Upcycling: Donﾒt toss it, change it and use it
Wait! Donﾒt throw that away. Youﾒd be surprised what you can make with equal parts creativity and trash. Upcycling, the new recycling, is a way to take unwanted objects and make a new usable object.
For some reason, when I think about upcycling, it reminds me of when I was a little girl and my brother and I would stomp soda cans and pretend they were the wheels on roller skates and the garage was our skating rink. That isnﾒt the best example of making garbage useable, but you get the idea.
My newest project, the perfect product of upcycling, is a crocheted bag made out of plastic grocery bags. Iﾒve been wanting to try this for awhile now and finally got a pattern online and got to work.
Itﾒs actually a simple project. Fold the plastic bags sideways twice, cut the handles and bottom off, then cut strips about an inch wide. Next, loop the strips together to make one long piece of ﾓplarn.ﾔ After that, youﾒre ready to crochet.
The great thing about using plastic bags to make a bag is 1) the material is free and 2) you wind up with a sturdy grocery bag or interesting fashion accessory. Instead of tearing like a single plastic bag when you put a gallon of milk in it, these bags will withstand the weight.
Itﾒs unbelievable how many upcycling projects there are, especially ones that use materials you would never expect to reuse.
Instead of throwing away that obsolete collection of encyclopedias, stack them and either glue or nail them together to make an end table. I made a similar sculpture for my display at the Pocahontas County Artisans Co-op.
Just because it is upcycled, doesnﾒt mean it has to ﾓlookﾔ upcycled. Several products on the market now look brand new, when in fact, they are made from recycled materials.
Lily Bloom Designs creates fashionable handbags out of recycled plastic bottles, but to the naked eye, the bags look like they are made out of a colorful fabric similar to canvas. Coca-Cola went the same route and made a line of t-shirts out of plastic bottles.
Upcycling can help you preserve memories without creating clutter. Instead of keeping tons of baby clothes, cut them into squares and make a memory quilt for each of your children or grandchildren. Make Christmas decorations of little chotskies that hold special meaning.
The possibilities are literally endless. Here are a few more projects Iﾒm going to attempt.
A paper chain bag. Remember making chains out of gum wrappers? Well, this takes it to a new level as the chain is sewn into a purse or tote bag.
Crayons. Take those old nubby crayons, melt them down and pour them into silicon molds to make your own swirly crayons.
T-shirt yarn. Similar to the plastic bags, cut up t-shirts into a long, continuous strip and knit or crochet a bag from your favorite raggedy t-shirts.
Tin can wall organizer. Rinse out some soup cans, glue them together and hang them on the wall. That way, you have a place for pens, pencils and other office supplies and your desk will be cleaner.
Use these suggestions or make your own creations. Go wild, be creative and have fun!