Are you freaking out over the threatening piles of trash bags on your front porch? Before you journey off to the junkyard, have some fun with upcycling, which is converting old junk into new items with better quality and function. For example, did you know that used toilet paper tubes can become great tools for organizing electric cords? With upcycling, the diversity of garbaged objects—plastic bottles, tissue rolls, old clothes, and even old furniture—can be transformed into brand-new treasures. And we’re not talking about building random art projects, but reusing the used objects in an efficient and useful way. Here is a collection of clever, easy tips from various innovative bloggers. Refresh your house and contribute to saving the environment by upcycling!
1. CD Spindle Case → Bagel holder
An empty plastic, CD/ DVD spindle case can make a great portable lunch box. You can carry bagels, sandwiches, and even hamburgers! But make sure to wash the case first!
2. Cassette Tape → Coin Wallet
All you need is a cassette tape, 14-inch long zipper, fabric, scissors, and a hot glue gun. It is best to use cassette tapes without screws. First, gently open the cassette tape and extract the insides (take out the tape roll; everything). You may want to clean the cassette by rubbing a little alcohol with a q-tip. Second, trim your zipper around the cassette tape (usually 13-inch long). Third, dab hot glue at the cut-end of the zipper line, so that the zipper has an end to fasten on. Finally, attach the zipper onto the cassette one side at a time. Be sure to put hot glue on the cloth first before sticking it on to the cassette tape. Don’t worry about the inside of the cassette; you can cover it up with your favorite fabric!
3. Used Paper Roll → Electric Cords Organizer
No more laying out dozens of thick white electric cords on the floor, or stuffing them in your drawer! Let’s neatly roll up extra cords around the used toilet paper tubes.
4. Bottle Cap → Crayon Tea Lights
You’ll need bottle caps, crayons, and a 2-inch cotton string. To make colorful miniature candles, you only need a maximum of 10 minutes! First, puncture the bottle cap with a knife/nail so that the hole is big enough for the cotton string to go through. Second, tie a simple overhand knot at the near end of the 2-inch string. Thread this 2-inch string through the bottle cap so the knot is at the bottom. Third, with low burner heat, melt the crayons in a tin can/pot. And finally, once the crayons are melted, pour the liquid into the bottle cap!
5. Skateboard → Picnic Table
Old skateboard decks without wheels can become beautiful decorations for your child’s picnic table. By nailing the skateboards onto the benches and table, you’ve just created an amazing table set!
6. Folding Chairs → Foldable shelf
Do you have folding chairs that you don’t sit on anymore? By attaching some of those chairs on a bare wall, you have built yourself a foldable shelf!
7. Salvage your broken Flip-flops!
Once in a while, the straps on our flip-flops wear out, and finally rip off. But good news; you can salvage your shoes in no time! All you need is a random plastic bag. First, tightly twist the handles of the plastic bag. Second, create a small opening on the twisted ends and loop it around the toe peg. Third, twist the remaining plastic handle so that it can fit through the flip flop hole. Finally, once you insert the handle into the shoe hole, tie one/two small knots. You can snip off the remaining plastic bag!
– Sammie Kim (’18)
Header: Upcycled plastic bottles into plant pots by Sugru