ALL POSTS TAGGED "upcycle"

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Did you celebrate Father’s Day yesterday? I’m thinking there are probably a lot of special guys out there who got a shiny new toolbox as a gift, and if so, the old one may be hanging around, collecting dust. Before you ditch it, take a look at these clever ideas for repurposing old toolboxes. (Now who’s the handy one around the house?)

5 Handy Ideas for Old Toolboxes: Grooming Kit

Old Toolbox —> New Grooming Kit
An old metal toolbox looks right at home in a teen boy’s bathroom as a grooming/toiletry kit. It adds just the right rugged edge to the space and keeps products neatly tucked away from prying eyes. Want to complete the look? Check out Laurie March’s gallery on DIYNetwork.com.

MORE IDEAS FOR OLD TOOLBOXES

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I think the old saying that “when one door closes, another opens” is absolutely true. For example, when you’ve finished using a door as an entry or exit, a whole new world of decorating possibilities opens up before you! Check out our fave upcycled furniture ideas for old doors and get ready to fancy up your home with these former barriers.

Decorating With Old Doors: Old Door Headboard Furniture Idea

If you liked the rustic appeal of the shutter headboards I featured last week, I’m thinking you’ll love this old door headboard from Dreamy Whites. Weathered wood + a chandelier = a bedroom combo with great high/low contrast.

MORE DECORATING WITH OLD DOORS

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With less than a week left till Christmas, I’m betting that you —  like me – are spending a fair amount of time wrapping gifts. Which, to be honest, I don’t mind. Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays; I like to come up with new ways to package them each year.

Here are a few of my gift wrap ideas from 2012 with links to instructions below:
Wrapped Holiday Gift Ideas
* Left and bottom right: Easy doily gift wrap plus how to make a yarn pom-pom
and upper right: Menswear-inspired ribbon rose plus how to make a chalkboard gift tag

This year, I decided to shake things up a bit and use fabric trim instead of traditional ribbon for smaller gifts: Fabric Trim Instead of Ribbon as Christmas Gift Wrap

And cover reusible containers, like this mailing tube, in fabric for pretty packages that can be reused by the recipient as year-round decorative storage:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap*The fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise – available at your local JoAnn store.

Here’s another view, I just added a wired bow to one of the mailing tube’s plastic caps to finish off the wrap:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric gift wrap? It’s easy and your friends and family will thank you for the cute container they can use again and again. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

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So, as you’ve probably heard by now, we’re throwing a holiday party — and not just any holiday party — a crafty holiday party where we’ll make the decorations, drinks and nibbles then show you guys how we pulled it off.

Our event space has a massive stone fireplace flanked by shelves so I decided to finally tackle a project I’d been planning for a while and cover a few of my coffee table books in leather. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m *all* about antiques and naturally wanted my leather books to look like they’d been around for a few decades so I originally planned on covering them in leather from an old bomber jacket. After unsuccessfully scouring thrift stores for the perfect piece of vintage leather, I decided to just purchase new leather then age it myself using the same tricks I use for distressing furniture.

And, voila, they turned out great — and the process was actually easier than I thought it would be. So easy, in fact, that I may have to make a few of these expensive-looking antique tomes to hand out as handmade holiday gifts: Leather-Wrapped Books

Want to make your own antique look-alike leather books to add a timeworn touch to your home or as a cool handmade gift? Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>


We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s
Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Are all you MacGyvers as excited as I am about fall decorating? I’ve already decked out my porch with hay bales, pumpkins and mums. Now I’m ready to finish my indoor decorating. Since last week’s post, I definitely have all my pumpkin crafts down. So, what’s next? Acorns! They’re free, easy to collect and oh-so cute in their little acorn caps. Now start your gathering, and let’s get to crafting!

framed acorns

Think frames are only for pictures? Think again! This 3D acorn display looks amazing and only costs a couple of bucks to make – that’s my kind of art project! Visit Delia at Delia Creates for the full tutorial.

acorn centerpiece

This gorgeous display from BHG takes us back to nature with a fresh autumn feel. It’s true that sometimes the simplest decor has the biggest impact. Add citrus to your vase to hold the branches in place and add a bright punch of color to the look.

