5 Materials Perfect for Upcycling

Reader Contribution by Kacey Bradley
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Upcycling is a trendy new way to get rid of unwanted items and turn them into something new. Whether you want to decorate your home with unique, new decor or create a helpful new method for organizing your home, there are plenty of materials you can use to start upcycling today.

1. Wood

The versatility of wood makes it useful for hundreds of upcycling project ideas. It’s become trendy to take apart pallets and use the wood for projects like furniture frames and flower beds. If you feel extra creative, you can create an outdoor jungle gym and obstacle course for your young ones.

Keep in mind that not all wood is safe for re-use. Some pallets are chemically treated and can be dangerous to your health, especially if brought indoors. Always inspect the wood for a stamp, which indicates it was used for domestic transport and was not chemically treated.

2. Glass Bottles

Next time you empty a wine bottle or jar of jelly, save the glass for your next upcycle project. There are plenty of fun and easy ideas that can be finished in less than a weekend. Consider turning that bottle into a unique air plant holder, or learn more about glass etching to create the perfect vase centerpiece.

When working with glass, always take the proper safety precautions. If you plan to cut or sand, wear a face mask and eye protection. Heavy-duty gloves should be worn to prevent cuts and slices. It’s also recommended to work outside or in a well-ventilated space.

3. Leather

Leather is a material that can be used to create some of the most interesting and intricate upcycle projects. Instead of tossing out that dated leather jacket or those too-small cowboy boots, consider the best way to reuse the material.

Maybe you want to create a traveler’s journal where you can jot down all your vacation thoughts? Or perhaps a new change purse that perfectly matches your style? If you want something more classic, consider designing your own belt that will last for years to come.

4. Denim

Everyone has a pair of too-small jeans lying around or pair with a tear in the most inconvenient spot. Instead of tossing out your favorite pair of pants, consider how you can turn them into something new.

One simple idea is this fabulous hexagon rug, which can easily go with the decor in a kitchen, bathroom or guest bedroom. You can also use old denim to create a stylish new purse or a unique bed for your pet.

5. Books

If you’re a book-lover, it can be hard to toss those old, worn copies in the trash. But books are essentially filled with tons of crafting paper perfect for upcycling into anything your heart desires.

If you’re a chess wizard looking to create a unique experience for your games, consider these chess pieces made entirely from recycled paper. Or create a fairy-tale experience by building your very own tea set, complete with teapot, cups and saucers. If you want to turn your books into memorable decor, look at book reefs designed by folding the pages into tear-drop shapes.

Your Next Upcycling Project

Upcycling is a fun a creative way to get rid of old materials lying around while also creating something entirely new. The upcycled materials above can have as many uses as you dream up, from creating a fun new play experience for your kids or to adding more accessories to your style.

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