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Simple upcycling ideas
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Simple upcycling ideas

Has all the talk about decluttering inspired you to have a big clear out? Now that you are faced with a big pile of items you don’t want, there is a chance you might feel a bit guilty getting rid of it all, even if you have dutifully sorted it into piles for charity, recycling or selling.

If you are feeling up to a bit of upcycling, we have rounded up a few simple craft projects to inspire you.

Many of us like to keep glass jars, perhaps with every intention of making jam, marmalade or chutneys, and many of us don’t get round to it! If you have a collection of pretty jars, one of the simplest things is to decorate the outside with strips of ribbon, patterned paper, string or fabric, fixing them with glue. You can then use them as vases or as lanterns or candle holders. Pop in a tealight, which you can get really cheaply from supermarkets or online. If you don’t feel happy about using candles, you can always use battery-operated fairy lights, which work really well in the bigger Kilner-style jars. Jar ‘lights’ make a great centrepiece for a dining table or on a side or coffee table.

If you have piles of photos or even children’s artwork that you fully intend to display or put into an album, you might look at them and wonder whether you will ever do this and how time consuming it will be. If you have the photos stored on your computer or phone, you can pop them onto a memory stick and use a digital photo frame; alternatively, if you have already printed them off, how about creating a ‘washing line’ display? This is extremely easy, quick and cheap to do. All you need is some lengths of string, twine or ribbon and pegs and simply peg the photos onto your line. This project is ideal for creating a temporary display for a big party, but can just as easily be a more permanent thing and, of course, changing the pictures can be done in seconds!

If you have old picture or mirror frames that look a bit dated, or shabby, or don’t match your décor, it is easy to give them a bit of a makeover. The simplest thing is to repaint them, making sure you sand them down and use a primer or undercoat first. Finish with a coat of paint, or even spray paint, and they are ready for rehanging on the wall or for displaying on a table or mantelpiece.

Sticking with tables, you can turn an old tablecloth or even an old duvet cover into a runner (narrow tablecloth). Runners look great on dining or console tables and are more contemporary than tablecloths. Making them is really straightforward if you are handy with a sewing machine, as all you really need to do is hem the seams and you are ready to go. Runners are great for bringing a bit of colour into a room and for creating a decorative centrepiece; they also protect the surface of the table.

Old textiles can be turned in a range of new items in addition to table runners. Cushion covers can be made from old curtains or clothes and are a great way of reusing clothes that mean something to you but that you no longer wear. For a more challenging project, how about creating a patchwork out of your children’s old clothes? If you feel up to the task, you can make a quilt; however, a cushion cover is much easier and far less time consuming and would make a lovely memento without clogging up the loft with old clothes!

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