Upcycling ideas: bows & flowers & tins & umbrellas & everything

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “links round-up” post about some of the things that I’ve been emailed or spotted around the greater internet recently so … here goes!


  • With the major gift giving time of the year looming in the near-distance, I love this idea of reusing colourful children’s pictures to make gift bows instead of using generic plastic ones. Of course the same idea can be applied to any old paper – as the tutorial shows black-on-white newspaper text looks pretty cool too.
  • I’m always a sucker for stuff made with drinks cans but these flowers are rather cute – I especially like the painted ones.
  • Tinplategirl emailed recently her new tutorials site about working with tinplate – the smooth heavier-weight metal from various large tins & cans. The site includes a number of free videos introducing the craft – where to find the materials and how to work with them – and how-to PDFs for making all sorts of things (some free, some costing up to $9.95). A great resource for people wanting to move on from working with the more malleable drinks can metal.
  • And speaking of large tins, this tiered unit made from old biscuit/chocolate tins has been around for a while now but I thought it was worth mentioning because it’s a lot of fun and useful.
  • Another thing that’s a bit old but feels newly relevant given the sudden switch to autumn this week: how-to recover an umbrella frame. Great for revamping a brolly or fixing it if it gets torn – double up your green points by using old fabric (an old tent? old synthetic clothes?) for the umbrella and reclaiming the best bits of the original fabric for other craft projects (a water resistant swimming bag? or to make foam bath cushion?)
  • Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, do check out WeUpcycle.com, which started as a 30 day/30 upcycled things project but is now a wider collection of upcycling ideas. No how-tos but lots of inspiring, pretty pictures.

Have you seen any fun or interesting reusing or recycling projects recently? Or have you got anything you’d like to show off of your own creation? Do leave a comment below!

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One Response to “Upcycling ideas: bows & flowers & tins & umbrellas & everything”

  1. marla says:

    I know this is necro-posting but I only found this lovely site and am having a WONDERFUL time browsing! I upcycle broken umbrellas by turning them into shade for the too sunny areas of my garden. Take a 5 gallon bucket and some quick set cement a broken brolly and a 5 foot or larger piece of PVC pipe with a larger diameter hole than the brollys metal shaft and some chicken wire. Put the cut pipe in the bucket, mix quick set cement and pour it in the bucket about 6 inches deep. Hold the pipe straight (I use a level to be sure) for the setting time for the cement. Drill holes just above the cement line for drainage in the side of the bucket!. Take any plastic handle and cloth covering off the umbrella so all you have left are the bones. Drop the metal shaft down into the PVC pipe. Cut the wire in a circle and cover the brolly with it, tie or wire it on to the ribs. Fill the pot with soil and plant some heavy sun loving vine at the base of the pipe. This leaves you room for smaller shade lovers underneath. Use a larger beach or golf umbrella and you can create shade for a larger area and place pots around the 5 gallon bucket. My heavy sun areas in the deep South U.S. can kill even sun loving plants so this way I have unique “trees” and more shade for my herbs.

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