From Trash to Treasure: 15 Amazing Upcycled DIYs

Recycling might be an easy way to be green, but upcycling is often more fun. Just ask these crafty bloggers, who impressed us with their ability to transform useless or unwanted products into stylish and functional home decor. Their creative do-it-yourself tutorials will inspire you to bypass the trash and repurpose your next broken, damaged, or neglected household item into a new, innovative treasure.

Thrifted Jewelry Tower

Inspired by thrift store finds, Christy, a self-proclaimed "serial DIYer," crafted this upcycled jewlery storage tower for less than $4. The aqua dishes were the impetus for the DIY project, and with minimal elbow grease, she attached them to a single cleaned-up candlestick. Now her everyday jewelry is beautifully contained and at arm's reach on her dresser.

Animal Toy Planter

Don't take your succulents so seriously! This upcycled animal planter from the blogging duo at Freckle and Fair is the perfect DIY for green thumbs with a sense of humor. Simply paint a plastic toy animal, cut a hole for a mini pot, and you're basically done. These succulent planters look particularly cheeky in neon and gold.

Bottle Oil Lanterns

Serving soda or sparkling water at a party? Save the empty glass bottles (and the screw caps!) to repurpose as oil lanterns for your next shindig. This tutorial from blogger Mariko Giverink for SheKnows takes about five minutes and includes several noteworthy tips, including filling the bottles with citronella oil if you'll be using them outside.

Leather Jewelry Organizer

We know how disappointing it is to damage your leather handbag (real or faux) beyond repair. However, you can preserve its memory by upcycling the sumptuous material into a boho chic jewelry organizer like Marlene of Idle Hands Awake. Your off-duty earrings will hang in style, and you'll smile knowing you were able to repurpose your bag's beautiful leather.

Suitcase Side Table

Showcase your wanderlust spirit by turning a vintage suitcase into a storage-friendly side table or nightstand. Claire of the DIY blog Pillar Box Blue walks you through the steps of lining the inside of the suitcase and attaching legs to the bottom. She even offers free printable luggage tags and hotel stickers to cover up any visible damage on an old piece of luggage while adding a bit of international flair.


    Earring Hair Pins

    Boring bobby pins take a glamorous turn in this stylish tutorial from Rachel of The Crafted Life. Like the creative DIYer, you can repurpose broken earrings into a pair of jeweled hair clips using supplies you probably already have in your crafts stash and -- surprise! -- makeup cabinet. Can you guess what she used to paint these bedazzled barrettes?

    Wine Bottle Drinking Glasses

    We love the idea of turning meaningful bottles of wine into usable drinking glasses rather than keeping the empty bottles on a shelf to collect dust. According to Patti from Garden Matter, removing the labels from wine bottles is the most challenging step of this upcycled DIY. Cutting the glass is relatively simple thanks to an inexpensive tool that's available specifically for the job.

    Ceramic Tile Magnets

    On their blog Alice and Lois, crafty sisters Sara and Melissa offer an elegant alternative to kitschy souvenir magnets: tumbled ceramic tile magnets. Although you might not want your kids handling the industrial-strength adhesive needed for this upcycled DIY, small children will enjoy helping by sorting through pottery pieces and picking their favorites shapes and colors.

    Board Game Wall Clock

    Reimagining a retro board game as a colorful wall clock is an unexpected way to pay homage to a childhood pastime. If you don't have any vintage boards to upcycle, you're likely to find a few old-school favorites at local garage sales. Best of all, the boards don't need to be in pristine condition. Sarah of Sadie Seasongoods turned a water-damaged Parcheesi board into this playful timepiece, perfect for a kid's bedroom, a man cave, or a rec room.


      Candle Chandelier

      Light fixtures are an easy way to make an outside space feel like an indoor room, especially if you repurpose one that used to hang in your house. When Corey of Hey There Home replaced her dining room chandelier, she removed the wiring from the old one and turned it into an outdoor fixture with candles. The upcycled chandelier took on a completely new personality after a few coats of lime green paint and some flickering tea lights.

      Mint Tin Game

      In this upcycled DIY project from Amy of Maker Mama, an empty mint tin becomes a portable mini chalkboard for on-the-go Tic-Tac-Toe and other travel games. All it takes is a tiny tub of paint to transform the pocket-size metal container, which also happens to be the perfect shape for storing sticks of chalk.


        Flip-Flop Coasters

        Like footwear for your stemware, these upcycled coasters from Lindsay of Shrimp Salad Circus protect your table from watermarks while adding a bit of whimsy to your party decor. Recycle a few pairs of inexpensive flip flops this summer to make seasonally-appropriate accessories for your favorite poolside beverages. Then admire your handiwork while enjoying your margarita!

        Birthday Card Gift Boxes

        One way to keep old birthday cards out of the recycling bin is to save them in a memory book. Another is to follow Emma from Gathering Beauty's easy tutorial and turn them into small gift boxes for jewelry, trinkets, or candy. This upcycled DIY requires only a ruler, pencil, paper cutter, and glue -- plus a few greeting cards, of course.

        Repurposed Chalkboard Drawer

        This one might be our favorite on the list! Before you throw out a broken drawer or get rid of one you no longer need, check out this DIY craft. You can make arguably the cutest mini chalkboard we've ever seen. Homeroad is the genius behind this DIY that looks much more complicated than it actually is! Thank goodness for chalkboard paint, right? Get to it! Your kids will love this one too.

        Denim Napkins

        This one is really unexpected. Bet you'd never thought to make napkins out of your old jeans! But we love this idea, if only because we're daydreaming about the totally adorable table we'd set with these casual chic touches. The next time a member of your house rips, stains, or outgrows a pair of jeans, don't throw them out. Take a page out of The Pocket Stylist's book and add an edge to your table settings!

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