Project Upcycle: Making Something New Out of Something Old

To the untrained eye old milk cartons, keyboards and T-shirts appear to be identical to other items you might find in your everyday trash. But did you know that beautiful and amazing things could be made from the stuff you throw away? It’s called Upcycling.

Upcycling is the process of converting unwanted products or waste materials into new useful items; often giving the items a better purpose. Just about anything can be upcycled – wine bottles, keyboard keys, t-shirts and other vintage clothes.

For those of you trying to go green and make a positive impact on the environment, upcycling is a simple step in that direction. It’s actually an even greener way of recycling by taking this so-called “garbage” and removing it from the global garbage stream, while recycling requires energy to break materials down.

For ideas on how to get creative and make something beautiful and unique out of the vast materials you once considered to be trash, check out the projects we found and can’t wait to try!

T-Shirt Blankets

We all have those lucky and comfortable shirts that have become too small to wear or gotten a little rough around the edges. Chances are, they’re just just sitting in your drawer (making it almost impossible to close), or filling up your closet leaving no room to hang up that new outfit you bought. The question is: why do we feel the need to keep these shirts that just seem to take up room?

We keep these vintage t-shirts because they are nostalgic to us. They represent a time, place or memory that we want to hold on to. Well, what if you could keep those memories and clear up some space in your dresser and closet?

To check out a great tutorial on creating your own t-shirt fleece blanket, check out this post by Katie from Wellness Mama.

Keyboard Magnets

Before you trash that old keyboard that is gathering dust in a closet somewhere, get some use out of it one last time. This project is easy and cheap. Just pop the keys off, cut a magnet strip to the same dimensions and glue it on. Once the magnet is in place, you can use the keys to spell your messages out on the fridge!

For a list of step-by-step instructions and materials needed, check out this post by Cintia over on TutsPlus!

Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

This clever outdoor project turns your everyday wine bottle into a modern backyard tiki torch providing the perfect natural glow in your backyard paradise at night. Check out the materials list and tutorial by Trent Johnson over at Apartment Therapy!

Looking for more creative ways to engage in upcycling? Check out our Project Upcycle board on Pinterest! And if you have additional recommendations you’d like to share, post your unique upcycling ideas in the comments below!

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Comment by Ashley Owen on June 10, 2015 at 1:46pm

These are awesome! Love the keyboard magnets.

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