Crafty Creations: 40+ Times People Brought New Life To Old Items

By Bruna L September 14, 2023

This article was originally published on weregreenly

If you are one of those people who hates being wasteful, chances are you have used something for a completely different purpose than it was intended. Additionally, if you are a crafty or creative person, you have probably dabbled in upcycling.

Upcycling is basically taking something old and broken and turning it into something better and of higher value. From turning old curtains into fashionable clothes to making unique decor pieces out of the strangest old scraps, the options are endless.

This practice not only reduces trash but can also save you a lot of money. So, if you would like to try your hand at this revolutionary practice, please read on for a bit of inspiration. Here are 45 times people turned trash into treasure.

Planter boxes

When you’re renovating your house, it’s easy to throw stuff away. For example, you could have old building materials, like wood beams and fences lying around after the work is done. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity, you don’t need to worry about mindless waste anymore.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/kingpig2017

When this guy here discovered that his friend was planning on throwing their old fence away, he convinced them to let him take the material and build something with it. The result was these cool raised planter boxes. Very thrifty!

Unique t-shirt

We all have that one favorite t-shirt we wear all the time. It’s our go-to whenever we have to go grocery shopping, drop the kids off at school, or simply do chores around the house. The problem is because we love it so much, it tends to get worn out faster.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Bydanielpearce

If you have a few torn ones in your closet, you can turn them into a single fashionable shirt. You will need to have some basic sewing skills, but once you’re done, you’ll have a very unique top to wear whenever you want!

Cutlery rose

With so many holidays and other important dates throughout the year, it may be hard to go gift shopping for everyone you care about all the time. If you have the time, though, handmaking something can be the way to go, especially if you want to save some bucks!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/ioanese

An excellent example of that is this man’s crafty creation. His wedding anniversary was fast approaching, and he wanted to gift his wife something unique. So, he got some old cutlery he had lying around and made this beautiful rose out of them. How romantic!

Succulent garden

People say that broken vases can never be put together again because no matter how hard you try to fix the cracks, they will always show like scars. Luckily, you don’t need to put your broken vase together to keep using it.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/pmolina12

Take the beautiful mini succulent garden above, for example. It was made from an old pot that broke apart many years ago. If you love plants and are willing to take on a fun project, this would be perfect. You just need glue, a few plants, and a lot of patience.

Cat bed

We’ve all been in that weird situation where someone gifts you a terribly ugly crocheted sweater or cardigan, and there is nothing you can do but smile and accept it. But what if you could turn this “gift” into something functional?

Image Courtesy of Reddit/couchpotatolady

If you know how to knit or crochet, you can! For example, this girl had an ugly cardigan lying around and decided to turn it back to yarn. She then crocheted it into a bed for her cat! The result was amazing!

Fluffy pants

Thrift shops are absolute goldmines if you’re interested in upcycling clothes or enjoy sewing in general. They are the perfect place to find unique pieces of fabric, cute buttons, and even yarns. Everything, including blankets, can be repurposed if you’re creative!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/dopamiineonline

Take the person above, for example. They found a fluffy blanket at a thrift shop and decided to turn it into this super cool pair of pants. Just look at that shade of lilac! Who said winter has to be boring?

Raincoat

If you’re a cat or dog owner, you’d probably do anything to make your fur baby happy. Couple that with the fact that arts and crafts generally tend to make us happier human beings, and you have the perfect excuse to be creative!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/moonkoko

It’s not a waste of time if it’s for your beloved pet, right? At least, that’s what the girl above thought while making this. She took an old, broken promotional umbrella and turned it into a raincoat for her dog!

Cable spool table

Like pallets, you can find old cable spools anywhere around construction sites and big hardware stores. And, just like pallets, they also have many uses that you can explore. So, why not turn one of those into a cool new table?

Image Courtesy of Reddit/pauley10

That’s precisely what this person did. They took an old spool they found somewhere and turned it into a beautiful table for their zero-waste store. Some sanding, a couple of coats of white paint, and a new glass tabletop, and their work was done.