See More Acorn Crafts

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If there is one thing I hate, it’s wasting valuable crafting resources. And now, thanks to another brilliant reader suggestion, I’ve realized that for years now, I’ve been tossing some pretty valuable supplies aside. But in my defense, who knew that used dryer sheets could make so many useful things? Although, I guess I should have suspected it. I mean, after you’ve seen mind-blowing art made from prescription bottles, you start to get the feeling that anything can be repurposed into something amazing (this is how I will become a hoarder!).

dryer sheet sachet

I have on occasion saved a fresh-scented dryer sheet and stuffed it in with my folded clothes, but this adorable dryer sheet sachet puts my crumbled up dryer sheet idea to shame. It’s filled with lavender and shaped like an oversized tea bag. Could it get any cuter? Head on over to Sew Many Ways for the full tutorial.

dryer sheet roses

Don’t you just love it when people take something mundane and turn it into something beautiful? I do. That’s why I’m so crazy about these tea-stained dryer sheet roses. The light stain gives them a cool antique look, and I would never have guessed they were made from used dryer sheets (or that they were even homemade). They’re simply beautiful! Visit Katies Rose Cottage Designs, and learn how to make your own dryer sheet roses.

More Dryer Sheet Crafts

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When our reader, Linda, suggested doing a Designer MacGyver post all about new uses for prescription bottles, I was a little skeptical of what I would find. Of course, I knew they were great for storing all kinds of baubles, from nails and screws to buttons and bobby pins. What I did not know was how creative people have been on the quest to reuse these commonplace items. And let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised at the creations I found.

prescription bottle vase
When I stumbled across this vase made of repurposed prescription bottles, I could hardly believe my eyes. If someone had simply told me about it, I doubt I would have taken it seriously. But this simple vase looks so lovely with the light shining through and just a sprig of bamboo. Check out Mich L. in L.A. for the full tutorial.

prescription bottle hiding place
And who ever thought of using an old prescription bottle to hide a spare house key or other valuable object? Just glue the lid to a stone and insert the bottle into the ground. It’s such a simple idea but one I’m sure I would never have thought of.

More Uses for Rx Bottles

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My recent downsize has forced me to forfeit a home office area. Plus, I’m more of a laptop-on-the-sofa kind of person anyway, so it’s OK. But sometimes, I can’t help but daydream of a beautiful desk with an antique pharmacy lamp in the corner where I can read, write … or just stare blissfully. I first came across this vintage sewing machine table turned into a simple desk. Swoon! Apparently, you can make a desk out of just about anything, like …

Sewing Machine Tables

Upcycled Sewing Machine Deskvia Emmas DesignBlogg

Industrial Letters

Upcycled Letter Deskvia midbec wallpapers

Creative Upcycling Ideas

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A few weeks ago, I found a lone horseshoe in my parents’ barn. It was incredibly dirty and rusty and definitely old. My parents don’t even have horses, so I know it’s old (though the looks alone were enough to tell me that). I almost left it to lie there for another 25 years or so, but I decided to pick it up. I had no concrete plans, but as an avid upcycler, I’m always thinking of new uses for old things.

horseshoe before
Weeks later, I remembered a cool piece of weathered barn wood I had been saving for a special project. And now, after some extensive cleaning, sanding, painting and nailing, I finally have a unique piece of art that I can be proud of.

horseshoe after

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My design style is in constant metamorphosis, but for now, I would have to describe it as glamorous industrial farmhouse (Don’t fence me in!). With such a mishmash set of inspiration, you can imagine my excitement when I found a piece at a local antique store that encompassed two of these designs.

original typeset drawer
When I saw this incredible typeset drawer hiding behind a bunch of old building materials posing for antiques, I knew I couldn’t leave the store without it. It was industrial, obviously, but the adjustable wooden dividers gave it a farmhouse flair that put me in a shopper’s paradise (Did I mention green is my favorite color?).

original typeset drawer
So, with everything it had going for it, I couldn’t help but notice the two things it was missing: glamour and function – both problems easily solved. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. This vintage typeset drawer was meant to be my new earring holder. Some meticulous measuring and a small box of nails turned my little slice of history into a practical piece of art.

remade typeset drawerremade typeset drawer

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If you’re a pet parent, like me, you know that you can never have enough storage. Leashes, food, treats, grooming supplies and most importantly — toys — take up a lot of space. My older pup, Madeline, long ago lost interest in stuffed animals but my 3-year-old Schnoodle, Sophie, believes a girl can never have too much stuff.

