How can I reuse or recycle (or upcycle) cheap glass figurines?

We’ve had an email from Yvonne:

My aunt moved into a care home quite suddenly last month so we’ve “inherited” a few boxes of her stuff to deal with. One of the boxes includes about 40 cheap chintzy little figurines made from glass. I don’t feel right just throwing them away but really don’t want them. What can I do with them? Can they be recycled with glass bottles?

On the latter question, I’d have to say check with your local council but probably not – different types of glass have different properties, which is why bottle banks don’t tend to accept panes of glass or broken tumblers etc, and they probably won’t want to take a chance on this one off load.

Anyway, it would be better to pass them on or reuse them before recycling them. Give them away to a local charity shop or on Freecycle/Freegle, or sell them on eBay – you could sell them as a job lot for car booters or the like if you just want to get rid of them ASAP. They might not mean much to you but some people will collect them and you might have just the figurine they’re looking for.

Any reuse/upcycling ideas?

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6 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle (or upcycle) cheap glass figurines?”


  1. Michelle says:

    Depending on the size… Some quick things that come to mind: using that glue E6000 on the inside of jar lids, glue the bottom of the figurine, when dry add sprinkles, beads, shaved PVC and fill jar with water- quick glass animal snow globe; if nearby kids always fun like the old game ‘feely-meely’ put figurines inside shoe box with holes cut on the sides. Fun to reach your hand in and try to guess what animal is hidden inside; also you can glue a stick to the bottom and then you can put them as planter figurines- or throughout a garden adds a bit of whimsy.
    Good luck, now I wish I had some just to play with!

  2. Rachel Ramey says:

    I’ve seen some pretty icky-looking dollar store figurines made to look quite chic by decoupaging them – even just with old book pages. I’m not sure what it would take to get the first layer to adhere to the glass, but that might be an option for anything that has a nice shape.

  3. Uluska says:

    Give them a slight hit with a finger-nail, if they make long jingling sound, it is crystal, and crystal figurines are expensive. Keep them or sell them. If they are made of glass, the sound is very short and dull.
    Still, if you keep them somewhere unreachable, they can seem as crystal.

  4. Uluska says:

    Glass figurines can be spray painted.

  5. Angelina says:

    Use them as paper weights.
    Hang them as light catchers on a window.
    Hide them in a treasure box, dig into soil in a garden, then draw a map so kids can go on a treasure hunt.
    Spray paint them gold and hang as Christmas ornaments.

  6. Olia says:

    Use them as paper weights.



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