There's something gratifying about giving new life to old, unwanted items that are bound for the recycling bin. Even the simplest crafting techniques can transform those everyday items into simply stunning pieces. The best part? Each repurposed project is as easy on your eyes as it is on your wallet.
1. Outdoor Hanging Mason Jar Lights
Add rustic ambiance to your backyard with homemade hanging mason jar lights. Any mason jars with matching bands will do, and you can mix and match sizes for an eclectic touch. Garden hooks hold the lights at a safe distance from your fence. Inexpensive tea lights float atop water inside each jar, adding soft, flickering light to your relaxing evening outdoors.
2. Magnetic Spice Tin Mini Organizers
Instead of discarding your metal spice tins once they're empty, transform them into miniature magnetic organizers for your kitchen. Ceramic magnets, a strong craft adhesive and metal magnet clips are all you'll need to upcycle those empty tins.
3. Modern Glass Bottle Vases
Instead of sending your empty bottles to the recycling bin, upcycle them into useful and unique glass vases. A bottle cutter from a craft store scores a line in the glass, and alternating hot and cold water treatments separate the top of the bottle from the bottom. Sanding the cut edge smooth afterwards turns the former bottle into a functional vase.
4. No-Sew Burlap Placemats
Transform ordinary burlap into an extraordinary placemat, completely customized to suit your decorative style. Finish the edges with some funky, festive ribbon fused in place, then stencil a message on your homemade placemat with craft paint. Simple gift or seasonal table decor -- you decide.
Related: How to Make a No-Sew Burlap Placemat
5. Plastic Bottle Hanging Planters
Some plastic bottles bound for the recycling bin have an innate beauty of their own, made even more obvious with just a few tweaks and crafting techniques. Upcycle bottles with modern curves into beautiful hanging planters. Use a utility knife and scissors to shape the opening for the plants. Then paint the bottles and add rope to complete the transformation from discarded plastic to decorative planter.
6. Homemade Butterfly Feeders Made From Plates and Jars
Who wouldn't want more butterflies in their yard? Make your own butterfly feeder from an acrylic plate or glass jar to attract more of the mystical beauties to your yard or garden. Besides gracing you with their beauty, the winged wonders help pollinate nearby plants.
7. Quirky Plastic Animal Planters
Plastic toy animals are not typically display-worthy. But with a fresh coat of paint and some greenery, you can turn a toy animal into a homemade planter more suited for home decor than the toy box. A hole cutter cuts a space in the top of each plastic animal. Insert rocks, soil and plants to complete their transformation from dull to dynamic.
8. Charming Plastic Animal Key Holders
If your animal planters need a few friends or you get a kick out of whimsical, unusual home accents, turn a hard plastic animal into a homemade key holder. Spray paint the toy any shade you like, such as classic white or black, or a glitzy silver or gold. Glue the animal's feet to a painted wooden plaque and you're good to go. You'll never lose your keys again.
9. Adorable Stuffed Animal Bookend
Turn a favorite stuffed animal into a custom bookend. Give that stuffed animal an operation, replacing most of its stuffing with sand before stitching it back up. The sand adds enough weight to hold a few books in place on a shelf while the stuffed animal looks the same as it always did. Upcycling mission: Accomplished.
10. Hollowed Out Book Safe
Damaged, outdated hardcover books may no longer be useful as reading materials, but you can upcycle them into safes that double as decor. Use a sharp box cutter to hollow out some of the pages, then seal the inside and outside with decoupage medium to transform it into a solid safe. Stash your valuables inside the book safe, display it on a shelf with other books and no one will suspect its secret.
Related: How to Make a Book Safe
11. Stylish Suitcase Picnic Basket
That old suitcase you love but no longer have a use for doesn't have to sit in the closet, doing nothing. Transform it into a tote for picnicware by giving it a fresh coat of paint, dressing up the inside with your favorite decorative fabric. Elastic straps hold plates, cutlery and tumblers in place.