They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But if you follow any of the ingenious ideas in this list, you can actually have both. Indeed, before you throw out old or broken household items, make sure that there’s no way to repurpose them first. After all, chances are that there’s something you can do with it. Whether it’s turning old plastic bags into a basket or using a push broom to organize your desk, trash rules!
20. Tin can planter
Instead of recycling your tin cans, try upcycling them instead. While they might not seem like the most attractive planters around, you can jazz them up with a little spray paint. Just remember to make some holes in the bottom for drainage. And don’t forget to do the same on both sides of any can you use for the hanging wire.
19. Teacup candles
If you have an old unused teacup lying around, you can easily repurpose it into something more useful. Simply grab a cheap candle, melt the wax into a pan, and then pour it into the cup. To make sure the wick stays in place while you pour, elevate it above the cup using a clothes peg. Once it’s set, you’ll have a charming teacup candle.
18. Broken mug key holder
Before you throw out those old, broken mugs, check whether the handles are still intact. If they are, and they’re also hollow, you could use them for key holders. Chip away any leftover ceramic at one end, leaving a little lip for the key to hang on to. Then, simply place the other end on to a nail in the wall and hang up your keys.
17. Coat hanger coat rack
Looking for a way to reuse old coat hangers? Why not try sawing one side off, then mounting them upside down on a plank of wood. Remember to make sure that they’re far enough apart to hold your desired number of hooks. And voila! You’ve just created an awesome, upcycled coat rack that will delight your guests. And the best part? It even gives you extra storage on top for bags, books or whatever you like.
16. Wine cork earrings
Even old wine corks can be made useful with the right application. For instance, you could slice them up, sand them down and use them as earrings by adding pins and wires. The examples pictured above have a delightful bee pattern, but it’s really up to you how you decorate them. The jewelry possibilities are endless…
15. Cupcake plate stand
Upcycling your old plates into a cupcake stand is bound to turn heads at any dinner party. And all you’ll need to pull it off is a central handle to hold them together. First, drill through the middles of the plates, marking out the location with tape. Then, simply assemble the stand, using washers to hold the plates in place.
14. Wine bottle jack-o-lanterns
Spice up your next Halloween party by adding a little flair to your wine bottles. To start, use masking tape to create stencils for the faces. Next, simply spray paint over them, adding several coats to ensure full coverage. Then, just peel away the masking tape, and you’re good to go. You could even spray the necks green before doing the rest – just make sure to tape over the top. That way, you can still drink the wine!
13. Water bottle flower bouquet
Real flowers take maintenance and won’t last forever, but these ones will. To make the petals, slice off the bases from plastic water bottles. You can then paint them whatever color you like, before pushing painted thumbtacks through the center. Finally, glue sticks make for great stalks – just bend them using a lighter to add more variation to your bouquet.
12. Tabasco bottle shot glass
Breaking a glass bottle in two may sound daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. Using a glass cutter, score a line around the bottle where you want it to break. Next, use thermal shock to gently prize the two sections apart. You can do this by rotating the line around a lit candle, and then dunking the bottle into ice water. Finally, sand down the presumably sharp rim of your awesome new shot glass.
11. Solar mason jar light
Got some spare mason jars lying around? Put them to good use by turning them into mood lighting for your garden. Indeed, all you need to do is glue solar lights into the lids. But not before you’ve made holes for the on/off switch, LED, and a wire hanger. Then, hang them up outside and let them charge during the day. At night, they’ll light up.
10. Plastic bag basket
If you’re anything like us, you have dozens of plastic bags just lying around. Luckily, you’ll never have to put up with that clutter again, thanks to this ingenious basket. Simply cut the bags into four-inch wide strips, fold them over, and then braid them into a tight rope. Coil it around to make the base. And then braid more strips for the sides of the basket, sewing each one into place.
9. Picture frame earring display
Show your earrings some love by hanging them up in an old picture frame. All you need is some picture wire, which you can then attach to the back of the frame. Hang your jewelry up, and you’re good to go. Yes, it’s really that simple. And for that extra vintage touch, you could even paint the frame to give it a distressed look.
8. Planter herb markers
If you’ve got any cracked clay plant pots lying around, there’s no need to throw them out. After all, they make for great herb markers, so you can easily identify what you’ve got growing in your garden. And they’ll even keep things separated. Just break them down to size to use as a buffer in front of each patch, and then write your labels on.
7. Jewelry magnets
Being old and broken doesn’t have to spell the end for your favorite jewelry. Indeed, grab a few small magnets and your bracelets or necklaces can live on. Just arrange them however you like and glue the magnets to their backs. Then, pop them on your fridge or another magnetic surface to brighten up your home without breaking the bank.
6. Globe bowls
The world map changes just often enough that any old globes you have lying around are probably outdated. But before you dispose of them entirely, try repurposing them into something more useful, such as bowls. Simply prize the two halves apart with a knife, and then glue each one on to a wooden base. After the glue has dried, fill them with whatever décor you like.
5. Chair back clothes hangers
Even bits of old chairs can be reused if you think outside the box. And it doesn’t have to be endlessly complex – in fact, all these innovative clothes hangers require is the hook. Indeed, simply insert it into the wood and you’re good to go. Just make sure the shape of the chair will actually hold your clothes first, of course…
4. Ladder bookshelf
With the addition of a few planks of wood, you can turn old ladders into an awesome, quirky bookshelf. It doesn’t just have to be industrial-strength metal ladders, either. Indeed, pretty much any set of portable steps will do the trick, at any size. And you can even mix it up further by mounting them upside down on the wall.
3. Push broom desk organizer
Being old and worn doesn’t necessarily spell the end for a broom head. Indeed, if you clean it thoroughly, it can become a great organizer for that desktop clutter. You’ll need a box to put it in, which you can customize to your liking. Then, simply pop it on your desk and push in some pencils, pens, scissors and other stationery.
2. Fork wall hooks
This hanging solution is arguably better than using actual hooks, because you don’t need to hammer anything into anywhere. Indeed, just push two nails into the wall, then slide a fork down over them – the prongs will hold it in place. A cheaper, older fork will also bend more easily, perfect for hanging up your coat or a picture frame.
1. Plastic spoon lampshade
To make this quirky lampshade, snip the handles off of a bunch of plastic spoons, and the neck from a large plastic water jug. Then, simply glue the spoons to the jug in a layered pattern, before threading the bulb through the bottle top. Indeed, it’s a great way to upcycle old plastic items, rather than throwing them away.