Upcycling and recycling everyday items

Fall is quickly drawing near.  Did you miss the opportunity to have that garage sale you were thinking about?  Before you give up and start throwing things away, think about how you could use those garage sale items in a different manner.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Cookie Sheets

If your cookie sheets are in a state of disarray, do not despair.  Cookie sheets are magnetic, so with a simple coat of the spray paint color of your choice, you have an instant magnet board.  Perfect for kids rooms or the kitchen, hang on the wall and use fun magnets to attach notes or photos.


If you have a stash of old bottles, use them to showcase old photos.  The photos can be scanned onto thick paper if you do not want to use the originals.  Simply slide the photos into the antique bottles and you have a unique custom frame, perfect for display.

Candy Wrappers

Turn your child’s room into a reflection of their sweet tooth.  Well, their light switch at least.  Remove the plate and cover with the fun and decorative colors, and reattach to the wall.

Disinfecting Wipe Tubes

A fun and handy way to store plastic bags, with the dispenser already in place for easy bag removal.  Cover the original container in patterned fabric to match your kitchen, and you can even leave it on display on the kitchen counter.

Plastic Wrap Tubes

Using empty plastic wrap tubes, create napkin rings for any occasion.  Cut the heavy duty tube into one inch sections and cover with scraps of fabric to reflect the season or occasion.

4×4 Wood Scraps

If you happen to live with a carpenter of sorts, you may find some varied sizes of wood blocks and rectangles that make great snowmen.  Trim the wood to be about 6 to 16 inches tall; vary the length if you would like several snowmen of various heights, being sure that at least one end will sit evenly on a flat surface.  Paint the blocks white.  Use scraps of fabric to create mini scarves and hats.  Use old buttons for mouths and eyes.  Finally, use an orange marker to draw a triangular carrot nose, or use an old piece of orange fabric.  These sturdy decorations will last for years to come.

Small Glass Jars

Create a fun and funky nightlight with old glass jars and glass beads.  For this simple project, turn the jar upside down.  Use hot glue to attach glass beads in the colors of your choice.  Keep the glass beads as close together as possible for the best effect.  Use the lid to hold a battery operated candle when you are finished!

Wine Bottles

Empty wine bottles make fun and unique candle displays, or even drinking glasses.  To create either of these, all you will need is yarn, nail polish remover, a lighter, sandpaper, and a sink full of ice water.  Braid or twist the yarn around the bottle where you would like to cut the glass and tie in a knot.  Cut away the loose ends.  Remove from the bottle and soak the yarn in nail polish remover until saturated, and put back on the bottle where you would like the glass to separate.  Very carefully hold each end of the bottle over ice water and light the yarn on fire.  It will be a small, controlled burn.  Let the yarn burn for 30-40 seconds while rotating slowly.  Immerse the bottle into the ice water and it will separate into two pieces.  Dry and sand the edges smooth!

Get creative with your recycling, and you can create items that you will use for years to come, or that you can give away as personalized gifts.