8 DIY Projects: Garbage Up-cycling Genius
We now live in a world that begs for each of us to do our part to help protect the environment. Thankfully, environmental awareness and DIY ingenuity have shown us what we can do to live Green lives and minimize our carbon footprint as much as we can. We can literally turn our trash into treasure with these awesome garbage up-cycling projects.
Light Bulb Vases
Light bulbs come, outgrow their usefulness, and go. But these DIY light bulb vases are an amazing way to insure they stick around — whether its as a decoration for your backyard, front porch, or for a special event like a wedding or baby shower. You can even fill them with herbs and hang them in your kitchen. Utilizing incandescent light bulbs and supplies you can find around the house (the Rustoleum spray paint may be the only thing that warrants a trip to the hardware store), you can easily create these charming and unique vases. Picking out which color of spray paint to use and how you want to hang the vases (Rubber bands? Colored string? Ribbons?) are touches that make the project your own. For a complete set of instructions, check out The MerryThought.
Art Supply Organizer
Whether you’ve got a huge collection of colored pencils like I do (thanks to my artist father, who bestowed his collection to me) or want to separate your mediums (crayons in one place, colored pencils in another, markers in still another…), this one of the most ingenious and simple up-cycling projects around. This involves nothing more than plastic jugs of lemonade or orange juice (both beverages should come in handy and yield a fabulous up-cycling idea to boot!). Via the O Modernário blog, make a cutout in however many jugs you need to use (carefully, using a sharp tool like an X-ACTO knife and taking care not to leave jagged edges), using this photo as your guide.
DVD Coloring Case
If you’ve got a more modest collection of art supplies, or simply want to condense things into a travel kit that’s perfect for your kids, look no farther than an old DVD case. As seen on Handmade by Stacy Vaughn, this DVD coloring case is adorable and easy to make. The supplies are simple enough: a DVD case, a piece of cardboard, card stock, fabric, colorful paper, spray adhesive, and a utility knife and self-healing mat. Stacy provides easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions on her website for this and other clever upcycling projects.
Mason Jar Bathroom Organizer
Mason jars seem to provide an unlimited scope of DIY up-cycling projects. They can be cleaned, stripped of their labels, and then filled with sugars and spices (which look so much better in the fridge than water-stained Domino sugar boxes and Ziploc bags of azafran and pimentón). They can be turned into homey vases or holders for dish soap or cleaning brushes…you get the idea, the usage for mason jars are limitless. This beautiful project brings the transformative power of mason jars to a whole new level by acting as a bathroom organizer (and who doesn’t need to bring a little order and beauty to their bathroom)? This blogger had an eye towards keeping hair doo-dads like ribbons and rubber bands in check, but you can use yours for q-tips, band-aids or cotton balls. You can also buy door knobs at the hardware store, or scavenge for mismatching old ones, which will up the charm level of your new organizer. Complete instructions are available on the Nefotlak blog (along with lots of other family-friendly, household-prettifying up-cycling projects!).
Altoids BBQ Grill
We all have a little McGyver in all of us—in this case, a tiny BBQ grill fashioned out of an Altoids Sour tin and two computer fan guards. Once you’ve finished putting it together, what better way to reward yourself for a job well done than throwing on a single patty or hot dog for a dinner-for-one BBQ celebration? Read up on what tools and materials you’ll need, as well as a step-by-step guide on Instructables (this project is heavy on the tools, but it never hurts a girl to get acquainted—or reacquainted—with a tool box!).
Ever spend a dreamy day at the beach collecting seashells? Ever come home with a bucket of assorted seashells and starfish from said dreamy day at the beach, and find yourself not knowing what the heck to do with them? These gorgeous DIY seashell candles are a great way to put those lovingly selected beach treasures to use as centerpiece decorations that you can make yourself. From the genius that is Martha Stewart, you can use metallic spray paint (or go with your own choice of color) and even use old candles to supply the wax (thus, half-used, less aesthetically pleasing candles will be up-cycled, too!). The three simple steps involve spray-painting your seashells, melting candle wax and preparing your wicks, and filling the seashells with your remaining wax—but check out a detailed how-to at Martha Stewart.
This sells on Etsy for $80, but you can easily make it one of your own up-cycling projects for next to nothing. You can either use an old box or drawer, or join legions of Ikea hackers by utilizing one of their storage bins for this project. Salvaging a bunch of old books with cool-looking spines and glueing them to one side of the drawer/box/bin completes the project. (Picking out the spines seems like the most fun part — try going with a theme, like vintage Nancy Drew adventures, or hardcover romance novels.) The result is a bin (perhaps a secret hiding place?) that thinks it’s a bookshelf.
Paint Chip Art
If you’re like my partner and I, a visit to the hardware store to look at paint chip samples results in fistfuls (if not bagfuls) of those strips with delightful paint color names like Pale Celery, Passion Fruit, and Dill Pickle. And like my partner and I, once you choose the color you’re going with, you’re left with paint chip samples that no longer hold the same intrigue. But this sweet DIY art makes a charming Valentine’s Day present or romantic gift on any other day of the year—or simply a heartwarming piece of art for your newly painted walls. This blogger, of the appropriately-titled Honey We’re Home blog, used a Martha Stewart Heart Punch ($9.98 on Amazon) for uniform hearts and adhesive foam circles (although you can just use glue) on her canvases, creating wall art that makes it clear that her home is where her heart is.