8 Affordable DIY Upcycle Projects For Your Home

diy upcycle projects on a budget for your home

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Upcyle projects anyone?  Are you living on a tight budget? Looking for some uniqe pieces for your home without spending a paycheck and a half ? Upcycle projects have been at an all time high the past few years.  People are grabbing stuff out of trash piles, out of their basements and curbside. 

An upcycle project can be as elaborate as you want or as simple as what’s in your stash.  The one thing that is for sure is it’s certain to be uniquely you and affordable.  Hey, get your skills on and you can upcycle and re-sell!

affordable and adorable upcycle projects for your home

Affordable Upcycle Projects For Your Home 

Upcycle projects always catch my attention. I’m in awe of the new life a creative eye and touch can bring to a simple every day object.  We’re all artists in one way or another and sometimes we just need a teensy bit of inspiration.

Chair to Sidetable

diy upcycled chair

Corks into Planters

diy upcycled cork succulents

Tires into Table

diy upcycled rope and tire table

Gumball Machine into Art

diy upcycled gumball machine home decor art

Dresser Drawer into Coffee Table

diy drawer

Plastic Flower Pots into Decor

upcycle flower pots

Desk into Vanity 

upcycle desk

Wine Jug into Vase  or Money Jug in disguise!

upcycle wine jug

Some of these would seriously be pieces of Art in your home!  I can even see some being hot sellers at fairs and online yard sale sites or even an Etsy shop or Ebay!  Upcycle your home on pennies or if you truly love re-creating and repurposing old items there is definitely a market out there with a wold of buyers waiting to see your talents!

What Are The Best Items To Upcycle?

The world produces an astonishing amount of waste each year. In fact, according to UN estimates, humans produce more than 7 billion tons (that’s 6.3 million metric tons) worth $99 trillion annually. And much of this goes into our garbage dumps where it sits until eventually decomposing into methane gas — one of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth.

Methane has been implicated as playing a role in climate change, so reducing its production is critical. But there’s another reason why many environmentalists have started turning their attention toward recycling and reusing instead of simply sending things off to be incinerated or sent to the landfill: It saves money.

According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, if Americans reused all their scrap metals rather than send them to traditional landfills, they could save about 3 percent of the energy needed to make those same metals again. Plus, when you think about how often something like clothing gets thrown away because it no longer fits, it becomes clear just how much stuff ends up wasted every day.

As long as these throwaway items can still serve useful functions, they’re good candidates for being turned into other things. That’s what makes upcycling such a big deal today.

In short, upcycling refers to any process whereby existing material resources are converted into different forms. The goal isn’t always to get rid of the original item entirely but to turn it into a product with greater value than before. This concept was first coined in 1979 during a conference held in Switzerland called “Resources, Environment, Technology.”

Since then, scientists and designers alike have looked for creative ways to improve upon everyday consumer goods using less raw materials while also improving sustainability overall. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by repurposing older household or office supplies, which typically go straight into the trash bin anyway.

Not only does upcycling reduce costs and help us cut down on wasteful practices, but it also helps promote environmental awareness and stewardship.

Read on to learn about 9 of the most common household items that are perfect candidates for upcycling.

1. Reusing Old Clothes

Clothes can easily become outdated over time, but even after years of wear, they don’t necessarily need to sit around collecting dust. Many companies offer services that allow customers to sell their worn clothing online through sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

If you want to take your wardrobe to the next level instead of selling it, try creating custom outfits out of vintage pieces or buying secondhand designer duds. You might not find the latest trends right away, but chances are you’ll discover hidden gems once you start digging deeper.

For example, you may notice that certain colors tend to come back into style more than others — perhaps red suits will come back better than blue.

2. Recycled-content Furniture

If you’ve ever seen pictures of beautiful wooden palettes covered in broken china figurines, you know how cool it looks to incorporate collectibles into home decor. What you probably didn’t realize is that lots of manufacturers now source wood from sustainable forests.

Most of these sources provide jobs and income for local communities, too. Some examples include American Forests’ Certified Sustainable Hardwood program, Forest Stewardship Council certification programs, and Wood Partners International. While you won’t be able to buy authentic antique Chinese dishes in bulk anytime soon, you can give your living room a classy update without breaking the bank.

Just head to Craigslist or Facebook to see listings for gently used furniture. Once you’ve found your dream piece, consult a retailer who specializes in reclaimed materials to figure out what kind of refinishing work needs to be done. Then, hit the market looking!

