With the passing of the holidays and the start of the New Year, many of us find ourselves wanting to do a little household tidying. Do you have a closet filled with items you no longer use? If you’re like us, it may include things like a box of faded t-shirts, a cache of cassettes with music from the 80s, and a few offbeat tchotchkes rescued from the second-hand store. Before you pull out those garbage bags, take a peek at all of the things you can do with your long-lost treasures. All it takes is a little inspiration to turn these seemingly useless objects into exciting conversation pieces of creativity.
Use this list to find 50 upcycling ideas to get inspiration to start a project of your own. You may be surprised at how much fun it is to reinvent products and imbue your favorite things with new life.
1. Turn Adult Socks Into Toddler Leggings
Adult socks can find a new use as toddler leggings. Sew 4 Bub provides step-by-step sewing instructions to make these pants for your little one. Don’t let a little sewing scare you. It doesn’t require advanced sewing chops and the process is a lot faster than it looks. Get the instructions for Toddler Leggings.
2. Use a Cassette Case to Hold a Gift Card
Chances are, you no longer have much use for that stack of old cassette tapes, let alone the cases that hold them. But, did you know they are the perfect size for holding gift cards? The next time you need to wrap a gift card, try this clever tutorial from Mod Podge Rocks. With any luck, people won’t even recognize the original container. Get the instructions for a Cassette Tape Gift Card Holder.
3. A Dish Rack Makes a Handy File Folder
Refurbish an unused dish rack to organize file folders on your desk. Brenda of Cozy Little House customizes tab folders to match her red dish rack. You’ll be surprised at how naturally this piece of kitchen equipment can fit into your home office. Get the instructions for a Dish Rack File Folder.
4. Transform Eyeglasses Into a Photo Frame
Don’t toss last year’s eyeglasses! Take a note from Ashley’s Thrifty Living and repurpose them as adorable photo frames. Ashley used three pairs of glasses to frame six photos by arranging them in a shadow box. Complete this clever DIY project and display memories that stand out on the shelf. Get the instructions for Eyeglasses Photo Frames.
5. Restore Aged Windows to Display Art
If you’re one of the rare few who happens to have an old window lying around then you’re in luck! Lynn of Shabby Story shows how she used a reclaimed window to add character to her home. The end result is gorgeous! Get the instructions for a Window Display Case.
6. Create a Sewing Kit from an Eyeglass Case
Turn your old eyeglass case into a practical sewing repair kit. Follow this tutorial from Tea Rose Home to put a new cover on the case and add a pincushion that fits inside. Create multiple kits and store them around the house, in your car, or even in your purse for those fashion emergencies. Get the instructions for an Eyeglass Case Sewing Kit.
7. Gather Vintage Brooches for a Bouquet
Old, broken pieces of jewelry and brooches seem to pile up in our jewelry boxes over time, without us even realizing it. It’s time to dig all of those out. Shannon at Fancy Pants Weddings shows a beautiful new use for those pieces by introducing the brooch bouquet. If you’re looking for a spin on a traditional Wedding bouquet, these brooches can be combined with real flowers too. You could even have your something old, new, borrowed, and blue all in one crafty and beautiful bouquet. Get the instructions for a Brooch Bouquet.
8. Repurpose Telephone Handsets as Bookends
Many folks have ditched their landline for a cell phone. If you’re one of them you might have an unused telephone or two lying around. Take a tip from A Beautiful Mess and use them to make adorable bookends. This project doesn’t take a lot of materials or effort, and you’ll love the way old books and old technology can live together in harmony on your shelf. Get the instructions for Telephone Bookends.
9. Reinvent Toilet Paper Rolls as Art
Save toilet paper rolls and set aside some time with the kiddos to create this fun art project from Growing Up Creative. Who knew there could be such a high-end use for something as simple as a cardboard cylinder? You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how beautifully these turn out. Get the instructions for Toilet Paper Roll Art.
10. Fashion a Produce Bag Into a Beach Tote
While it’s not necessarily a new use for a produce bag, this reconstructed beach bag is certainly a good example of how to extend the bag’s use. The Adventures of Giddy Giddy demonstrates how to sew a produce bag to the bottom of a canvas tote. This gives the original tote more space and eliminates the problem of all that pesky sand getting into the bottom of your bag. Get the instructions for a Produce Beach Bag.