1. OLD FILE CABINETS: Before I left the school for Summer Vacation someone suggested to me that I should get rid of my old dodgy grey stained and chipped file cabinet. I considered it for a bit, but then realized that 1) it's huge and heavy, and 2) it's still useable, just ugly. So my focus narrowed to solution based path. How can I make this old ugly thing pretty enough to be displayed in my middle school classroom? And then I turned to Pinterest- because if someone's done it before, it will be on there. Quickly, I found the solution and the ugly "problem" became a creative project! View how-to steps here.
(Then, while at home in Boston for the Komen 60-mile walk, my uncle showed me his newly "upcycled" file cabinet and walked me through the revamp-process. He had used a citrus-based paint stripper and taken the paint off of his file cabinet first, and then sprayed it with a metal-specific spray paint.)
2. TANK TOPS: These can really pile up over the years! What better than to create a few more "totes" out of the material of things we might have donated anyway? There's a whole tutorial on how to do this, with step-by-step directions here.
3. CREATING ORGANIZED SPACES: I feel like every time I pin these awesome projects to my pinboard on Pinterest, I'm committing some future Saturday off to junk hunting or yard sale scoping, a trip to Home Depot to buy paint and sandpaper and often wonder if I'll ever get any of these projects done successfully. However, with this project in particular, I feel like these "rails" are everywhere to be found! Baby cribs, ladders, rungs from bannisters, crates...so this is my next project. I can use one for my things, and Tom could probably use one of these for his garage gear and tools! The tutorial to turn any "railing" into an overhead storage unit can be found here.
4. MAKE YOUR OWN CRAYONS! I have a couple of readers who have kids and probably have tons of broken crayons at home. Here's a solution! Using greased muffin tins (oven) or paper cups (outside in sun for a few hours) you can make new crayons out of the old broken crayons by remelting them! Directions here!
5. PET TOYS: Every time I go to the Pet Store to buy Science Diet cat food (because I'm a sucker for those cats) I also usually pick up the ten-count tailed fake mice. Lord knows where they all end up because a month later I can't find any of them, and I buy ten more. So this could be a whole project for a day for me, creating "cat nip" filled cloth balls. This project is pretty self-explanatory, using recycled "extra" materials from old clothes filling them with a squeaky toy or shaker, or cat nip, but if you need directions, head over here...
So there are a few of my favorite projects, but there are 100's of other ideas online if you google: upcycle project, or upcycle ideas. I just found this link today: 100 Amazing Upcycling Ideas Anyone Can Do, which has some more ideas.
If you missed my first "Upcycling" bog post check it out: Upcycling is the new Recycling!