A bookcase for the little ones

Everyone knows that having kids is a huge commitment. From their diapers to food and clothes, everything is overpriced when it comes to these mini humans. That is why parents always try to save a little money whenever they can.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/kellyc0417

Take this ingenious mother, for example. Her son was learning how to read, so she wanted a bookcase for him, but unfortunately, she couldn’t afford it. So, she took an old diaper box and some contact paper and made one herself.

Up-cycled, get it?

Some people get easily embarrassed sharing their hobbies and interests with other people, and we really don’t understand why. If you like something, no matter what it is, be proud of it. It’s part of who you are, after all.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/AnthonyCrammen

For example, the next person on our list is probably a big fan of biking and has no problem showing it. They liked biking so much that they made a super cool wall decoration using some flowers and an old wheel they had lying around!

Crop top, mask & scrunchie

Nothing screams “friendship goals” more than immediately thinking of a friend when you find a beautiful dress in a thrift shop. Not because the dress fits them, mind you, but because the fabric is gorgeous, and you know they like sewing.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/cassykustoms

That’s precisely what happened here. A girl was gifted an old dress with this cute lizard pattern on it by a friend. So, she drew some designs and made a matching crop top, mask, and scrunchie. Such creative fashion ideas!

Handmade bed

If you’re tired of having your cats ditch their expensive beds to sleep in cardboard boxes, this is the perfect project for you. Why don’t you make their beds yourself? This way, not only will you be saving money, but you will be reducing waste as well.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/amrutahd

All you need is some old towels bound for the trashcan and stuffing from old pillows. After getting these things ready, you can do a little research on the internet on how best to put everything together since the ideas are numerous. In the end, your cat will be the happiest feline around.

The perfect place to store pills

Altoids are super strong breath mints sold in tin cans. They have been in existence for over 200 years, and we bet there is a good reason for that. Aside from keeping your breath fresh, some people swear they’re the cure for all sorts of colds, sore throats, and coughs!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/toddy951

Funnily enough, it was their tin can package that this person decided to use to store his pills while traveling. He used plastic from some old membership cards for the divisions inside, and then he was all set for his trip. Cool, right?

Bike rack

If you are an outgoing person who loves the outdoors, you are probably a big fan of biking. Not only is it a great way to keep your body in shape, but it is also a great way to reduce stress and keep diseases at bay.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/karelpeterseren

So why not display your love with a fantastic bike rack for your shirts? All you need is an old bike frame you don’t use anymore, some wood blocks to help attach it to the wall, and a lot of drilling!

Vintage cabinet

It is incredible what you can do with “trash” when you find the right piece at the right time. For example, this person found this beaten-up military file cabinet abandoned somewhere and decided to bring it home to refurbish it.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/PigwidgeonWeasley

The final result was this beautiful green and gold cabinet. The best part is that even the wood around the piece came from a scrap pile. So basically, this whole project was about saving money and giving new life to old abandoned items. Talk about vintage decoration!

LEGO stand

If you’re a youngin, you are probably not familiar with microwave carts. These furniture pieces were very popular back in the day, especially in houses built before microwaves were a thing. Now, they’re mainly used as customizable display pieces by creatives.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/SweetHeidiJo

A lady found a really cheap one at a thrift shop and decided to bring it home. She later turned it into this really awesome LEGO stand for her daughters to play with. Definitely the kind of Christmas gift any kid would adore.

Lamp holder

This next one is an ode to good old-fashioned creativity and a unique personality. No matter how boring you may think you are, there’s always something that will surprise people and make you interesting to the rest of the world.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/milkandket

This person was never dull, to begin with, since they had a mannequin collection for some reason. Maybe they owned a store at some point but closed it down. As they were clearing things out, they saved a couple of hands. This one, in particular, became a lamp holder. Creepy or crafty?

Multipurpose jacket

There are many benefits to losing some weight, especially if done with your health in mind. However, that also comes with its own set of problems, like needing a new wardrobe. Fortunately, that won’t be a big problem if you can sew.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Bydanielpearce

Take this person here, for example. They took an old jacket and sewed it into three different items: a bucket hat, a bag, and a pair of shorts! Now, if only they had a jacket to match all this cool gear, right?

