whilst saving some money in the process.
You’ll also find plenty of other ways to get creative over on Rest Less Events. The arts and crafts calendar has everything from crochet to home drawing.
What are some of your favourite upcycling projects? Will you be trying any of the ideas on our list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.