Initially, I spent big money in pet stores on adorable, interactive toys she would toss up in the air a few times then happily destroy. After several months of this, I stumbled across a big box of 25-cent stuffed animals at a yard sale and haven’t paid retail since. After a thorough cleaning in the washer (hot water with a few drops of bleach) and extended tumble in the dryer, Sophie’s second-hand victims (um…toys) are good as new.

To store her stash, I bought a large wicker trunk, painted it black, added a bronze crest I found (where else) at an estate sale, slid it under a table in the living room and used it to keep Sophie’s toys within easy reach. For years the trunk worked fine but this spring my ability to find bargain toys exceeded Sophie’s ability to destroy them. Luckily, I already had a thrifted basket on-hand that, with a little makeover, would be perfect for containing the overflow: 
Dog-Toy-Storage-Basket-Makeover-Before

The basket was too tall to slide under the side table so removing the handle was the first step and I wanted to give it an antique look (I envisioned an old fishing creel) so it would better blend in. Here’s how I did it:
Dog-Toy-Storage-Basket-Makeover-Step-by-StepSteps: 1-cut ties holding handle in place  2-remove handle  3-thoroughly coat basket with spray stain (I used 2 coats) 4-choose an embellishment, I decided to repurpose an old belt  5-cut off excess leather at the top and bottom  6-attach belt to top of basket using super glue then clamp in place  7-flip basket over and glue a thin piece of wood to the bottom (I just snapped the end off a wood shim)  8-secure belt to wood with thumbtacks or nailhead trim  9-add felt pads to the basket’s bottom to protect your floor

And, voila, my once-plain basket now looks like it belongs in a house filled with antiques:
Dog-Toy-Storage-Basket-Makeover-Before-and-After

Best of all: the easy-to-access toy basket gets the Sophie Seal of Approval. Buh-bye little buffalo, looks like the bell has tolled for thee:
Sophie With a New Stuffed Dog Toy

MORE ADVENTURES IN ANTIQUING:
Adventures in Antiquing: Clinch River Spring Antiques Fair
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 1
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 2
Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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When it comes to making over a beach house on the cheap, my family doesn’t just get our hands dirty knocking down kitchen walls and turning a tiny closet into a beachy bookcase, we’re also all-in when it comes to filling the beach house with one-of-a-kind furnishings.

My 18-year-old nephew scored this solid cherry bedside table for a song at an estate sale last fall. It was quite literally falling apart so he used his charisma and law-school-bound negotiating skills to get the seller to throw it in (for free!) with the rest of our haul. After my dad replaced missing bits and stabilized it, this once shabby little nightstand was ready for a chic makeover:
Beachy Rustic Nightstand Before and After

My sister and I decided to paint it black but re-stain the top to match an antique chest-on-chest on the bedroom’s opposite wall. Even though the finish was pretty scuffed up, more sanding was necessary to provide “tooth” for the paint while an orbital sander made short work of completely stripping the top so it could be stained. Because I planned to distress the paint to highlight details and allow the cherry wood to show thru, one coat of black paint was all I needed:
Sanding and Painting Rustic Nightstand

Once the paint had fully dried, I used sand paper to give the table a time-worn, distressed look. The key to distressing is to concentrate sanding on areas that would have naturally seen the most wear, like any raised details, corners and along edges. Next, I brushed the top with an oil-based stain, then used a cotton rag to wipe the same stain over the remainder of the nightstand. The stain soaked into the distressed areas to create a more realistic time-worn look.
Sanding and Staining Rustic Nightstand

For less than $20 in materials, this little table (that was once destined for the trash) provides handy bedside storage and adds just the right cottage touch to the master bedroom. Finished Cottage-Style Nightstand*Three years later, the beach house is still a work in progress; keep checking back for more thrifty transformations.