Coffee tray

So far, upcycling looks like something everyone can do if they set their minds to it. As you have seen on the list, most projects involve simple everyday activities and items. Some end up streamlining daily routines like the one below.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/myfacelookslikeafoot

A morning caffeine boost is mandatory for most people. So, when this coffee shop ran out of trays, a brilliant employee had an idea to make one out of an old milk carton. A very sturdy one at that! Even a child could carry this without spilling a drop.

Bedside tables

Many people say that painting heals the soul. We believe that’s true, especially if you can pair your artsy inclinations with furniture restoration. This way, you will not only sate your creative desires but also have a functional piece at the end of the day.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Cocktailforbreakfast

Just take a look at these gorgeous bedside tables. Before, they looked dated and boring, but now they’re cute and modern. The foxes were hand painted too, which makes it even more charming. This definitely qualifies as furniture we’d have in our rooms.

Baby onesie

Though we said that kids can be expensive, they are also one of the biggest joys in most people’s lives. Also, we can all agree that seeing your child wearing something you’ve worn yourself is one of the best things in the world!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/InsanitySuitsMe

Especially if it’s like the picture above! This person found an old sweater they hadn’t worn in decades and decided to give it a new life by turning it into a baby onesie for their child. Now the baby is both cute and cozy!

From shirts to bed

Sometimes, donating your old clothes and blankets isn’t the way to go when decluttering. If they are too worn out, they’ll get thrown in the trash anyway. So, why don’t you save them at home and do a cool project once you have enough material?

Image Courtesy of Reddit/MissJinxed

Just like what this woman here did. She saved up a bunch of old shirts and then used their fabric to sew a new bed for her cat! If you have too many fabric pieces lying around, you can even use them for the stuffing!

Window screen bag

Nowadays, with everything being mass-produced and sold pretty much everywhere, it’s easy to forget that we can make anything ourselves if we’re creative and crafty enough. Bags, for example. You don’t need to buy many if you can upcycle what you already have.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/DepDerDi

The owner of the bag pictured above needed something to store her yarn, but she didn’t want to buy a bag. So, she got some old window screen her family wasn’t using anymore and made one herself. Easy and pocket-friendly!

Ice cream purse

Sometimes, while you’re browsing through your local thrift shop, you can find something so unique and cheap that you can’t help but buy it. Most times, you’re not even sure what to do with it, but some deep conviction somewhere assures you that inspiration will hit you at some point.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/bananatornado

That’s exactly what happened here. A very creative lady spotted a pillowcase in a thrift store and bought it. She then decided to make a small purse with it. The result was the incredibly beautiful bag above. Just look at that cute button!

TV cat bed

TV is not as big these days as it once was. With social media and multiple streaming services to choose from, we hardly ever need them anymore. If you have an old one somewhere inside your house, we have the perfect idea to turn it into something useful.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/CamrynDaytona

You can make a cat bed like the one above, for example. It takes a lot of patience to remove the insides, and you better be wearing electrical gloves when you do so, but after that, it’s all a matter of padding and decorating it however you want!

Changing table

It’s always fun to watch people giving life back to old, unused furniture. Especially if the said furniture is going to be used by a new generation of the family! Take the baby changing table below, for example. It used to be a writing desk.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/stooshie45

Don’t worry about the baby, though. The whole thing is anchored to the wall, and the owners said they didn’t plan to use it for longer than twelve months. Besides, the chains are just safety chains, and there are sliding supports under the changing area.

Room diffusers

Of all the things people like to collect, fancy perfumes are undoubtedly one of the most expensive. Usually, when some people are done with a bottle, they just keep it around for memory’s sake. Instead of letting them collect dust, try putting them to good use, like the lady below.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/-ladykitsune-

She took a couple of empty perfume bottles and turned them into room diffusers. All she had to do was pull their nozzles off, fill them with essential oils, and pop a couple of sticks through the bottlenecks. Super easy!

