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17 Unique Upcycling and Repurposing Projects

Why is it that spring gets us itching to be productive around the house? Projects that we have been waiting to start or complete beckon us. If you need ideas that will scratch that creative itch, here are 17 unique upcycling and repurposing projects for you to consider.

I’m a big believer in upcycling, repurposing, and reloving old or discarded things. They can be big or small or have little or no value. The question I always ask myself is: can I make this attractive and useful again?

If you are attracted to flea markets, garage sales, estate sales or antique malls, then you know what I mean. And, don’t let me forget curbside discards. Those are some of the best candidates for upcycling and repurposing.

If you need some inspiration for upcycling and repurposing projects, then you will love the unique upcycling finds that I’ve discovered for you.

What is Upcycling and Repurposing?

I’ve used the term repurposing for years, but upcycling is a more recent term. They go hand in hand.

According to Google, “upcycling means creating something new from discarded materials by repairing, refurbishing, or repurposing them.”

It’s what has been called “trash to treasure” for many years.

The upcycling movement emerged from a growing concern about collective waste. It has now become an outlet of creativity for many people who are focused on saving money and keeping things out of landfills. 

As for me, I just hate to see something go to waste. Unfortunately, furniture and other collectibles that were once considered valued inheritances aren’t desired any longer. That means more stuff for us upcycling and repurposing fans.

Specifically, the term upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming materials that are considered useless or unwanted into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality for artistic value or practical use.

However you define the terms, upcycling and repurposing are some of my favorite ways to be creative, save money and decrease the amount of stuff in our landfills.

What Items Can You Upcycle and Repurpose?

Theoretically, anything can be upcycled, refinished, refurbished, and repurposed. Here are some ideas just off the top of my head. I’m sure you can come up with many more.

  • cake pans
  • crates
  • corks
  • ladders
  • drawers
  • suitcases
  • medicine bottles
  • candle jars
  • bottles and jars
  • vintage fabric/tablecloths/sheets
  • plastic containers
  • books
  • trays, baskets
  • t-shirts, sweaters, clothing
  • wood

Let’s jump in and see all the awesome upcycle ideas to inspire you.

Welcome to 10 or More Fabulous Finds at Bluesky Browsing #81.

Think of Fabulous Finds as a home decor/DIY/Craft/recipe Readers’ Digest.

If you are new to Bluesky at Home, what fabulous finds do I share at Bluesky Browsing?

  • ideas to help you in your home decor efforts
  • fun holiday decoration ideas
  • ideas for better organization and efficiency
  • a yummy recipe or cocktail
  • fun DIY projects
  • the latest trends in home decor
  • a quirky new find or two

DIY Upcycled Ideas: 17 Projects to Inspire You

Focusing on finding new projects, resources, tips, new ideas, and inspiration for you is my main task. I’m constantly discovering fabulous finds to inspire us. My goal is to help you find ideas for your home decor, your crafting, your home organization, and anything about home.

coffee can upcycle idea

Coffee Can Upcycle

If you are a coffee drinker and don’t know what to do with your used coffee cans, Emily of The Wicker House shares a great way to recycle them as pretty planters. The same idea can be used for tin cans.

upcycled patio table from wood crates

Upcycled Wood Crates to Patio Table

Wood crates, new or rescued, are prime candidates for upcycling. Need a patio table? Jasmine of Feeling Nifty shows you how to use them to construct a patio table. Other ideas are to make bookcases, shelving or even a desk.

recycled denim dog toy

Blue Jeans to Dog Toys

Who doesn’t have old jeans lying around or offered for pennies at the resale shop? Lindsay of Artsy fartsy Mama has the brilliant idea of turning them into dog toys. Your puppy will appreciate this upcycling idea.

wine cork bulletin board

Wine Corks to Bulletin Board

I don’t know about you, but we have so many wine corks accumulated over the years. Right now, they are in an extra-large martini glass on Sweet Shark’s bar. A better use would be to turn them into a bulletin board. Hats off to Toni of Girl Just DIY for such a great idea.

