Five Dollar Decor: Upcycling

This post was supposed to go up on Friday, but automated posting failed me, so here it is now!

"Upcycling" is a word I love. It has a nice ring to it, and is my favorite example of modern word invention. We aren't merely recycling something. Oh no. We are taking it and elevating it. We are upcycling.

One man's trash is another man's awesome oil lamp.
But, when you get down to brass tacks, upcycling just means "taking something and making it somehow awesomer," doesn't it? Exactly. And nothing could be more appropriate for the theme of "Five Dollar Decor" than taking things you already own and turning them into new things.

1. T-Shirt Pom-poms

I am not really a pom-pom person, but I do like the look of these pretty, colorful ones upcycled from old t-shirts. Depending on the color of ratty t-shirts you might happen to have on hand, these would make lovely decorations for several different holidays or party themes.

Find the tutorial at Craftaholics Anonymous.

2. Upcycled Artwork

Do you ever get tired of your artwork? I have a few cheap prints in storage that I feel bad getting rid of for reasons of personal history, but also don't really want to display around my house because... well... they just aren't really my style anymore.

Enter A Beautiful Mess. Elsie very cleverly used vinyl stick-on letters as a reverse stencil and simply spray painted over her unwanted artwork.  I really like the fact that it gives a totally new look to artwork you might not like anymore, while still allowing you to hold on to the sentiment and memories attached to that one black velvet painting you really loved in college.

3. Tin Can Vases

I think the biggest problem I have with crafts is that they all sound like the cluttery, don't-really-want-or-need-it things that we all made in summer camp. I don't have room for that stuff in my house. If that's the only sort of thing I can come up with to make out of what I've got, I'd rather take what I've got and throw it away without guilt. Clearly, it was not meant to be upcycled.

I will say though, that these tin can vases from Martha Stewart are pleasantly eye-catching.

Hm. A tin can vase that I don't hate. I never thought I would see the day.

4. Bottle Cap Backsplash

Ok, I admit, this is not for the faint of heart. But I love it! The colors, the repeating circles, the clever use of garbage to make something fun and pretty--it speaks to me, what can I say?

There's no DIY instructions here. I just found a picture and couldn't find a how-to, so if you know where this came from originally, please tell me so I can credit it!

Obviously, in this picture the backsplash is actually plastered into the wall, but I think you could find other ways to do this pretty easily. What do you think?

5.  Shipping Pallet Daybed

To wrap up this "trash to treasure" theme, I'd like to share a project that might not be within everybody's reach. I desperately long for the day when I can get my hands on a couple of shipping pallets and make one of these great daybeds for myself:

It just looks so darn fun, and that particular photo has a great combination of industrial and traditional looks going on. Wouldn't you live to just flop down on that with a book or a good movie?

Have you ever upcycled something into something else new and fun?

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