Posts tagged "furniture"

How can I reuse or recycle a whole kitchen?

I’m back post-lurgy and I thought I’d post this great question from James – asking how to recycle a whole kitchen:

We shall be replacing our kitchen in the next few months. The present one is 15 years old and is perfectly serviceable. I don’t want to “skip” it. Any suggestion as to how I can recycle it?

My first suggestion would be to try to pass it on – lots of people would love a kitchen revamp but can’t afford to go the whole hog so just replace cabinet doors etc. I regularly see sets of door & drawer fronts offered up on eBay, Gumtree or Freecycle/Freegle (and probably Craig’s List in the US). Built-in appliances can be sold/passed on separately too as they often expire before the rest of the kitchen so people might want to replace just those bits.

People don’t just use them for revamping their own full kitchens either – someone might want to make a “tea station” at a community venue, or for storage in a porch/understairs cupboard – so if you’ve not got a lot, someone still might want them for that sort of thing instead. And tatty but still usable cupboards and worksurfaces are still useful in places where function very much trumps form like a garage, cellar or shed – and old sinks are often useful in those places too. We recently covered ways to reuse old ovens (and toaster ovens) too so again, people might want those for non-culinary pursuits where aesthetics are less important.

As for more creative reuses (rather than just reusing stuff for its original purpose), I’ve made oversized planters from wooden cupboard doors before, I’ve seen people making pretty serving trays from doors and Alison Bailey Smith curated an art project last year where people used her old kitchen as art materials.

(Of course, I also have to mention the most important point in the recycling triangle – reduce. New kitchens are very resource intensive and a greener option would be to revamp an old kitchen rather than replacing it with all new …. but you know what, I think that’s a whole ‘nother post for tomorrow! ;) )

Any other suggestions for ways that James could recycle his whole kitchen? Have you given away an old kitchen – or got one from someone else? Any tips?

(Photo by cgarbiano)

Reusing, recycling and upcycling links – and a video

It’s been a while since I’ve featured some of the wonderful reusing, recycling and upcycling links I’ve spotted recently. So, without further ado…:

  • Drinks can pop top lampshade I love this lampshade made with drinks can pop tops – it’s like modern chainmail :)
  • Drinks can bottoms necklace The other end of the cans – a great reuse since so many crafts using the pop tops or the sides of the cans, but I’ve not seen many using the stiffer curved bottoms.
  • Fake shell-like pendants from bubble wrap Following on in the “you’d never guess what this necklace used to be” line, this tutorial shows you how to make shell-like decorations for jewellery from bubble wrap.
  • Old jeans into placemats I think I’ve seen something like this before but it’s still a great idea – denim placement from old jeans, using the pockets as cutlery/napkin holders – cute!

(Bench photo by Kindall)

Fab recycled projects: bird feeders, storage bags, pot racks & more

It’s been a few weeks since I shared some links so here are some of my favourite sightings and emails from the last month:

  • First up, it has to be Scott’s coke can and chopsticks bird feeder – as always, a fab recycled item with very fun how-to instructions. Unfortunately (for us in the UK) the full instructions will be in Make magazine – but if you’re crafty, you can kinda get the idea from the pictures/preview ;)
  • And sticking with gorgeous things in the Make/Craft universe, I love these denim storage bags – easy to make from the legs of old jeans — a perfect companion project if you’re turning some jeans into cut-offs this summer :)
  • I also love these sweet packet purses/pouches. I wonder if clear plastic bags could be fused onto the packets rather than having to use iron on vinyl…
  • As a fan of both buttons and nature, I think these buttons from twigs are great too. As the how-to explains, it’s a little tedious to cut them all with a handsaw but if you just want a few and don’t have a table saw, then it’s still a viable project.
  • And speaking of the great outdoors, I’m planting out a lot of stuff at the moment. I’ve been using sliced up plastic bottles, drinks cans and other packaging for plant markers but these labels – made from skewers and wine corks – are very cute too.
  • Roo has turned an old nightstand/chest of drawers into a unique and fun doll house – just a little handy work is needed before the fun decorating starts!
  • Shopping lists save money & food waste but our lists and pens tend to wander from our kitchen noticeboard — they wouldn’t if we had one of these. The similar pretty wood backing/bulldog clip/elastic band idea would work well with reclaimed scrap paper as well as a new roll.
  • And finally, I had an email from Jackie: “I recycled this awning frame by making it a pot rack. A little bit of chain and I hooks and s hooks bring it all together” — looks great and super practical, great work.



How can I reuse or recycle a futon?

We’ve had an email from Nicki:

How can I recycle a futon? I think I’ve got a friend who will take the frame but she doesn’t want the mattress. What can I do with that?

I suspect, like all mattresses, they won’t be too not too popular secondhand as they’re hard to clean, especially if they’ve been slept on a lot. Occasionally used ones may be more popular on Freecycle/Freegle.

When we were talking about mattress frames a few weeks ago, I mentioned an article on radical recycling of mattresses – some of those reuses would apply to futon mattress too.

The frames are easier to pass on (as Nicki has already found) – furniture charities may be willing to take them even if they don’t want the mattress for bed bug/dirtiness reasons. It also might make interesting garden furniture.

Any other suggestion for the frame or the mattress?

(Photo by SusanMcM)

How can I reuse or recycle baby stair gates and play pens?

We’ve had an email from Karen:

How can I recycle a baby cot, stair gate and play pen?? Cant bear to throw them away but seems difficult to give away!!

It doesn’t have to be difficult to give them away – join your local Freecycle/Freegle group, post an “offer” message and chances are someone will come to collect it from your house, at your convenience, within a few days if not hours (or post an ad on GumTree [like Craig's List in the UK] or on eBay – if your goal is to get rid of it, start it at 99p and mark it “collection only” and it’s almost sure to go).

Or give them to a charity shop – it might have to be a furniture focused charity or charity shop but there should be one of those near you – and some places even collect furniture donations. The NCT also regularly organise local “nearly new” sales – for parents to pass items onto new parents in need.

As for reuses, we covered baby cots a few weeks ago – some nice ideas on there including making the cot into a bench seat/sofa for the growing kid’s bedroom. Stairgates are also used by people with dogs as well as babies, to keep pesky mutts in or out of certain places – if you know anyone with dogs (particularly small ones), they might be interested. Ditto a play pen to some extent – they’re useful for penning in all sorts of small animals, not just baby humans – someone who breeds cats or puppies might like to use it for a birthing area, or it could be used as a temporary run for ill/pregnant/new rabbits or chickens.

If they’re still in good condition, it would definitely be best to pass them on – any other suggestions for how to pass them on easily? Or for reuses/recycling ideas?

(Photo, which illustrates my doggy point, by ewen and donabel)