Tin can candle holders by A Beautiful Mess
Photo © A beautiful Mess

When you can enhance the aesthetics of your home while helping the environment, you know you’re doing something right. Upcycling is a fantastic way to utilize old, wasting-away furniture and décor from the past and bring it into the light for a second lease on life

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You can find a new purpose for just about anything you find at the local dump, and there are probably more than a few things lying in the garage that could benefit from a revamp. There are loads of fresh and exciting ways to find uses for older goods, many of them just as fun as they are rewarding.

How does upcycling support the environment? 

The environmental benefits of upcycling and repurposing are significant, which is part of why so many people are taking to it. In addition to reducing the amount of discarded goods being piled into landfills each year, upcycling decreases the consumer demand for new items. 

When we use what we already have instead of buying new stuff all the time, we slow down the need for the production of raw materials, such as wood, metals, and fabrics. And as the need for those goods decreases, so does the level of air pollution, water pollution, and carbon emissions. 

DIY: Old CDs transformed into CDegg pendant by Gilbert de Rooij – upcycleDZINE
This CDegg is another example of what you can do with upcycling. Photo © Gilbert de Rooij

Further benefits to upcycling involve personal gratification. The process of transforming something old and forgotten into something new and purposeful can be an extremely satisfying experience—and you may even learn a skill or two along the way. 

These five upcycling ideas will beautify your home and add practical value to your life, all the while making the environment a happier, healthier place for everyone. 

Bottle pendant light 

Old, empty wine bottles often end up littering dumpsters or being reserved for rustic candle holders. But putting a little bit of extra effort in can result in some stunning pendant lights. 

All you need is acetone, cotton twine, light bulbs (with cable fixtures), and of course, some wine bottles. After stripping the bottles of any stains or wrappings, soak the twine in the acetone and tightly wrap it around just lower than the halfway mark towards the bottom. 

Then, in a controlled, outdoor environment, set the twine alight and submerge it underwater. The acetone and fire will cause the bottle to split, leaving you with an open-bottomed bottle. Sand the edges down well, and then thread your cable through the nozzle for a classy, glassy new light source. 

Pallet platform bed 

Any avid DIY-er knows that pallets are the holy grail of upcycling. These wooden structures provide a foundation for so many upcycling ideas, one of which is a rustic bed platform. All you need for this project is four identical 40x48x6 cm clean pallets, sandpaper, a drill, some screws, washers, nuts, and wood glue. 

Start by washing and sanding your pallets down, making sure there are no potential splinters or nails protruding out. In the room where you’re planning on using the bed platform, place your four pallets into a seamless square formation. 
First, fix them together with wood glue, and then drill into one another for better strength. Let it sit overnight, and voila! A beautiful, low-cost double bed platform. 

Tire swing 

There’s something extremely nostalgic about the classic tire swing. Whether you are a kid or an adult, having one swaying from your backyard is bound to be a source of year-round joy that never disappoints. 

Here’s how you can make one from scratch!

All that’s needed is a large tire, some thick rope (bonus points if it’s also upcycled), and a strong tree or banister to hang it on. Start by making sure that your tire is thoroughly washed, clean, and dry, and your tree branch or banister is strong enough to support your weight. 

Cut a section of rope that fits your desired length and tie a double bowline knot on the end of your rope, and toss it over the tree branch you are using. Tie a second double bowline knot around your tire, and suspend it at the desired height. Test for weight compatibility, and you’re good to go. 

Tin can candle holders 

You can do a lot with a couple of old tin cans and a drill. If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your courtyard, kitchen windowsill, or even table toppers for your next birthday celebration grab some tins and get crafty. 

All you need for this quick-fix is some recently used tin cans, a sharpie, a drill, and some tea light candles. Start by cleaning your tin cans thoroughly, removing any wrappers or residual food from the inside. Then, allow the tins to dry in the sun. 

Take your sharpie, and draw some dotted patterns (roughly a few millimeters apart each) around the circumference of your cans. You can make swirls, straight lines, or get creative with some flower shapes. Next, drill small holes wherever a dot has been drawn. Drop your tea lights into the cans, and done!

Wooden crate side table 

Crates are commonly discarded items that are often overlooked for their potential value. In addition to their storage capacity, a wooden crate can be used to create a beautiful side table that would make a lovely addition to any bedroom, lounge, or bathroom. 
You will need some crates, sandpaper, and a fresh tin of paint or varnish. Simply strip the crates of any old paint or varnish, and clean well before sanding down all rough edges. 

Then paint the crate with your color of choice, and stack it on top of one another in your household position of choice. These make great bookshelves, trinket cabinets, or even extra food storage for your kitchen. For additional strength and longevity, you can drill the stack of crates together. 

DIY: Crate & Pipe Side Table by Bre Bertolini – upcycleDZINE
Photo © brepurposed

One of the many great things about upcycling is that you don’t need to be a professional designer or builder to create an amazing end result. With a couple of tools and some imagination (and perhaps a touch of help from the internet), you can upcycle just about anything!

Upcycle something today

We hope this collection of clever upcycling projects has inspired you to turn someone’s trash into treasure. Find more inspirational upcycling projects here in upcycleDZINE.

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