If you’re feeling crafty and looking to spend Earth Day (April 22nd) upcycling goods you probably already have on hand, then we’ve got just the thing for you. Whether it’s a vintage necklace pulled together with just three easy steps, a modern wine rack whipped up in minutes, or a chic mirror made with plastic spoons, here are 13 awesome projects using materials you were thinking about throwing out.
1. Button Bowl
Everyone has drawers full of buttons: stragglers that fall off your favorite sweater or those extras that come in small plastic baggies that you’ll never use. Why not glue a few together to create a beautiful artisan bowl (to hold the buttons of future purchases).
2. Button Necklace
What’s that? You have even more buttons lying around? Try this simple wearable project in the form of a button necklace. Why wait to replace missing buttons when you can display them as a cute DIY accessory? Don’t have a glue gun? No problem, try thiswired version.
3. Calendar Envelopes
With each new year comes a new pile of outdated calendars. The glossy paper and high quality photos keep you from throwing them out, but instead of collecting dust why not share the beautiful images with friends and family? Just a few quick folds and slivers of tape, and you can turn each page into a custom envelope.
4. Canned Wine Rack
If there’s one thing we can’t live without here at the VNHQ, it’s coffee. And while it’s great that we’re awake and ready for any editorial problems that come our way, we just can’t help but feel bad about all the coffee tins we leave empty week after week. That’s where this incredibly easy wine rack comes in. Plus, wine comes in at a close second to coffee in our hearts.
5. Cardboard Laptop Stand
Maybe everyone isn’t as lucky as we are with all the neat new products shipped to our office, but there’s no doubt that everyone has cardboard boxes lying around. What better way to reduce waste than to reuse it to prop up your laptop? Doable for even the craft-challenged, there’s no need to drop a bunch of cash on an expensive stand with this quick project.
6. Cork Bath Mat
We admit you’ll notice a trend in these projects––we looked up several ways to repurpose party leftovers––and this bath mat made of wine corks may just be our favorite. A simple glue-and-go activity, it’s almost as much of a good time as drinking all the wine bottles needed to make this chic bathroom accessory.
7. Corona Drinking Glasses
There’s nothing worse than having to throw away bottle after bottle after a fun Saturday night, but with this slightly mad-scientist project involving household chemicals and glass, you can turn those empty Coronas into reusable drink ware. Fill your cabinets with these homemade cups and save money while reducing waste.
8. Drawer Bulletin Board
If you’re like us and can’t resist a certain large Swedish furniture store, you probably have a closet full of broken or un-built dressers. Clear out that closet and use those drawers to make a cute bulletin board––maybe even pin up those ridiculous doodled instructions that came with the 64-piece dresser.
9. Magazine Trash Can
While we know you archive each issue of VegNews, sometimes other magazines clutter your house and wreak havoc on your halls, so instead of putting them in the bin, make one out of the rolled up pages. Colorful and handy, these trash cans are as much a housekeeping perk as a work of art.
10. Pop Tab Lamp Shade
Whether sourced from beer cans or cans of soda (we’re not judging), pop tabs are ubiquitous. We remember the days when they were made into necklaces, but we’ve never seen pop tabs used in such an innovative way as this lamp shade. Paint the tabs to make a colorful pattern or leave them as is for a sleek, industrial look.
11. Plastic Spoon Mirror
As the temperatures rise, so do the number of Sunday picnics and that means the return of those white plastic utensils heaped in trash bins in the park. Why throw them away when you can just add glue and transform them into this fabulous mirror to spruce up any wall––just don’t forget to wash them before using.
12. Six-Pack Utensil Holder
There are very few things wrong with seasonal beers other than the urge to purchase them all, but along with the fun that comes with six packs, there’s also the cardboard holder that quickly fills up garbage cans. Adorn your BYOB picnic spread with a jazzyutensil holder courtesy of an upcycled carrier.
13. T-shirt Rug
We share your pain of dressers full of worn out T-shirts. Use them to create a unique braided rug and forget all about those terrible baby doll tees that should have stayed in the 90s. With just a couple simple twists, you can have new floor décor or for a no sew, fringe rug, try this one.
If you’ve glued, braided, and folded your way through all of these upcycling projects and are hankering for more, check out the Mecca of DIY recycling inspiration: Phoenix Commotion is a Texas construction company that builds low-cost houses using upcycled materials found on the side of the road, recovered from left over construction projects, and salvaged from trash piles. Happy Earth Day!