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Upcycling - Ways to Reuse Old Junk

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Everyone has old junk they’ve collected over the years or that has been passed down to them from family who passed. No one wants to say they don’t want it, but they don’t know what to do with it. So, here are some ideas to reuse old junk in creative ways.

1. Your Grandmother’s Costume Jewelry

One way to use up costume jewelry that you’re never going to wear but has meaning to you is to make it into a decoration. You can use old frames, some felt or velvet over some thin card stock, then use a glue gun to glue the jewelry to the fabric in a design such as a star, or tree, or even around a picture of a child.

2. Plastic Cat Treat Containers

Some of these are quite thick plastic that looks nice with different coloured screw-on lids. Soak off the label and then you can get an old board, tack the lid to the board, then keep beans and other items inside the container. Simply screw it off when you want the beans, rice, or another item that you have inside. You can use it for décor, or you can use it for edible items that don’t need to be refrigerated.

3. Old Wooden Shutters

You can often find this type of thing at a used store. You can keep it kind of shabby but clean it up, then use a stencil to put an image or words on it to make it into a pretty wall decoration. You can also string wire or clothesline in an interesting pattern across the shutters, adhering it with a glue gun or attractive tacks. Then, use painted clothes pins to attach family photos.

4. An Old Rickety Wooden Ladder

This will make a great place to hang towels or blankets for the guest room, or to use as another interesting way to display photos. Clean it up, paint it, and put it in a corner of a room for the best results. This is best for a ladder that doesn’t have shelf rungs but round rungs. Another way to use a ladder like this is by turning it on its side, hanging it horizontally, and using it as a corner bookshelf.

5. An Old Suitcase

In the old days, they made suitcases with the very firm material. That’s the kind you need. Use that and some wooden spindles for the legs to make a chair. Take the suitcase apart, then open it up as if you’re going to pack it with the handle on the bottom. Add a cushion such as the kind you can get to cover your dining room chairs or your outdoor furniture. The legs, of course, go on the bottom at each corner.

6. Old Books

You can do a lot with old books that you buy at bookstores if you’re not going to read them. You can use brackets or even large paint stirrers and put on the wall in an L-shape. Set the books on top of the L- shape so that it makes a shelf. It’ll work best if you nail them in place or glue them in place solidly.

7. Wine Corks

Save all your wine corks, ask your friends to save theirs and you can make them into all kinds of beautiful art pieces from simple cork boards, to beautiful images of animals. It all depends on your creativity level and skill. Check out Karen J. Lauseng’s awesome cork art for inspiration:

The truth is, you can use your imagination to create all sorts of new things out of old things if you just give it some thought. Think of the items as materials rather than what they really are, and soon all your junk will be upcycled into useful items and beautiful art.


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