Salmon suit

There is something commendable about being able to customize your own clothes whenever you feel like it. Not only does it show great artistic talent, but it also helps in keeping clothes out of landfills, which is good for everyone.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Incarnam

This woman pictured above wanted something unique to wear at a friend’s wedding. So, she decided to customize a boring suit into a ridiculously cool outfit! It took her about 30 hours to get the job done, but the final result was terrific.

Old TV

If your job involves renovating houses, or if you do it as a hobby, you may have found a bunch of cool old stuff abandoned in some places. If you’re lucky, sometimes you can keep some of these things and refurbish them.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/drawnbyjohn

That’s what this person did. He found an old TV under a deck and brought it home so he could try to fix it. He cleaned it, removed all the dead electric components, and mounted an iPod inside it as its screen. Now the TV is good as new!

Cat toy

If you have cats, you know they can get bored pretty quickly, and when they don’t have something to do, it almost always ends up in chaos. You can easily find yourself in need of new curtains or furniture if you’re not careful.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/perfectplum218

To avoid this kind of destruction in your home, you need toys. Fun, colorful ones that they will love. If you’re creative and have enough hot glue, you can make one just like this. Simply glue some rope to a paper towel roll, attach a doll, and you’re good to go!

Sturdy baskets

If this list is anything to go by, making bags is not nearly as complicated as you may think. You probably own one that was made by someone during their free time as a craft project. The next one on our list doesn’t even require you to have sewing skills.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/lycorisette

What do you do when you have a bunch of plastic strips that are not being used anymore? You could simply throw them away, of course, but you could also weave them into these amazing baskets. How cool is that?

Charm bracelet

If you’re someone who likes jewelry and wears them all the time, then you know how easy it is to lose an earring and not notice until it’s too late. If you have a pile of mismatched ones that you don’t use anymore, this idea is for you!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/MartoufCarter

Do what the person above did and make a fabulous charm bracelet out of all the single earrings you have. You don’t even need to buy the little chain if you don’t want to; just use that old necklace whose clasp doesn’t work anymore.

Old fan

It doesn’t matter how old or broken something is; if you’re attached to it, there is very little anyone can do to make you throw it away. For example, you don’t necessarily need to dispose of your broken appliances if you have a knack for upcycling things!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/navy_snipe

This battered fan’s motor wasn’t working anymore. Still, instead of throwing it away, the owner simply gave it a new coat of paint and changed the electric components inside. Just like that, the old fan is now a hip lamp!

The credenza

If you are unfamiliar with it, an office credenza is a piece of furniture mostly used for storage purposes. These sideboards were quite popular in the past, and many homes and workplaces had one. Nowadays, they have all sorts of different uses.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/chackzo

Like the one above, for example. Its owner gave it new life by repainting it and changing its old hardware. Now, instead of storing papers and collecting dust in an office somewhere, it sits proudly in the person’s living room.

Grill turned garden

For some people, going vegetarian is super easy. For others, it is an uphill battle that they really struggle with. If you’re having trouble leaving your meat-eating habits behind, why not turn your old grill into a small herb garden? It’s pretty easy.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Saunterie

Just make sure to clean it up thoroughly before putting your pots on top to avoid soil contamination. After that, you’re free to plant whatever you want, however you want. Soon enough, you’ll be able to season your vegetarian meals with your own herbs!

Unique backpack

It’s not always easy to find a backpack that fits both your budget and your specific needs and is trendy at the same time. If you spend too little, it won’t last as long as you’d like, and unfortunately, good quality often translates to high prices.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/bitanica

So, why not go with the next best thing and make a recycled backpack yourself? If you use an IKEA bag like the one pictured above, your final product will be extremely sturdy and, at the same time, be within your budget. Win-win all around!

Plastic bags turned yarn

Never doubt the kinds of shenanigans people into crochet can get up to, given enough time and not enough money. Soon, you’ll find that anything can be used as yarn, even things you wouldn’t expect. Like plastic bags, for example!