3. Upcycled Jewelry

When you think of precious stones, rings are usually the last thing that comes to mind. After all, diamonds have historically served two purposes: They were valuable commodities traded among royalty and wealthy merchants, and they helped secure unions between couples engaged to marry.

Today, however, the price tag on top quality gemstones keeps climbing higher and higher. So unless you intend to pass along your beloved rock to your daughter someday, consider making her favorite necklace out of recycled glass beads. Or maybe you’d prefer to donate your old earrings to someone else?

Check out Earthing.com, a charity dedicated to giving discarded earring posts and backs to women who lost them in hospitals.

4. Bamboo Toothbrushes

Most of us grew accustomed to plastic dental floss dispensers filled with colorful little sticks during childhood, but did you know that you can actually recycle those very same strands? Manufacturers use bamboo plants to harvest their strongest fibers, which they then convert into yarns that can later be woven together into durable cloth.

These eco-friendly toothbrush covers are becoming increasingly popular in Europe, Asia and Australia. To ensure that your own teeth stay healthy, invest in a high-quality natural toothbrush designed specifically for sensitive gums.

Choose one made from bamboo, hemp or sea grass. Once you start brushing regularly, you should begin to notice healthier breath and fewer cavities!

5. Recycled Paper Plates And Cups

It seems silly to bring extra disposable dinnerware to picnics, parties and potlucks, especially since restaurants already supply everyone with single-use utensils. However, before tossing them in the trash, ask yourself whether you really need to carry a dozen flat surfaces to the supermarket.

Take advantage of modern technology and order refillable mason jar sets directly from businesses like Home Depot or Target. Fill ’em up whenever you run low on napkins or condiments, and enjoy dining al fresco in comfort knowing that you never need to purchase anything new.

6. Jars Used For Pickles, Jelly, & Sauces

Pickling spice mixes and jams are delicious staples of summertime cooking, but what happens to those empty glass bottles afterwards? Although manufacturers claim that 95 percent of all plastics currently produced end up polluting oceans, rivers and lakes within five years, experts say throwing them away isn’t necessary.

Instead, salvage the containers and transform them into decorative vases and candle holders.

You may also choose to fill them with herbs, flowers or spices to add color and flavor to indoor arrangements.

Visit Craftzine.com to browse hundreds of projects created with various types of jars, including wine bottle planters, terrarium kits and succulent gardens.

7. Plastic Bags From Grocery Stores

While shopping for groceries is fun, having to haul everything home in multiple heavy sacks definitely takes a toll on your arms, shoulders and lower back. Before disposing of them, though, stop to reconsider the true purpose behind these ubiquitous packaging options.

Did you know that plastic grocery bags contain chemicals known as phthalates? Studies show that exposure to phthalate levels above 50 micrograms per liter raise sperm counts in men and alter fetal development in female fetuses. By contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe limits to be 100 micrograms per liter for adults and children younger than six months old.

Opt for reusable totes or washout cloth bags instead.

8. Scrap Metal

Whether you live near factories or a mining community, odds are pretty strong that you’ve got plenty of junk lying around. Donating unwanted electrical wires to schools will provide students with practical skills for future careers, while nonferrous metals like copper, aluminum and brass can be sold to recyclers to generate cash.

Otherwise, you can melt down large chunks of metal and extract their iron content for crafting purposes.

Try converting scraps of steel wire into potholders or pliers, or whip up your own set of DIY bangle bracelets out of leftover bits of chain maille rope. Head to Instructables.com to explore dozens of tutorials on how to strip, weld and bend metal to fit your individual tastes.

9. Tote Bins Made Out Of Milk Jugs

Instead of spending loads of money on fancy travel luggage, why not opt for a cheaper alternative: A sturdy cardboard box lined inside with waxed canvas fabric. Add handles, drawstring ties and feet, and voila — instant suitcase!

Milk carton boxes are especially handy for keeping small appliances clean and protected, plus they double as adorable storage units for linens and towels. Look for bargains on Amazon or eBay, or visit the Container Store to shop for larger quantities.

If you’re looking for some more fabulous upcycle ideas like these or diy home ideas like these no sew curtains or no sew pillows, we’ve got you covered and with more coming all the time!

I’m excited to share stuff like this with you for so many reasons and hope you find something exciting to dive into!

Thanks bunches for stopping by, we love having you here!

Matt R

Hi, my name is Matt and I'm the founder of Barefoot Budgeting. This site is dedicated to one thing... helping you budget and save money.

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