“Upcycling” – a shiny new buzzword in all things environmental. In a climate where polar ice caps are melting at rates never before seen, and where sustainability – another keyword rising in popularity – is fast becoming the new priority, this old arts ‘n crafts hobby is turning into an enterprise: a preference, even, to responsible homemakers.
“Upcycling” involves reusing old, discarded objects to make decorative and functional things of higher value than their previous state (think recycling, but elevated into an artform).
There’s a number of common household items that you can “upcycle” using the simplest means. A few examples, for instance:
Bottles and glass jars
An age-old custom newly resurfaced as a chic trend: using bottles and mason jars as lampshades or light fixtures. In the case of mason jars, it’s as simple as cutting a hole in the lid to place the lightbulb into. Customize to your heart’s content – you can use stickers, beads, paint, or colored paper.
Cassettes – the cheapest medium of music before the advent of the MP3. If you’ve held on to the nostalgic detritus from your childhood, try your hand at converting them into useful objects like a pencil holder or a cool vase. By gluing the tapes together to form four sides and a base, you get a multipurpose container for writing implements and other gewgaws on your desk. Cassettes have also been made into chairs in the past by stringing them together to form the seat or seat cover.
Shelves serve the most versatile purpose in any home. Old drawers stacked together or bolted to the wall can make for the most convenient shelves anywhere in your home. The trick to making them look appealing again is simply paint, or varnish: choose as you see fit. You can also use them as a coffee table with a little carpentry.
The web itself is a vast resource for upcycling tips, tricks, and tutorials. Imagination is key. Resourcefulness is impetus. And lesser waste is the end purpose that does us all some good.