Cloth christmas workshop

Unwanted and uncherished? No, we’re not quoting a dating site. We’re looking at all those household items that hover dangerously close to turning into landfill, when a bit of ingenuity could refashion them into gifts, toys, clothing and more. Here’s our top ten tips for upcycling the dusty and unloved.

1. Get online

Crafting is in! There’s a wealth of information available online. Start trawling beautiful design blogs like The Design Files and  The Crafty Minx, and you’ll find yourself inspired within moments.

2. Take a course

Perhaps you’re not quite the craft master you’d like to be. See if there’s a sewing course you can take, or a knitting circle you can join. Perhaps woodworking is more your bent? A little skill can make all the difference when it comes to creating a finished product that doesn’t just end up in the ragbag again. Keep your eye on upcycling workshops which pop up throughout the year.   

3. Form a craft group

Forget the book group – how about a craft group? Meeting regularly will keep you on track with projects. You’ll also be able to give advice, get help and swap ideas.

4. The right tool for the job

Any craft project is made much easier when you’re using the right tools. If the equipment you need is a little more expensive see if you can buy it as a group, and take turns using it.

5. Kids toys

Soft toys are a great way to get started with sewing. And what’s cuter than a sock monkey?

6. Refashioning fashion

Have a look through your wardrobe – is it possible to let that skirt down or put the hem up? Put a few buttons on that cardigan? You might end up with clothing that feels new – and save yourself some money.

7. Patchwork

Patchwork can be a lot of fun, and doesn’t have to be particularly complex when you’re starting out. Try a small baby quilt – or why not use old blankets to make a new patchwork blanket?

8. In the pantry

Are your cupboards full of half used packets of flour, cereal boxes pegged close, and nuts that have lost their crunch? Keep those old jars, clean them up, make yourself some cute labels and get your cupboard organised.

9. Furniture

Before you throw out a piece of furniture, have a think about whether you could change it. Even a lick of paint can do wonders. Or you might want to get a little more adventurous. Sand and oil that table before you decorate its top with a collage of kids’ wooden rulers, or try out some decoupage using old family photos.

10. Share your own ideas

When the ideas start flowing, get blogging – tell others about your experiences and join a thriving online community. Who knows, you might even be able to sell some of your successful designs!

Come on, there’s loads more great upcycling ideas. Help us out with your favourite upcycling tips in the comments below.

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