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Our Top Ten Upcycling Ideas

9 January 2015  |  Nicola

Here at StickyTiger, we love all crafts; spending hours on the sofa in the evenings with knitting or crochet, stitching pretty garlands or bunting and embellishing them with ribbons, and making beautiful handmade cards for birthdays and other special occasions all make us pretty happy. But there’s something a bit more exciting about making something from nothing; we think that taking an old, tired household object and turning it into something fabulous is pretty satisfying – so to inspire you for the new year, we’ve gathered together our favourite upcycling ideas which take anything from a couple of hours to a few days.

Spot lights made from decorated tin cans

Tin Can Spotlight

As soon as we saw the little mid-century style lamp at A Little Market made from nothing but a tin can, we fell seriously in love. Easy enough to do with a simple lighting kit, a tin can and an old wire coathanger, there’s plenty of options for decorating using washi tape, printed scrapbook paper or even vintage maps.

Grocery bags upcycled from old t-shirts

DIY Grocery Bags

The tutorial for grocery bags made from old t-shirts is nothing short of genius; we found them over at Apartment Therapy, and love how easy it would be to add a few embellishments such as ribbon or trimmings.

Heart shaped needle-felted elbow patch

Adding the fibres for needle felting the patches

Needle-Felted Sweater Patches

Needle felting is a really versatile craft, and is great for so many things; we really liked the tutorial at Honestly WTF for felted heart elbow patches. The perfect way to hide those worn patches on your favourite jumper – so you can keep it for a little longer, rather than having to throw it away!

Cat planters made from painted plastic bottles

Quirky Cat Planters

Now Christmas is over and the new year has arrived, the countdown to spring and sunshine is on – and with spring comes a beautiful array of new plants and flowers, which are obviously going to need a home. The plastic bottles turned into cat planters at make the ideal place to keep your new plants, either inside or outside – and we loved the unique design!

Ottoman made from an old tyre and thick twine

Upcycled Tyre Ottoman

It’s always nice to have somewhere to stretch out and rest your feet while watching TV or crafting in the evenings, and the DIY ottoman tutorial over at That Was a What is pretty clever; armed with an old tyre, some tools and some thick twine, you can learn how to save a whole load of money and make your own rustic footrest for pennies.

Retro sweater decorations

Bright sweater decorations

Vintage Sweater Decorations

Christmas might be over, but we think there’s always room in our lives for some simple bauble-style decorations – and the ones made from old sweaters over at The Remakerie are great. Brightly coloured and beautifully versatile, they could be strung on garlands, hung in windows or made into a mobile for a new baby or young child.

Necklaces made from book pages

Book Page Necklaces

Whether you’re a big reader, or just like vintage books, turning the pages into a pendant similar to those found at PopSugar is a great idea. If you don’t want to cut your books up, simply photocopy the pages or images onto thick card, and use those instead; alternatively, if you’re not really a book person, substitute the pages for printed scrapbook paper to create a necklace that’s both colourful and interesting.

Confetti made from old maps

Map Confetti

From using to fill valentines cards and invitations, to throwing over the happy couple at a spring wedding, confetti upcycled from vintage maps is a quick and simple project. Using the map itself, or a colour photocopy, and a small heart punch, a few hours can leave you with several tubs of romantic heart shaped confetti, like that seen at Peony and Thistle.

Old book pages turned into little gift bags

Book Page Gift Bags

We love DIY cards, tags and wrapping, so we were always going to fall in love with the book page gift bag tutorial at Craft and Creativity; using otherwise wasted book pages, the step-by-step instructions show you how to make little gift bags, and then suggest ideas for decoration, such as ribbon and buttons.

Foldaway desk made from a wooden pallet

Upcycled Pallet Desk

The final project we stumbled across at Thistlewood Farms was a big one; a pallet cleverly turned into a wall-mounted, drop-down desk. Useful, practical, space saving and beautifully rustic, it manages to function well and reduce waste at the same time. Great!


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