7+ Upcycling Projects That Made Treasure Out Of Trash

Brittany Rae 5 Feb 2020

Guys, we as a society have to create way less trash.

One way we can utilize the trash we already have? Arts and crafts, of course. These ingenious hackers have given new life to things the rest of us might have thrown away. Let's get inspired, shall we?

1. Turn a plate into a clock.

Crafty and their beautiful, crafty brains put together a wall clock that anyone can make.

Using a large, plastic plate (painted to the color of your choice), drill a hole, make some homemade numbers (or cute moons) and add a clock kit from Amazon! Boom, an instant new clock that you can brag you made yourself.

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2. Turn old shampoo bottles into plant hangers.

Almost Makes Perfect

How chic is this? Molly at Almost Makes Perfect used old Aveeno body wash and shampoo bottles to make her upcycled planters.

If your old bottles are an ugly color, spray paint them before you start your DIY!

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3. Use burned-out lightbulbs to make beautiful art.

Leaning Into The Journey

Lightbulbs are incredibly hard to dispose of, so why bother? Instead, create a hanging art piece in your windows with some upcycled hot air balloon light bulbs.

Let Rachel at Leaning Into the Journey teach you how to make them!

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4. Oh these? They began life as Christmas lights and pop bottles.

Oh Oh Deco

Can you even believe it? To make this hack a reality, cut the top off off a large soda bottle. Then, cut a hole at the bottom. Thread the lights through the bottom, and wrap it in paper!

As Amaryllis at Oh Oh Deco notes, only use LED lights for this hack. Regular ones can overheat and become fire hazards.

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5. Create tiered storage out of old cans.


How cool is this idea? And it's totally customizable to your taste! (I would paint them gold, but that's me.)

Check out this tutorial on Instructables and get to craftin', everyone!

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6. Upcycle your leftover wrapping paper into a gorgeous necklace!

Did you know most wrapping paper actually isn't recyclable?

The creative team at Crafty found a genius way to upcycle your leftover paper! No landfills were harmed in the making of this craft.

Using Mod Podge, some cord, and cute gold charms, you can turn what you'd normally discard into a piece of wearable art. Nice.

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7. Use aluminum cans to make your own cookie cutters.

Wonderful DIY

I mean, cookie cutters are already aluminum. Why not use the aluminum you have at home to make your own custom shapes?

Get the instructions here, and then figure out how to make a Baby Yoda cookie cutter. Please. For me.

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8. Use old plastic containers as concrete molds.

Garden Therapy

This planter was made using leftover plastic containers! Stephanie at Garden Therapy has a step-by-step tutorial teaching you how to utilize those old plastic containers again and again to create new planters!

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9. Turn plastic bottles into travel pouches.

Make It-Love It

This hack is so easy! Pick up some zippers (you can find some cute ones at the dollar store) and get to crafting with some leftover bottles.

These would make great containers for leaky pens, like acrylic or watercolor pens!

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10. Create a handy organizer out of cans.

Madame Criativa

The shine of the enamel paint on those cans is what makes this upcycle so special. It's more than just some cans with paint on it — it looks like a gorgeous glass piece!

Get the instructions here.

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11. Turn egg cartons into lights!

Upcycle That

I love the way this DIY used a mix of homemade and store-bought lights! Upcycle That turned egg cartons into decorative lights using some scissors and paint — that's it!

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12. Spoons + glass jar = spoon lamp.

Future Now

Plastic utensils are sometimes necessary, make no mistake. But if you have no use for those plastic bits that come with your food deliveries, hold on to them — you can make a lamp out of them!

If you're a Game of Thrones fan, you could take this one step farther and turn it into a dragon egg lamp.

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13. Melt that ish.


This is not a project to be taken lightly, so please read these two Instructables and do your research before trying it!

However, once you know how to safely melt and reuse HDPE plastics, the sky is the frickin' limit. One artist even made those kitchen tiles you see above!

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14. Recycle old mugs into storage.

Home Road

If you have some beloved mugs that have seen better days, give them new life!

Using this tutorial, create storage — or even planters — for your essentials. You can totally use this with any type of mug, so don't think you're limited to a rustic-looking aesthetic!

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15. This bag? It was knitted out of disposable plastic bags.

Another Knitting Blog

YUP. Over at Another Knitting Blog, Michelle Molis put the bags under her sink to good use. She knitted all of them into this stylish reusable grocery bag.

Honestly? You could even turn this into home decor. It's that cute.

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16. I need a millennial to do this hack.

Crafty Arty

Shampoo bottles come in tons of shapes and colors, which makes them infinitely hackable.

The need I feel to see someone do this hack and use it as legit home decor on Tik Tok is very, very strong.

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17. This garden light used to be a detergent bottle.

Instructables | Ruud van Koningsbrugge

That light is beyond gorgeous, and it cost next to nothing to make.

Ruud van Koningsbrugge posted his process on Instructables. You can follow his instructions, or improvise your own choice of bottle and materials. Either way, your garden is about to get a big upgrade.

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18. Turn leftover paper into a chandelier.

How sweet is this? If you kill every plant you touch, you can turn any leftover paper, wrapping paper, or even old shampoo bottles into a gorgeous chandelier.

Those pink monstera leaves? I need those as earrings.

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19. Make hanging water garden.

The Merry Thought

Have some old glass jars hanging around? Great. Now they can hang around...in style.

At The Merry Thought, jars, leather, rocks, and wooden skewers were used to make these living water gardens!

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20. Make a wall organizer out of leftover bottles.

Homey Oh My

Styling is everything. This hack could look cheap — but the genius of Homey Oh My's hack is in paying attention to colors and hardware.

Hanging these shampoo bottle organizers on a stylish knob will immediately upgrade them!

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21. Reflect on this straw hack.

YouTube | Miss.K

Can you believe that starburst mirror is made out of straws?

Straw upcycling is a pretty good way to help save the earth! Paint yours gold and glue them to the back of a circular mirror, like Miss.K on YouTube!

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22. Spray paint your heart out.

The Painted Hive

Do you have a bunch of mismatched glassware that you want to donate? Or smash?

Hit pause on that one. Instead, get out some spray paint and follow these instructions from The Painted Hive to make yourself a whole new bathroom set!

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23. Don't be afraid to paint fabric.

Refresh Style

I mean, if you're throwing out a piece of furniture, why not give this a shot?

Using fabric medium and her favorite paint, Debbie Westbrooks at Refresh Style re-did this ottoman destined for the trash and totally brought it back to life!

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