Easy Crafts Using Household Items

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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.

Related: Damaged pages? No problem! Turn the book into a safe.

Update and upgrade unwanted items into upcycled goods for your home.
Update and upgrade unwanted items into upcycled goods for your home. (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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.

Related: How to Make Outdoor Hanging Mason Jar Lights

Make your own outdoor lights with mason jars, chain and plant hangers
Make your own outdoor lights with mason jars, chain and plant hangers (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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.

Related: How to Make Magnetic Spice Tin Mini Organizers

Spice up your kitchen while controlling clutter with transformed tins
Spice up your kitchen while controlling clutter with transformed tins (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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.

Related: How to Cut Glass Bottles Into Modern Vases

Select bottles with interesting labels or colors for added visual interest.
Select bottles with interesting labels or colors for added visual interest. (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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

Save burlap scraps to create matching napkin rings.
Save burlap scraps to create matching napkin rings. (Image: Jonathan Fong)

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.

Related: How to Make Plastic Bottle Hanging Planters

No one would ever guess that these plant holders were once bottles.
No one would ever guess that these plant holders were once bottles. (Image: Lucy Akins)

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.

Related: How to Make Homemade Butterfly Feeders Made From Plates and Jars

Attract butterflies to your garden with these inexpensive DIY feeders.
Attract butterflies to your garden with these inexpensive DIY feeders. (Image: Jonathan Fong)

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.

Related: How to Make Quirky Plastic Animal Planters

Choose hard plastic animals that are hollow for best results.
Choose hard plastic animals that are hollow for best results. (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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.

Related: How to Make Charming Animal Key Holders

Make a similar piece to hold rings and earrings.
Make a similar piece to hold rings and earrings. (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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.

Related: How to Make an Adorable Stuffed Animal Bookend

Stuff your favorite plush animals with sand, then put them to work as bookends.
Stuff your favorite plush animals with sand, then put them to work as bookends. (Image: Carrie Waller)

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

A damaged book doubles as a secret safe.
A damaged book doubles as a secret safe. (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

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.

Related: How to Make a Stylish Suitcase Picnic Basket

Elastic straps help keep your picnic supplies in place.
Elastic straps help keep your picnic supplies in place. (Image: Jonathan Fong)

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