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30 Upcycling Ideas: The Ultimate List

Sep 29, 2019

From DIY upcycled decor ideas to artisan-made gifts, we’ve put together a list of the ultimate upcycling ideas to help you feel inspired. 

The following upcycling project ideas are perfect for beginners; you’ll just need a few simple materials and plenty of enthusiasm to get started.


Easy Upcycling Ideas

1. Colander hanging baskets 

If your kitchen colanders have seen better days, don’t just throw them away! With a bit of creativity and a bright splash of paint, colanders can make the perfect hanging baskets for houseplants. 


upcycling idea inspiration

2. Mason jar lanterns

When it comes to simple upcycling ideas, these mason jar lanterns are one of our favourites; not only are they easy to make, they also add a stunning finishing touch to parties, weddings or any other outdoor event. 


3. Teacup candles 

Whether you’ve found a lonely teacup in a thrift store or at the back of your cupboard, you can save chipped crockery from the landfill by upcycling it into a chic candle holder.


tea cup candle upcycling idea

4. Upcycled jewellery frame 

Give your favourite jewellery pieces pride of place by creating your own upcycled jewellery frame, guaranteed to add an antique vibe to any room.


5. Upcycled wine bottles

If you’re a wine connoisseur looking for upcycled decor ideas, you’ll love this simple way to reuse old wine bottles! 

An empty wine bottle can make the perfect table centrepiece, either as a vase for flowers or as a candle holder. If you’re feeling seriously inspired, you could even create this impressive chandelier out of upcycled wine bottles. 

upcycled win bottle

6. Old shirt pillowcase

If your favourite shirt has seen better days, give it a new lease of life by upcycling it into a one-of-kind pillowcase. 

Although you can make a pillowcase in several different ways, we love this incredibly easy no-sew method.


7. Upcycled denim rug  

You might already have heard that the garment industry is responsible for a huge amount of environmental pollution and waste; to find out more, you can read our blog on the subject.

Because of the environmental impact of garment manufacturing, it’s important to reuse and get the most of all our clothing items, including old jeans and denim. The sturdy nature of denim means that it can be used to create a unique upcycled rug, and you can mix and match different shades of denim for a stunning result. 


8. Cork coasters

    If you’re after for a creative way to reuse old wine corks, we think these easy DIY coasters are just perfect!


    9. Mason jar terrarium 

    Want to bring some nature inside? Making a terrarium in an old mason jar (or any glass jar) is a great DIY upcycling idea to keep kids (and big kids) entertained on a rainy afternoon.


    10. Upcycled cans 

    Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and that’s certainly the case with these upcycled, brightly painted cans. This tutorial shows you how to turn trash into treasure in a few simple steps


    more upcycling idea inspiration

    Upcycled home decor ideas 

    Upcycling is a great way to add personal and unique touches to our homes, whilst also reducing waste and being kinder to our planet.

    Whether you’re an experienced upcycle or just starting, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite upcycling ideas for the home to help you feel inspired:


    11. Painted furniture 

    If you’re after some upcycled decor ideas, restoring old furniture can be a great place to start.

    A splash of paint can have a transformative effect on an old piece of furniture, saving you cash and helping the environment at the same time. If you’re looking for some tips on how to get started, take a look at this step-by-step guide to upcycling an old chest of drawers.


    12. Reupholstered furniture 

    If you’re feeling like a more ambitious furniture project, reupholstering old furniture is another upcycling hack to make an old sofa or chair look as good as new. 


    13. Wooden crate shelves 

    Old wooden crates might seem like junk, but they’re perfect for plenty of different DIY upcycling projects. 

    With these versatile wooden crates, the upcycling potential is endless, we love these impressive ‘floating’ shelves


    14. DIY garden bench 

    Save an ancient bed frame from the skip by transforming it into rustic garden furniture.


    15. Vintage suitcase makeover

    Vintage suitcases can be spruced up to become a fantastic centrepiece to a room, and also are a great storage option. Here’s a great step-by-step guide to giving an old suitcase a new, fresh look.


    16. DIY record clock

    This one is for music lovers! You may already know that vinyl is back in a big way, so why not give your space a retro nod with this by upcycled record clock


    17. Funky filing cabinet

    Filing cabinets might be useful, but they aren’t the most attractive storage solution out there. Turn this so-so storage space into something to be proud of with the help of some wallpaper.