recycled shower curtain from vintage sheets

How to Recycle Vintage Sheets

Sheets are one of the best items to buy for recycling. So much fabric for so little money. Sarah of Sadie Seasongoods turned a vintage sheet into a pretty floral shower curtain. Another way to repurpose them is to make tablecloths, duvets or placemats.

upcycled globe to light fixture

From Globe to Upcycled Light Fixture

This is really a unique idea. Roshell of DIY Show Off repurposed an old globe into a unique light fixture. What a great conversation piece.

recycled coffee mug sign

Upcycled Coffee Mug Sign

Did I tell you that this cute sign for your coffee bar was originally shutters? Old wood is an upcycler’s dream material. You can do many things you can do with old wood. Remember when the wood palette craze started? Check out this project from Marie of Interior Frugalista.

upcycled fireplace wood holder

Upcycled Old Radio to Firewood Holder

Now, this has to be one of the most creative repurposing projects ever. Carrie of Loverly Etc. turned a vintage radio case into a practical holder for firewood.

wood crates recycled to drawers

From Wine Crates to Office Storage

I use this upcycled project every day in my office. When I found 4 wine crates on a neighbor’s curb, I knew I could transform them into useful storage for my office. I shared the entire repurposing project at Bluesky at Home.

garden cloche from garden fencing

From Garden Fencing to Garden Cloche

Lora of Lora Creates and Ponders is an expert at finding vintage objects and using them in unusual ways. Here she repurposed old wire fencing into a sweet cloche. What a sweet idea.

rug made from t-shirts

Rags to Riches Rug

Who doesn’t have old t-shirts or other clothing items taking up needed space? The Wonder Forest shows you exactly how to repurpose them into pretty rugs for your home decor.

upcycled folding stools

Upcycled Folding Stools

If you have ever seen old folding stools at the flea market or on the side of the road, grab them. They have great upcycling potential. Becca of Hello Central Avenue shares how to turn them into useable custom stools again.

upcycled side table

This + That = Upcycled Side Table

Can you guess what this cute side table was made from? Morgan and Sean of Charleston Crafted show you why to never pass up a cutting board and a chair from the curbside.

barn wood recycled serving tray

Barn Wood to Home Decor Accessory

I’ve already said that you should never pass up old wood. Shannon of Homemade Lovely shows you one reason why. Never pass up an opportunity to make a useful DIY tray.

upcycled bed to bench

From Headboard to Bench

Repurposing furniture is one of the best things to do for the environment. This lovely bench was originally a castoff bed. Jeanie of Create and Babble had the vision to upcycle and repurpose it.

window made into a table

Recycled Window to Table

Vintage windows are a recycler’s dream. Turning them into a unique table for display is genius. See how Marty of Marty’s Musings constructed this table and saved that beautiful window. I’ve also seen people make them into shelves, bookcases, and greenhouses.

upcycled patio tables

Rescued Teak Table to Patio Tables

I couldn’t resist sharing one of my personal favorite upcycling projects. A dirty old teak table I found at an estate sale became multiple tables. Follow along for this table tale at Bluesky at Home.

Did you get some inspiration from these 17 upcycling and repurposing projects? I have so many ideas swimming around in my head.

Here’s some other of my recycling and repurposing projects:

How to Repurpose Old Picture Frames
How to Repurpose an Old Table as a Plant Stand
How to Repurpose a Vintage Stool from Wobbly to Wow

I’d love to know what subjects you are most curious about. Let me know in the comments and I’ll search browse for them. Be sure to PIN to keep these ideas handy.

PIn graphic for now for later
unique upcycling and repurposing projects

I’ll be browsing away between writing posts, listening to podcasts, reading, doing various blogging tasks, playing tennis, and walking Nola.

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One Comment

  1. How interesting to see how you can recycle stuff that would normally be thrown out! Great ideas, Carol. Hope you and Sweet Shark are enjoying your weekend.