10 clever upcycling ideas – all you need is a basic tool kit

We’re all trying our hand at new things during lockdown. It seems our toolboxes have finally made their way out of the garage and into our homes as we put up shelves and fix broken door handles. Here at the Case Farm, we’ve been partial to a bit of upcycling during lockdown and wanted to share some of our favourite upcycling ideas with you.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming waste materials or unwanted products into new materials. Waste materials can be upcycled to make them more attractive, of better quality and have a greater environmental value.

The benefits of upcycling

There are tons of environmental benefits to upcycling. You’ll be doing your bit by reducing the amount of waste that enters landfills. You’ll also play your part in reducing the world’s use of natural resources instead of purchasing new products that require raw materials to be produced.

It’s also very cost-effective. At the end of the process, you’ll have your hands on pretty much a brand new item for just a fraction of the cost.

Sold on the idea of upcycling? Get started with these 10 clever ideas!

10 clever upcycling ideas you can try today

Toolboxes at the ready.

1. Turn your wine corks into a piece of art

You wouldn’t pour away good wine, so why throw away the cork? Instead of sending them to landfill, create a piece of art to display in your home. Wine corks can be upcycled in many ways. Add them into a picture frame or vase for a unique display, or simply glue them together to create a wine bottle holder or vase!

2. Transform leftover wood into planters

Have you got old planks of wood lying around in your garden, perhaps from an old DIY project? They can easily be transformed with a bit of sandpaper and paint. With this clever upcycling idea, you could turn your old planks of wood into custom-built shelves or quirky garden planters.

3. Turn your bottles and tins into plant pots

From wine and beer bottles to leftover tins, these items contribute massively to landfill sites every year. Instead of throwing them out, re purpose your bottles and cans as plant pots by filling them with a little soil and planting some seeds.

Top tip: Tins make a great home for indoor cacti!

4. Convert old window frames into vintage picture frames

Don’t send your old window frames straight to the tip. With a little TLC, your old windows could make a great vintage picture frame. Wipe them down, sand the edges and add a lick of paint before fitting the glass or laminate screen.

5. Remodel old chandeliers into stunning jewellery

Chandeliers might have gone out of fashion, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw them away. Instead, take the crystals and turn them into necklaces, earrings or bracelets for your family and friends.

6. Light up your room with leftover wine bottles

For a quirky piece of decor on your coffee table, strip your old wine bottle of its labels and fill it with fairy lights. This clever upcycling idea has become so popular that shops have actually started to produce them from scratch… but why waste money on that when you could upcycle and create your own?

7. Transform old paint cans into ice buckets

Now you’ve finally finished painting the spare room, it’s time to get rid of those old paint tins. But not so fast! What if we told you they could be used as DIY ice buckets? With a thorough clean and a bit of touching up, you could have a brand new ice bucket on your hands for those summer evenings in the garden.

8. Craft your own face mask

Keep yourself and others safe during the coronavirus pandemic with a homemade face mask. These DIY face masks are also great for protecting yourself from toxic chemicals when cleaning. If you’re a dab hand at sewing, crafting your own mask should be simple. If not, try out these simple steps:

  • Step 1 – Take an old piece of cloth or t-shirt material and cut it to approximately 50 x 50 cm.
  • Step 2 – Fold the cloth in half and then fold again, folding the top third down and the bottom third up to meet it.
  • Step 3 – Thread the cloth through two elastic bands or hair bobbles, approximately 12cm apart.
  • Step 4 – Fold each side into the middle and tuck into the folds. For a step-by-step breakdown, check out this graphic by the BBC.

9. Tissue box meets desk organiser

In the UK, paper accounts for 20% of all waste thrown away each year. Save your old tissue boxes and transform them into practical desk organisers for your home office! Cut the top off the tissue box and get creative with the transformation of it. You could even paint it to create a wood effect! For even more storage, upcycle old toilet roll holders by placing them inside the tissue box as dividers.

10. Transform cardboard boxes into trendy storage boxes

Do you have any old cardboard boxes lying around? It’s no secret they’re great for storage, but with a bit of upcycling, your cardboard boxes could soon look like brand new canvas storage boxes – just like the ones you’ve seen at Ikea!

Fold the four openings inwards (or outwards) and cover the box with trendy fabric for a brand new storage box. You could even add DIY custom foam for even safer storage.

Getting the most out of your toolkit

And there you have it, 10 ways to really get the most out of your basic toolkit! Don’t forget to check out our tool box foam inserts to keep your tools safely tucked away when you’re not using them. Our foam inserts are practical, affordable and can be designed to snuggly fit around the tools in your tool box thanks to our easy peel foam solutions. To take advantage of our DIY custom foam products, simply provide us with your required dimensions via our DIY custom foam calculator and we’ll send you ready made inserts.


For more DIY tips during lockdown, take a look at our other blog posts:

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