You may have heard the phrase “upcycling” on a podcast or TV, but you may not be familiar with the relatively new concept. Brightly.eco defines upcycling as “to recycle or reuse something in a way that increases the original object’s value. In other words, upcycling is taking something old and creating something new.” It’s an easy concept that also has a lot of benefits. Not only do you not have to say goodbye to items you’ve loved for years but no longer have a use for, but you’re also benefitting the planet by not adding to the world’s trash problem.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “the total generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018 was 292.4 million tons” in the United States alone. That’s a lot of waste. By upcycling, you’re helping to reduce the amount of waste created and giving new use to your special items. Here’s how you can easily upcycle your accessories.
You probably have some old scarves for women that are just not the style anymore. Or, you may even have some old scarves that are too tattered to wear (but too cozy to throw away!). If you know the basics of sewing, you can simply sew a few old scarves together to create a big scarf blanket that you can use when snuggling up on the couch with your family or while sitting around an outdoor bonfire with your neighbors.
While this may not be the most fashionable blanket in your collection of blankets and throws, you can still make it a cute blanket by sewing together scarves that complement each other. For example, you could try creating a plaid blanket using only old scarves with a plaid print. Or, you can sew together scarves of a similar color, like shades of red, to make a pretty blanket. No matter what you decide to do, you’ll be getting some added use out of those scarves from a few seasons ago.
Sparkly Christmas ornaments are a favorite for many during the holiday season. If you find you need some different ornaments for your Christmas tree, you can make some instead of going to the store to buy them. You can use old jewelry (although, you probably should not use fine jewelry for this project) to create Christmas ornaments that dangle and sparkle. You can glue together some of your unwanted earrings, necklaces and bracelets to create a pretty design that you’ll be excited to show off. Once this is done, you can attach your creation to a Christmas ornament hook.
If you have a pair of knit winter gloves that don’t fit you, your partner or your kids anymore, turn them into a cute stuffed animal. There are many tutorials online for this easy craft, but all you need is a pair of old knit gloves, polyester craft stuffing, and some sewing gear. From there, you can create a cute stuffed toy for your kids, your grandchildren or another child in your life. It’s a nice way to give another life to our old knit gloves—and the gift receiver is bound to be impressed that you made their new favorite toy.
If you have a baseball hat that you’re tempted to throw away, you can instead turn it into an almost-new hat. Get a few patches to iron onto the surface—this will create a new-and-improved hat that you’ll be excited to wear with your flannel shirts or favorite T-shirts.
You can find iron-on patches from craft stores throughout the area, and patches come in all different styles. You can spell out your name using iron-on patches, get a patch that celebrates your favorite sports team or get patches that represent your go-to hobby, whether that’s gardening or bird-watching.
Tie-dyeing is a fun way to give new life to some of your old cotton accessories. These can be a pair of white socks, a light-colored cotton scarf, a plain tote bag or a white cotton belt. By adding some pops of color to these items, they’ll look as good as new and will be an exciting item to grab when you’re heading out for your day. Plus, this is a great way to disguise any stains or discoloring that are known to appear on accessories that have been in rotation for years.
If your old accessories are no longer serving a purpose (and are instead just cluttering your closet), you can turn them into as-good-as-new items with some simple upcycling projects.