• 7 Unique Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Upcycling Skills

    7 Unique Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Upcycling Skills

You’ve seen them on Pinterest and Etsy and now your interest in upcycling is piqued. With a little time and imagination, you too can get in on this eco-friendly trend. 

What is Upcycling

Upcycling is a process by which old products are modified into new products. In upcycling, you may find items in your home you no longer use and with a little hardware and elbow grease, the end result is an item that is significantly changed from the original. This can vary from simply cutting off the sleeves of a t-shirt to make a tank to transforming the table into a completely different piece of furniture. Simply put, upcycling is the process of re-adapting or repurposing items in creative ways for new use.

Examples

There are many ways you can upcycle items, though they are primarily broken down into three categories.

Upcycling Fashion: 

With the advent of “fast fashion,” knowledge that the process of textile manufacturing has increased recently. The production process requires enormous amounts of energy, water, and polluting chemicals. This has created a boom in upcycled fashion. This is the process of repurposing clothing items for new use. Often this occurs with damaged clothes or articles of clothing that no longer fit. If shirts are damaged, it may be patched or broken down into scrap cloth. If a dress no longer fits, it may be adjusted to fit again by sewing a strip of cloth down each side.

Upcycling Furniture: 

Got a broken coffee table? It might be time to repurpose that old piece of junk into something more useful. From busted shelves to old doors, there are many ways to upcycle your furniture.

Industrial Upcycling: 

This one is difficult for the average person to take advantage of, however it still merits discussion. Industrial upcycling is the process by which established manufacturers reuse waste products for the customer cycle. This is often seen in things like reused plastics to make water bottles and pencil cases.

What’s the Difference Between Upcycling and Recycling?

Technically, upcycling is a type of recycling, however, recycling focuses on materials like paper, plastic, metal, and glass to break them down into base materials and create new products that way. Think of the type of industrial upcycling we mentioned earlier.

The Benefits

If we take a look at upcycling from the macro view, it is easy to see the eco-friendly benefits. Wide-spread upcycling and recycling reduces the emission of things like CO2 and reduces the impact on landfills. This occurs because the life cycle of the items are extended. Additionally, it is a way to have fun and even make a little money.

Tips

Now that you are excited to begin your upcycling journey, here are your upcycling tips!

  • Preparation: Planning ahead is the key to ensuring you have the right equipment and tools you will need to finish the job easily. Be sure to clean the item you plan on upcycling and factor in the amount of time you will need to finish the project just in case you need to make any corrections to your work.
  • When you look at old items, use your imagination. This is where you get to really flex your creative muscles. Envision what the item could be instead of what it is since you can break it down and use the materials rather than simply repainting the item. Old ladders can be used to hang plants and old doors can be transformed into corner shelves. Your only limit is your mind.
  • Did you find a piece of vintage furniture at a high-priced boutique? Try looking at second-hand shops for similar items and fixing them up. You might even have something hanging out in your own attic. Fixing it up will be a fraction of the price and you could even turn around and sell it if you want.
  • Speaking of vintage furniture, if you are upcycling an item, make sure you try to match the upcycle with the era the item is from. This will help if you are going for an authentic upcycle.
  • Spend your money on a set of good tools. Want to repaint an old cabinet? Buy good brushes. Want to transform a shelf? You might want some reliable power tools. All of these things cost money but could pay for themselves in the long run.
  • Have fun! Though there are environmental and financial reasons you might be looking into upcycling, the only real reason to get into upcycling is that you enjoy it. You are bound to run into problems and spend a bit of money, however, if you keep your mind on the fun of a creative outlet those will seem like minor issues.

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