Upcycling – The new buzzword

gerund or present participle: upcycling
reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
The term upcycling is becoming more popular in today’s throwaway society as those who have had enough, find uses for items that others believe have no worth. In investigating this phenomenon I have discovered that upcycling is actually something that our grandparents used to do on a regular basis. During the great depression when money was scarce, many children wore clothes fashioned from the worn out dresses of their mothers and uses were found for just about anything.
(I wonder if at the time of filming Sound of Music, they would have thought that Frauleine Maria was a trendsetter when she upcycled the curtains in the children’s rooms into clothing)!
I’m sure my mother (who no doubt will read this) will have examples of times her grandparents have reused items and converted them into something else.
In the past, I have used tin cans and covered them with paper, ribbons and buttons to make holders of various sizes. And many would remember seeing gardens that have old car tyres that have been cut and painted to resemble swans. The gentleman down the road has a wheelbarrow in his front garden filled with flowers.
 These are just a few ideas of upcycling.
So what bought me to this post? It would be reading the post at Something to Ponder about her 30 Minute Makeover. I commented about a bar made by my wonderful Garden Gnome and I was asked to share photos lol
The old fish tank stand (I thought it was a table) that was used by my man had been sitting in our garage for years. It had originally come from the local second hand store and was used for stacking stuff on in the shed. When we moved, he found a way to re-purpose it. He doesn’t think this is much, but I love it! He has sanded it, stained it, clad it and put castors on it so we can take it outside when we have a BBQ. It has shelves underneath and also fits two bar stools (currently stored behind it).
And not to be outdone. My attempt at upcycling.

33 thoughts on “Upcycling – The new buzzword

    1. Thank you Kate. I love my pencil holder as well 😀
      Do you think quilting counts as up-cycling? After all you take store bought fabric and make something out of it?? lol


    1. Upcycling doesn’t have to be beautiful – as long as it serves a purpose. I remember when I was younger, my grandmother used to keep some jars and use them as vases or glasses.


      1. You are right, but many people are upcycling in a nice way. With flowers, painting etc. which make it more beautiful.
        People here use all many times, if possible. I think, it is like my grandmothers time too.


  1. well Sis I have to tell everyone about your grannys cake tin .My Mum wanted a new cake tin but it was during the depression and my Dad had some work at the flour mill ,so he got a tin that stored additives for the flour cut it down so Mum had a 22cm cake tin .Now the tin was tin but no rusting because to bake a cake she greased the tin with butter ,then margarine when it came on the market .I use that tin still to bake my fruit cake .this was before the second world war .Some families pass down wealth antique furniture lots of things ,our family a cake tin ,which has Suz name on it when I no longer bake .


  2. I love your pencil holder! I didn’t know crafting and reusing things you have around the house was called upcycling- as I have been doing this forever!! Quilting is definitely upcycling- using old ties is a great way to do it, and I had a shirt I just couldn’t part with, but also couldn’t wear anymore, so it got cut up into squares and sewn together.


  3. Up cycling is awesome!!! Like a handmade greeting card, there’s memories made with each item 🙂

    My hubby recycled wood pallets to create a beautiful wood ceiling for my A-frame art office.

    I cut the pockets off jeans , being careful to leave a belt loop attached… And they are adorable holders for my hubby’s hearing aides 🙂


  4. I started cleaning my craft area. Oh, sad days. I have stuff I have saved to “up cycle” , can’t remember what I was going to do with what I saved. That’s okay, now I get to create something else. Nice pencil holder!


  5. I love your pencil holder and that bar is a creative artwork. I tended to hoard stuff but never did anything meaningful with it despite having plans. I’ve thrown it all out now and yes, as you guessed , the moment it went I realised some uses 😦


    1. Isn’t his bar wonderful? I just love it. He doesn’t think its much but I show it off to everyone that I can.
      You remember when I cleaned out my craft room a few weeks ago? I threw stuff out that I thought I would never use again and then the grandchildren wanted to do craft the other day and guess what??? I had to buy stuff lol


  6. My husband installs hardwood floors and has a few 2’x2′ sample pieces of prefinished hardwood flooring that he used to show customers. He no longer deals with this one company, but still has these large samples. They have been in my house for a while and I nearly asked my husband to get rid of them. Then I realized how cool they would look to add wording and a pic to make one into a wood sign. The other 2 will be used to make a kitchen island. He salvaged old beams from a work site which he is going to use as legs. I am very excited as these will be my Valentine’s presents. 🙂


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