Image Courtesy of cheezburger.com

You may think that the white parts on the bag above are wool, but that’s actually something called “plarn” or plastic yarn. Apparently, using this as yarn is super easy, and even kids can learn how to spin it! You learn something new every day.

Bird feeder

Nothing makes you feel like a Disney princess more than waking up in the morning to the sound of birds chirping in your backyard. Not only are birds super cute, but most of them also play a significant role in pollination.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/catgoturtongue

So, why not give them a treat every now and then with these fantastic bird feeders made out of tea cups? All you need is a set of old tea cups you don’t use anymore and a few nuts and bolts to hold them together.

Pen roll

If you are always up for a creative project, you could probably upcycle anything you want. Especially when it comes to clothes. Old blankets, bags, pants, and anything made out of fabric can become something new if you’re good at sewing!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/corileahs

Take this cool pen roll, for example. It was made out of its owner’s favorite pair of jeans! The pants were already embroidered with cute little flowers, so all she had to do was to cut what she needed and sew it back together.

Pig planter

Gardening can be tedious, especially if you’re used to big city life and have tight schedules. If you are one of these people, but you want to break away from your super urban life for a while, we have the perfect solution for you.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/paisleysneeze

Just turn your old tires into a super cute planter! Remember, you need to drill holes at the bottom, but besides that, you’re good to go. Also, if you don’t want your plants to be in contact with the rubber, you can easily fit a pot in there as well.

Wall decoration

Not everyone is interested in house decoration. Some think it is a big, expensive, and unnecessary hobby, while others prefer to keep their home decor as minimalist as possible. If you like decorations, but don’t have much money to spend, don’t worry; we have a tip.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/__coveredbridge

Even simple things like a candle lid, a piece of wood, and some lavender sprigs can be made into a nice wall decoration if you’re creative. You don’t need detailed instructions either. Just use hot glue to put everything together, and that’s it!

Bike lamp

Sometimes, we keep broken or unused stuff around the house for sentimental reasons. This only becomes a problem if you are not willing to throw unnecessary items in the trash when the time comes. It starts being an issue often referred to as hoarding.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Thebitterestballen

As you’re disposing of things at home, you can keep those you feel can be used for fun crafts, as this person did with an old bicycle wheel. With a few Christmas lights, the wheel was transformed into a beautiful light fixture. This would be perfect for an industrial-style house.

Uneven shirt

Fashion and style are not nearly as complex as most people make them out to be. It’s true that fashionable clothes are expensive, and the fashion world itself is way too glamorous. Moreover, the trends are constantly changing. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/y_obayashi

Fashion, like any other art, can be found anywhere. You just need to have the eye for it. The person above, for example, took two old shirts and, in some clever design, joined them together to create something very stylish.

Old bench

Sometimes, it pays to take a walk around your neighborhood and see what your neighbors are throwing away. Most people have no idea how to fix things, so if you’re handy, you may end up with a bunch of cool stuff all for yourself.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/aurorasdegus

Like the bench above, for example. This guy took it from his neighbor’s trash and gave it life. It wasn’t that hard, either. All he needed was good old elbow grease, sandpaper, and paint, and the bench now looks brand new.

Charging station

You may be forgiven for thinking that the item below is an old bread box. If you’re old enough, you may remember it. The peculiar piece of furniture was used as an organizer for floppy disks back when they were the only way to store data.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/360inMotion

The owner says she fell in love with it the moment she saw it at a thrift store. So, she brought it home and decided to use it as a charging station. This way, she’d have a cool piece of furniture and a place to hide long cumbersome cables.

Hang on cabinets

First of all, we love how apt this product’s name is. If you look keenly at the picture below, you will notice that the cabinet on display is actually made from hangers. The idea for these unique storage options was born at a furniture design contest held in Italy.

Image Courtesy of Pinterest/lushome

We seriously admire the ingenuity and brilliance of using old wooden hangers to create stunning cabinets. These pieces can be used in shops to display items for sale, in the office, and even at home to display small decor pieces.