Upcycling is all the rage right now, and more and more people are realising the benefits of upcycling and how they can contribute. In this article, you can read more about what upcycling is all about, as well as some handy hints if you want to have a go yourself!
What Is Upcycling?
Upcycling is turning old or unwanted items into something new, different and better. The idea is to increase the quality and value of an item by making it into something more attractive and desirable. This can be something as simple as painting an old wooden jewellery box, decorating a vase or turning a plate into a clock. It can also involve the use of scrap materials to create clothing, a patchwork quilt or a new bag. At Coco & Clementine, we source vintage and antique furniture – often superficially marked or damaged and therefore unwanted – and transform it completely, giving it a new lease of life!
Why You Should Start Upcycling Now!
There are many advantages of upcycling. One of the primary benefits, and the whole reason it’s becoming so popular, is the positive impact on the environment. By turning unwanted items into something desirable, we give items another life and reduce the amount of waste produced. This increased focus on sustainability contributes towards a more ‘circular economy’ ‘White Monday’ – a relatively recent addition to the Upcycling calendar – is an initiative set up with this in mind – and an antidote to the global consumption triggered by ‘Black Friday’!
Using up old materials – furniture, clothes, household objects, or anything else you can think of! – means we’re saving items that would otherwise have gone into landfill. By creating, buying and selling things made from materials we no longer need, we reduce waste and save lots of natural resources and raw materials. We also save energy by manufacturing less ‘stuff’!
Another benefit of upcycling is that it has social and economic advantages. By buying upcycled products, you’ll often be supporting small, local businesses. You’ll also find lots of unique, hand crafted items. Upcycling also helps these businesses to keep manufacturing costs down by reusing the materials.
Finally, upcycling will help you feel like you’re doing your bit for your community and for the environment! Whether you have a go at an upcycling project yourself or buy an upcycled product, you will be reducing your contribution to waste and landfill. By buying upcycled products, you’ll be helping out your community and investing in the businesses in your local area.
Helpful Hints to Get Started
So what are the best tips to start upcycling in your everyday life?
- Old clothes and fabrics. Obviously charity shops and clothing banks are a great way to ensure unwanted clothing doesn’t go to waste. But items that may be ripped, excessively worn or damaged can be repurposed! Old curtains can be turned into a new bag and worn out jeans can be made into a patchwork quilt. Find a secondhand sewing machine and have a go!
- Old furniture. Commission a piece you already own for a total transformation. Or buy some old furniture and create your own one-off masterpiece!
- Jewellery. Turn old beads, chains and gems into your own designs. Helpful hint – some charity shops sell cheap bags of unwanted jewellery that can be completely repurposed!
- Household objects. Turn a wooden container into a beautiful painted jewellery box – or cover it with cut out paper images. The one-off kitchen plate that doesn’t fit in with the others? A battery mechanism and some painted numbers turns it into a clock!
- Visit local craft centres and artisan markets to see what people are working on and whether they have any pieces you like.
- Join a community group or online group to see what people in your local area are doing and to discover ‘Freecycling’ opportunities.
There are endless possibilities for how you can get involved with upcycling. See what you have lying around and find a way to improve it. If in doubt, there are many online sites to give you ideas.
Just to Finish Off…
Upcycling is an excellent way to bring some life into ‘stuff’ you had lying around. Whether you’re giving your home a more modern look, jazzing things up to sell, or just looking for something fun to do, it’s an activity the whole family can get on board with. If you have some old furniture at home, or you’re thinking of making your next purchase an upcycled one, then ‘check out our site’ for more details!