Thursday, September 28, 2017

Up-cycling - Frugal and Fun Ideas

I LOVE to up-cycle things.  I am the queen of "don't throw that away"!
I love trying to make something new out of something old.  Many gifts and home d├ęcor projects can be the result of up-cycling.

JEANS - old worn out jeans can be made into all kinds of things.  You can make wine bags from the legs, quilts, pillows, lap throws, purses, pot holders, garden aprons, draft stoppers for your doors,cell phone holders, kitchen aprons, etc..  They can also be cut into strips and made into rag rugs.  There is really no limit to what you make with old jeans.

cell phone holders

OLD SWEATERS - can be made into mittens, stuffed animals and pet beds.  They can also be unwound and the yarn used for a new project.

OLD T-SHIRTS - Can be cut into cute eternity scarves, made into quilts and pillows, pet toys, painting/gardening shirts, etc..  They can also be cut into strips and braided to make rag rugs.
Transform and large t-shirt into a cute and simple skirt.  Simply cut below the sleeves - turn down a hem and add elastic - easy-peasy skirt!!!!!
Cut large t-shirts into children's jammies.

ADULT CLOTHES  - shirts and dresses, etc. can be cut down and remade into children's clothes, doll clothes, or the material used in quilts.

OLD TOWELS - make wash cloths, bibs, placemats, dish towels, stuffed animals, or bath mat.

CARD FRONTS - recycle card fronts to make gift tags, copy parts of old card or glue onto index cards for home made recipe cards, use in kid's art, copy onto paper to make stationary.
Frame into wall art.

OLD PICTURE FRAMES/WINDOWS - make great accent pieces on walls for family gallery.  Paint several frames the same color and use as wall art (they can be empty).  Frame advertisements or postcards for art. 
Add chicken wire or cork board and use for message boards or jewelry holders

Cool old frame with old knobs added - pictures and coat rack all in one.  Old door knobs would look cool too.

INCOMPLETE PUZZLES OR GAMES - use puzzles pieces or game pieces (like Yahtzee) and glue on picture frames.  Puzzle pieces can be left as is - or painted a solid color.  Makes for a unique picture frame.

FAMILY PICTURES - copy on paper and decopauge onto lamp shades, bottles, jars, etc.  You can add sand and tea light candles to jars to light pictures.  Family pictures can also be copied onto transfer paper and ironed onto fabric - for a very personal  pillow or quilt.
Make cards or postcards from old pictures.

VINTAGE LINENS - use old linens that have some stains or rips and re-invent them into quilts, pillow, valances, table runners, aprons,  even clothing.

Pretty little vest that I was gifted years ago.  All kinds of vintage linens incorporated onto it.

ROCKS - this is the newest fad.  Paint smooth rocks into animals, or paint sayings or pictures.  Can be left at random places for someone to find, can be incorporated into flowers beds or flower pots, can make framed pictures from them, make into magnets or paper weights, etc..

OLD DOOR KNOBS OR HARDWARE - look cool made into coat/clothing racks, added as accents, curtain tie backs etc.

SHEET MUSIC OR OLD BOOKS that are beyond salvage - can be copied into stationary, framed, made into cards, etc.
The same can be done with CHILDREN'S ART.

There is just no end to the things that can be up-cycled. 
We all use normal household items in different ways.  Keeping containers to give leftovers away, using jars and such for storage, foil covered eat trays for candy/sweets gifting, etc.

This might give you a few ideas of things you can do around your home to save a few dollars OR gifts that you can make for Christmas, that won't break the bank.




  1. My grandchildren just painted rocks last night. I love the apron made out of jeans and the pillow is so pretty. Great ideas!

    1. Vickie so many of the rocks I have seen are so stinkin' cute!
      Thanks - hopefully some ideas some can use.

  2. My favorite thing to upcycle is good, sturdy scrub shirts. They make the best cloth pads and are so durable. I love using them instead of buying new fabric. Saves so much money. :)

  3. Cheryl, Love the post. I remember painted rocks from when I was a kid, many moons ago!
    I like the jean apron too.

    1. Thanks. Hey, the painted rocks are back!!! Everything comes back around.
      I am thinking about making the jean apron.

  4. I use old doona covers and sheets and make clothing or household items from them. old towels make wonderful wadding in quilting projects. It makes sewing for clothing and the home a real option. However my absolute favourite upcycled task that I have done was to make a patchwork slip cover for an old reading chair that I inherited. The chair was in good condition but the covering, whilst not worn out at all, really did not suit my home. New slip cover for the chair and the foot rest and I have a lovely reading chair that is bright, colourful and fits my home beautifully.

    1. Jane how wonderful that you could update and use a lovely heirloom. I bet that is beautiful.

      There are just so many things we can all do to spruce up our hoes with a little effort and very little money.
      Thanks for the ideas.

  5. I love all the jean ideas I see on Pinterest and other places but have yet to make something! Have some different projects started though that aren't jeans and need to keep working! Nancy

    1. Nancy that is y problem. I see so many things I love and "should" make - then I just don't get around to it.
      Glad I am not alone!

  6. Thanks for the ideas! They are so cute! I always wanted to make a jean quilt or turn some of my Dad's shirts into a quilt for my son. I have never made a quilt before though, but perhaps if it was a simple one...sounds like a good winter time project.
    Hope you have a great weekend.

    1. Kathy a jeans quilt or shirt quilt would be quite easy to piece. Make dozens and dozens of same size squares and sew together. Use fleece, blanket, or something heavier on back.
      I am NO quilter but have made several for family and friends. YOU CAN DO IT!
      Have a good weekend.

  7. You've shared some really neat ideas! We all need them to get ready for Christmas.
    Thank you so much for encouraging me so much as I go through cancer.

    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Ah Laura I just want you to get better. I pray for you daily for complete and total healing.

      Yes, the holidays will be here before we know it.
      God bless

  8. Replies
    1. You'll probably be keeping plenty busy!!!! Tis the season.

  9. Lovely post! Today I saved three pairs of flannel pj pants my daughter was getting rid of. It was in relaly cute prints. Some will become heat packs and others little soft hankerchiefs for my Gtand daughters! xxx

    1. Thank you. Great idea for re-using the flannel. There are so many things we can up-cycle and not spend money on.
      Have a great day.

  10. I love all these ideas! My grandkids have been painting rocks with their other grandma a lot and they love it. Great ideas for the vintage linens also. I have lots of them around here.