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Budget Beach Cottage: Make a Nautical Rope Mirror
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Built-In Bookcase
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Kitchen
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Living Room
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

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Father’s Day is this Sunday — are you armed with a gift for dad? No? Well then, we’ve got you covered — from his favorite recipes (hot beer cheese and homemade pretzels — yum!) to fun, free printables and handmade gift ideas like this easier-than-it-looks dresser-top leather valet; whip up a surprise for your dad just in time for Father’s Day celebrations.

Handmade Men's Leather Valet for Father's DayReady to make your own? Get the complete step-by-step instructions>>

Not only is this monogrammed leather valet easy to craft, you probably have most of the materials on hand like an old frame, some batting or foam and a spare bit of leather – this is a great project for upcycling a past-its-prime jacket or purse. The steps are simple, just disassemble the frame then use the backing as a template to cut out a small piece of leather and batting. Place the leather, suede side up, on top of the batting and secure it in the frame with strong tape.Step by Step images for making a leather dresser-top valet for Father's Day

I used an old trick from college printmaking classes to create removable registration marks on painter’s tape that would help me find the tray’s center before placing the adhesive stencils (these things are awesome, btw, you can find them with the glass-etching supplies at your local craft store). Fill in the stencils with a permanent marker and voila — a handy catch-all for dad to keep his keys, change, watch and anything else he needs to grab on his way out the door.Using a Sharpie to Monogram Leather

Crafting this handy DIY gift for dad is easy — but be sure to check out my complete step-by-step instructions for a materials list and lots of helpful tips first>>

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When I say “budget beach cottage,” I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie. Upcycling is far from the latest trend in my family — if we can find a way to repurpose or reuse something, we will.  Check out our beachy kitchen, living room, candles and built-in bookcase transformations to see what I mean.

Enter a plain-Jane, oak-framed mirror my sister and I bought at an estate sale intending it to serve as a vanity mirror for the hall bath. The rounded shape of the frame reminded us of a ship’s port hole and at just $5, the price was right. Sadly, the wood-framed mirror was too small for the bathroom — but it was just the right size for a narrow wall in the master bedroom. We hung it but the stained oak frame just wasn’t doing it for us. Luckily, my 18-year-old nephew found an old boat cleat at a yard sale for just 50 cents (clearly he’s been well instructed in the ways of the bargain-hunting force) and that was the inspiration we needed to wrap the frame in rope and “tie it off” to the cleat.

And … voila! Here’s our once plain-Jane mirror after its nautical makeover: Beachy Rope MirrorReady to make your own? Get the complete step-by-step instructions>>

Covering the frame is easy; the key is to start on the inside of the frame and really secure the first few rows with a super-strong epoxy (like Gorilla Glue) to prevent the remaining rows from shifting. Once you have a solid start, you can switch over to just tacking the rope with brads every few inches.
Beachy Rope Mirror Step-by-Step

And … inevitably when you’re taking photos in a small beach house with 5 nosy little dogs around (2 are mine and 3 are my sister’s) you end up with quite a few shots featuring a cute pup in the pic. Everyone, meet my sister’s furry little shadow, her 6-lb rescued Yorkie, Gracie:Cute Yorkie Dog and Beachy Rope Mirror

Giving a blah mirror a coastal makeover is easy — but be sure to check out my complete step-by-step instructions for a materials list and lots of helpful tips first>>

*Three years later, the beach house is still a work in progress, keep checking back for more thrifty transformations.

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Built-In Bookcase
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Kitchen
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Living Room
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

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Belts, like shoes, can make or break an outfit. In the right context, worn leather belts can look rugged and cool. And in the wrong context? Downright shabby. But did you know you can turn shabby old belts into something shabby chic for your home? Take a peek at these leather belt crafts, then get ready to buckle down and make a few for yourself.

Make a shelf with old belts. Find out how on HGTV's Design Happens blog...

SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH LEATHER BELTS

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Happy May Day everyone! I can’t believe it’s already the first day of May, crazy. The tradition of hanging May Day baskets on neighbors’ doors has faded in America, but I’m hoping to revive it with inspiration from sosorosey’s upcycled baskets. She uses fabric from old sheets and shirts to create these vibrant baskets and other goodies.

 upcycled basket and bowl

 I may have to hang one of these on Channing Tatum’s door. Maybe he’ll chase me for a kiss…maybe.

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