New and Improved: Creative Upcycyling at Home

In the Min & Mich spirit of sustainability, and inspired by our Coconut Shell Candles made from repurposed coconut husks, we’re sharing 5 clever ideas on how you can reduce waste by repurposing items that would have otherwise been binned. Chances are you already have them in your home, and with some creative upcycling you can turn them into something fresh and new that you’ll love having around.

1. Broken teapot planters

Accidents happen, and chances are you or someone in your household have chipped or broken a cherished piece of ceramic at least once. The good news is, you don’t have to be upset about it. You can use chipped or broken teapots, teacups, bowls, and more as repurposed planters. In the case of a broken piece of ceramic, you can either glue the pieces back together or appreciate its new beauty and make it a planter in its “broken” state. You can even place the pieces that broke off in the soil alongside the plant; get creative with it. There are so many ways to salvage your best-loved but damaged ceramics. 

Succulents and flowers are excellent to place in these planters. You can take soil either from the ground or from a store-bought garden mix, then loosely pack it around your plant of choice in the planter. Depending on the size of the piece - perhaps you have a large damaged bowl you’d like to repurpose - you can even try your hand at growing something like a lemon tree. For larger plants, however, it’s even more important to make sure there are at least a couple of holes in the bottom of the planter for irrigation purposes. 

2. Upcycled map 

If you’ve been on holiday (or even in your home city), you’ve surely snagged a free brochure here and there, perhaps a fold-out map of the area. These maps are great to repurpose for home decor, and are especially meaningful if the map is of a place that’s dear to your heart.

You can lay the map on a base of cardboard or cork, for example, gluing it down then placing it in a frame. You can then get creative with it and place pins in meaningful places on the map, a bit like a travel diary. That’s not all you can do; alternatively, you can decoupage the map onto a tray, desk, or coasters for functional decor or even onto a canvas. The options are endless.

3. Shoebox file holder

Shoeboxes are great storage to begin with, but taking the top off of one can open up even more storage opportunities. Use scissors or a box cutter to slice at the hinge of the box and the lid. You’re left with a study base that you can line up folders, books, or files in. If you have multiple shoeboxes, these work particularly well lined up side-by-side. Especially in the age of work-from-home, this is an essential organiser for any home office. You may like the look of your shoebox as it is, but if you want to add more spunk, cover the box in fabric or decorative paper. Simply apply glue on the outside of the box (Modge Podge is a great option) and line the sides with the material of your choice. Then fold the material in and apply more glue so that the edges look clean. Choosing a fabric or paper that is meaningful to you means the organiser will really brighten up your day every time you look at it. That’s how we feel looking at our Vintage Sari Cushion Covers, made with the same principle.

4. Repurposed jars

Keep your glass jars that jams and sauces come in and you’ll easily never have to buy tupperware again. There are so many ways to use these jars; store nuts, candies, or spices in them in your cupboard. Line them all up, or mix and match them with other tins or storage containers for a chic eclectic look. If you make your own jam (here’s a great guide to making jam from fruit scraps), you’ve got a receptacle for them. They are also great for transporting soups and other liquids without worrying about leakage. Got leftovers? Fill the jars up with any food left from the batch; in fact, repurposed jars can even be useful for portioning food out whilst storing it so that tomorrow night’s dinner is easy to grab right out of the fridge. If you meal plan, eating your lunch out of a jar can keep things interesting, and storage is easy.  

To get that sticky label off, leave the jars to soak in warm, soapy water for a bit, then simply peel the label off. If there is any adhesive left, make a mixture of equal parts baking soda and cooking oil and rub it over the sticky area. That should get it nice and smooth. 

5. Painted plate

If you’ve got ceramic plates that are chipped or otherwise not in use, you can turn them into a beautiful piece of art. Take some acrylic paint and let your imagination run wild. Floral designs work beautifully, as do geometric patterns or any other pattern you can think of. You can even paint a portrait or a landscape across it, or an abstract design. It is essentially your blank canvas, and whatever you mind can imagine, you can paint on your plate. You can then hang it on the wall or lean it against a shelf or countertop to display. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to turn the plate itself into art but are still the creative type, you can use an old plate as your palette for mixing paints. The glazed exterior of the plate makes it easy to then wash paint off afterwards so you can use it again and again.

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