There’s a reason why arts & crafts is such a consistently popular activity, not only for kids but for people of all ages - it encourages creativity, inspires innovation, and is a wonderful way to both challenge your imagination and allow you to flex your hands-on skills. And now, with a little out-of-the-box thinking, you have the chance to make it good for the environment too!
Have you heard of the term “upcycling?” A step up from the traditional process of “recycling,” upcycling involves not only reusing old objects, but instilling them with new life by improving them beyond their original form. In other words, it means recreating something so that it’s not only usable again, but even better than before! This has huge benefits for the environment since it’s a win-win on both sides: it allows old belongings to be renewed and refreshed in a way that actively upgrades their quality, which helps build a circular economy that promotes sustainability and reduces pollution and waste.
The best thing about upcycling is that it’s incredibly easy for the average person to do. When combined with a little bit of imagination and DIY prowess, even your oldest and most worn belongings - like clothes you’ve long outgrown, or furniture you’ve used for years - can be revitalized into something new and exciting. After all, who doesn’t love home décor that’s self-made, eco-friendly, and supports building a sustainable future?
If you’re intrigued but fresh out of inspiration on what to create, worry not! Here are 5 easy and creative ways to upcycle your old belongings into beautiful new versions of themselves.
Transform Used Paper Into Weaving Projects
If your household is like any regular one, chances are you’ve got a ton of used paper piled up. Good news: whether it’s old newspapers, magazines, paper bags, or even pages of books that you don’t read anymore, they can be transformed into amazingly distinctive decorations through the simple process of weaving.
Want some cool wall art? Try cutting used paper into strips and coordinating colors before weaving them together, so you can make masterpieces that are both eco-friendly and strikingly unique. Simply cut lines into a sheet of paper and weave the strips throughout before cutting off the excess and securing each strip with some glue. Through this easy, foolproof method, you can make bookmarks, placemats, greeting cards, and even tote bags and baskets all out of used paper, so that you can put a unique touch on your home décor without sacrificing sustainability.
Turn Old Teacups Into Unique Candles
Candles are one of the best ways to instantly lend an aura of peace and comfort to your home environment. If you’ve got any leftover, mismatched teacups lying around that you can’t bear to throw away, considering turning them into candles! It may sound complicated, but it’s actually a surprisingly easy process that can grant you lovely results.
All you have to do is get your hands on some candle wax and candle wicks, which are easily found at your local craft store. Glue your wick securely to the bottom of the teacup, then heat up your wax until it melts, making sure to let it cool for a few minutes before pouring it in the cup. Once it hardens, you’ve got yourself a charming little candle that would make a great decoration. Hint: you can even use some simple dyes to color your wax to match your desired aesthetic!
Modify Your Old Suitcase Into a Table
Even if you don’t travel often, you probably have one or two used suitcases lying around that are too worn to take on vacations. Why not try repurposing them into an impressively unique table or nightstand? This DIY project isn’t only eye-catching, it also allows ample storage space in case you’d like a spot to stash some extra trinkets or valuables.
The process for this one is a bit trickier - you’ll need to get some table legs from old furniture, then attach them with screws to a solid base (preferably wood) that you’ll then secure to the bottom of the suitcase. This can be a bit daunting for beginner crafters, so here’s a guide to help you through each step. Once you’ve gotten your table, feel free to decorate it by painting the suitcase, covering it with fabric, or just leaving it as is for a more vintage touch.
Recreate Vintage Clothing Into Pillows and Stuffed Animals
When it comes to used clothing, there’s no better way to upcycle them than turning them into soft, adorable stuffed animals or cushy throw pillows. Just carefully cut scraps of fabric from your old favorite sweater or t-shirt and breathe new life into them with needle and thread! If you’re a beginner, throw pillows are the way to go - they don’t require any complicated patterns, and if you happen to have an old tote bag or two lying around, all you have to do is cut the straps off and sew one side shut.
If you’re up for a little more of a challenge, though, stuffed animals are the perfect way to turn old, worn fabric into lovable eco-friendly gifts. There are tons of free patterns available online for you to choose from, and you can even spice up your new toys with any leftover buttons, pom-poms, or sequins you have lying around the house.
Upcycle Used Glass Bottles Into Beautiful Decorations
This last DIY idea is one close to our heart. At Mosa, we’re driven by our passion for making a true impact on sustainability, and we choose to channel that into upcycling thousands of glass bottles each year into unique and innovative home décor, from candles to drinkware.
If you’re inspired by our journey towards a greener future, you can take a page out of our book and do the same with your own used glass! Glass bottles are one of the easiest and most impactful items to repurpose and upcycle. There’s an endless range of possibilities - you can turn them into vases and fill them with your favorite blooms, paint over them to make beautiful new drinking glasses, or add in soil and plants to create your own mini terrariums.
No matter which of these DIY project ideas has stricken your fancy, we’re positive that you’ll have a blast challenging yourself to do your part for sustainability in a hands-on, family-friendly way. Upcycling doesn’t just mean reusing old things, after all - it means reimagining them. Who knows? Maybe with some time and practice and a little bit of green magic, you’ll soon find yourself bursting with creative inspiration, not only for the good of your own household but also for our beloved planet.