    18. Ladder shelves 

    A ladder might seem like an unlikely starting point for an upcycling project, but ladder shelving is fast becoming the hottest upcycling trend. An old ladder can be upcycled into a quirky storage space, helping you to save space and money. 


    ladder shelf upcycling idea

    19. Book side table 

    You can put dusty old books to good use by upcycling them into a striking coffee table.


    20. Wool coasters 

    Do you have a cupboard full of shrunken jumpers or cast off cardigans? You’ll be amazed by this simple trick for upcycling a shrunken sweater into a coaster that can be used again and again. 

    Upcycled Gift Ideas 

    Whether you’re looking for, or are looking for contemporary jewellery to make you stand out from the crowd, we’ve got you covered.

    At Paguro, we work with designers across the world who create stunning jewellery out of everything from recycled tyres to bike chains and skateboards. 

    Here are our top pics for upcycled gift ideas:

    21. Bike chain chic 

    Think old bike chains couldn’t possibly make elegant accessories? Well, think again. We’ve got plenty of designs on offer made from bicycle chains salvaged from bike repair shops in Nottingham, England. 

    From bracelets to earrings and cufflinks, these unique designs make the perfect gift.



    22. Skater cool accessories

    Channel the laid-back skater cool with the earrings, necklaces and cufflinks made from, you guessed it, recycled skateboards. 

    These accessories are created by a Yogyakarta based designer, inspired by his city’s vibrant skater community to turn discarded skateboards into statement jewellery. 



    23. Upcycled wood jewellery

    This bright, eye-catching range of jewellery made from recycled hardwood is bound to get you noticed. 

    Based in Yogyakarta, an industrial city with a thriving furniture industry, designer Camille saw an opportunity to combine her talents for design with eco-conscious ethics and create delicate, hand-painted accessories from offcuts of teak, oak and redwood. 



    You can check out some of Camille’s designs here. 


    24. Recycled army tent rucksack

    Military canvas has to be strong enough to cope with any weather conditions, so it makes the perfect material for the ultimate durable rucksack, perfect for expeditions or just the adventure of the daily commute. 




    25. Electrical wire earrings

    Electrical wires might not seem like an obvious material for statement jewellery, but they’re the perfect material for our Flamenco earrings.

    Made from 95% recycled electrical wires, these Celtic-inspired statement earrings have an undeniably contemporary edge; making them the perfect gift for any environmentally conscious fashion lover. 



    26. Upcycled inner tube jewellery

    At Paguro, we work with designers who create fashion and accessories out of the inner tubes of bus and truck tyres. If not rescued by our designers, these rubber tubes would be consigned to landfill or incinerated.

    Not only is this recycled rubber a vegan alternative to traditional leather, but it is also durable and versatile enough to create intricate fashionable jewellery such as bracelets, necklaces and chokers


    paguro upcycle inner tube jewellery

    27. Oak barrel tea light holder 

    Reclaimed oak barrels provide an air of sophistication to the world of upcycling, combining contemporary design with the character of some of Scotland’s finest oak whiskies. 


    Tea lights are a great way to add some ambience to any setting, be it cosy evenings indoors or dining alfresco. We love these tea light holders made using upcycled oak whisky barrels, combining contemporary design with British materials.


    28. Upcycled tyre belt 

    If you’ve ever visited South East Asia, you’ll know that motorcycles and scooters are the most popular way of getting around. So many motorcycles lead to many discarded tyres heading for the landfill, but some designers are using upcycling as a better way to deal with waste. 



    These handmade belts are made from salvaged bike tyres, taken from motorcycle repair shops in Bali, Indonesia. 


    29. Recycled rubber coasters 

    Heat resistant and easy to clean, recycled rubber makes the perfect material for a coaster. Our recycled rubber coasters are delicately crafted and hand-cut from recycled tyre inner tubes. 


    30.Upcycled inner tube accessories 

    Upcycled inner tubes from tyres can be used to create a range of accessories: including stylish handbags, pencil cases and keyrings. Not only are all of these accessories made from recycled materials, but they are also a vegan alternative to leather.


    paguro upcycle

    We hope you enjoyed our ultimate list of upcycling ideas and gifts! To find out more about ethical living, take a look at our blog, and follow us on our social media channels. 

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