D.I.Y. Upcycling

Upcycling is converting waste materials or useless things into something new and better than what they were before.

It’s extremely sustainable to upcycle as it skips the energy needs and efforts required to recycle and of course it still keeps materials away from landfill by giving them a new life.

I just love the fact that with a little imagination you can turn something unwanted and discarded into a unique masterpiece.

Just think of the very basic properties of things around you: jars can hold jam just as they can hold buttons or paper clips, a piece of material can cover something or cat be sewn into something else, cut up…

I’m really not that good at building things or arts and crafts but I managed to upcycle 2 things recently:

Lime pickle Jar

Up to a few weeks ago I kept my cotton wool in the plastic bag it comes in from the shop, hanging in the bathroom. Not a great sight. So I was wondering how I could keep some cotton wool in the bathroom without that plastic eyesore.

I love lime pickle and the Sharwood’s brand one comes in a really lovely shaped jar. I decided to wash it and reuse it.

I had some old nail varnish that had gone a bit gloopy and was no longer suitable for painting my nails so I painted the jar’s lid with it. Here is the result!

Upcycling a lime pickle jar into a cotton wool holder

Definitely nicer than a plastic bag! It’s very simple and I like it 🙂

The second object I upcycled was my electronic dictionary box. When I bought it in China I thought this sturdy box would be great to reuse, I therefore shipped it back to the U.K. together with other China goodies and, after 3 years, I finally carried out my plan and covered it with some really beautiful thick wrapping paper.

Box and wrapping paper

The wrapping paper came from a birthday present my boyfriend gave me so that too was upcycled.

Upcycled colourful box

Now I just need to think what to put in it.

Cheese grater? Pencil holder!

Isn’t this a cool idea? This picture comes from a very interesting article on the innovation diaries about how upcycling is actually better than recycling.

Interesting sites:


Upcycle magazine


The Guardian fashion from cast offs

Do you upcycle? Do you have any upcycling suggestions or idea?

24 thoughts on “D.I.Y. Upcycling

  1. Pingback: Upcycle Me « Gnomes of Gnowledge

  2. Hi,
    I really like this post! Pretty things and saving the environment – what more could you want? I upcycled a disused gold brocade curtain that had been slapped over a junked old fridge at our old flat into my beautiful gold brocade wedding dress. I just had to add some (rummaged for) lace cutout repeats for trims, and some new gold glass beads. That was about all our budget allowed for, so it was doubly beautiful.


    • Hello again 🙂
      You know, I’ve had a really good quality jumper that I’ve been wanting to turn into a cushion for a while but just haven’t done it yet! That’s another great idea! Thanks so much for the pictures, I’m definitely going to do that too now! x


  3. Pingback: The Art of Upcyling: Mr Brainwash and More Inspiration | GreenTrails&TeapotTales

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