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  • Writer's pictureJen Bedard

3 Upcycling Projects to Make your Home Shine

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

Decorating is one of the great joys of owning a home, but anyone who loves home decor can attest that buying all new decor every time you’re ready to switch things up in your home can get both pricey and wasteful.

Fortunately, buying new isn’t your only option. Have you ever heard of upcycling? It’s the practice of taking something you already had, and maybe intended to throw away or store, and using it to make something else completely new.

I’ve done some research and taken three things that you might already have in your home, or could easily find in a thrift shop, and turned them into something else entirely - read on to see how!

Turn an Old Picture Frame Into An Elegant Tray

When flipping through any home style magazine, or perusing any decor blog, you’ll inevitably see gorgeous trays being used for display, for serving food, or for keeping jewelry and makeup organized on a vanity or set of dresser drawers.

Unfortunately, these trays are absurdly expensive. Have you ever looked at one while searching for decor? Even the cheaper ones can easily run into the $30-40 range, and that just doesn’t work for me when I could be using something found in the home.

Have you got an old picture frame lying around? Follow these steps to transform it into an elegant tray!

  1. Disassemble the tray. Separate the frame from the backing, and if the glass is separate, remove it.

  2. Decorate the frame. If the glass is a separate piece, this should be as easy as painting the frame however you like. If the glass is attached, cover it in painter’s tape before painting to protect the glass.

  3. Decorate the glass. This can be as easy as placing a pretty piece of scrapbook paper behind the glass and pinning the backing in place, or painting the glass itself. Try chalkboard paint for a rustic look, or reflective mirror paint for the look of a vintage vanity tray.

  4. Reassemble the frame. Once all your paint has dried, reassemble the tray. If you like, create handles by tacking tied pieces of fabric, rope, or leather to each side. Voila! You’ve created a gorgeous decorative piece, and the cost was virtually nil!

Candlestick Jars

Everybody has an few old glass jars laying around, right? Be it from salsa, pickles, or something else in your pantry, there’s a good chance that you just toss these out without thinking about them.

But wait! If you want to create some stylish storage, I’ve got a tutorial for you!

  1. Grab some jars that you intended to throw out. Soak them in hot, soapy water to get the labels off and scrub them clean. Use Goo Gone if the labels are stubborn.

  2. Head to the thrift store. Look for old wooden candlesticks. Most thrift stores have a few. If you’ve got some laying around your house, great! You may also want to check a local dollar store for cheap ones if you can’t find any.

  3. Grab a can of spray paint that coordinates with your decor. Paint the candlesticks this color. Then, remove the lids of the jars you chose, and paint those to match.

  4. Glue the candlesticks to the bottom of the jars. It doesn’t matter if they fit perfectly or not, just grab some kind of adhesive (I suggest E6000 adhesive, but your trusty old glue gun will work) and affix the candlesticks so that the jars sit on top of them. Let dry.

  5. Enjoy your stylish storage! You can fill these with bathroom supplies like cotton balls and Q-tips, or get colorful and store candy inside. Either way, this is an inexpensive upcycle that looks like it came out of a high-dollar decor magazines.

Teacup Candles

Who doesn’t love a good cup of tea? And those tiny teacups - adorable! Fortunately, there’s a way to fill your home with these gorgeous beauties, whether or not a cup of tea is part of your daily routine.

Do you have some old teacups? Great! If not, head to your local thrift store. They almost always have a few lying around for less than a dollar. Next, head to your local craft store for some soy wax (or use old candles you already have!), candle wicks, and essential oils and follow these instructions to create gorgeous teacup candles.

  1. Set out your teacups. Take your wicks, and weight the bottom of each one down with a round metal washer. Set them into your teacups, and then wrap the end of the wick around a spoon or chopstick to secure it and lay the spoon or chopstick on top of the teacup.

  2. Melt your soy wax or old candles in a double boiler. Once liquid, mix in essential oils, if desired.

  3. Pour the melted wax into your prepared teacups. Allow to cool, then trim the wicks, and enjoy!

So, there you have it - three upcycle project you can use to add value and beauty to your home. Remember, beauty doesn’t always have to be new, and adding life to an old item adds a beauty all its own. Whether you’re settling into your new home and making it yours, or making it look it’s very best for a potential new owner, making your house look like a home doesn’t have to break the bank.

Which one of these projects was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

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