Posts tagged "wood"

How can I reuse or recycle parts of wooden toys?

We’ve had an email from Sarah P:

Cleaning out my boys toy box before Christmas, found lots of pieces of wooden toys from when they were little, sorting blocks, building blocks that sort of thing. Tried to get them into original sets to give away but either too many pieces missing or just not knowing what goes with what. Nice colours and shapes, shame to bin them.

As for the “not knowing what goes with what” issue, enlist the help of your sons ;)

If the pieces are from well known, popular toys, it might be worth offering them on Freecycle/Freegle or even eBay as spares – someone might want to complete their half-lost set or, as in the case of free building stuff, expand their supply. (Searching “spares” in the young children Toy section on eBay returns a lot of Playmobile/Brio/ELC HappyLand stuff so that stuff would probably go more quickly than generic building blocks or cheap toys.)

I can understand the desire to declutter before Christmas but don’t underestimate the value of random bits & pieces for future imaginative play potential – I remember having random bits of pre-school toys around until I was at least 10, using them as assorted markers or objects, reinventing them in different ways to fit the purpose.

The toys will likely to have been painted or varnished so shouldn’t really be burnt or composted and I suspect to be safe for little ones, they’ll be quite chunky – possibly too big for upcycling into fun costume jewellery. They might make a mobile or a decorative door hanger for a nursery though.

Any other reuse suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle veg boxes?

Krystyna left a comment on the Suggestions page asking:

I’ve just had my first veg box delivery and was wondering if anyone had good re-use suggestions for the wooden veg boxes…?

First off, reduce – you should probably check with your veg box company to see if they have a scheme to take them back and reuse them as veg boxes. They might be able to collect old ones when they drop off new ones.

If that’s not possible, cute vintage apple boxes sell for a mint on eBay so if they’re nice, one idea might be to keep hold of them for 50 years then put them on eBay in 2060 ;)

More practically, my dad used to use those sort of boxes in the garden – as trays for holding pots of plants and for storage – and they’re great as veg storage boxes too funnily enough – people who grow their own root veg will probably be particularly interested in them (offer them on Freecycle/Freegle if you don’t grow yourself).

They’d be perfect for storage in general around the house – if they’re like the ones I’ve seen, the wood might be a little cheap/rough for fine/snaggable items but sanding & painting might take care of that.

And if all else fails, they’d make great kindling for anyone with an open fire/stove (assuming they’ve not been treated with anything to protect the wood).

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle an old ladder?

Ladders are frequently decommissioned when they become a safety risk – the wood gets a bit rotten or metal bent or rusty – but they can still be used for other things — just not whole-human-weight things.

At my mum and dad’s house the other day, I spotted half an old wooden ladder had been reused as a cat ramp – the cats are getting old and they can’t jump up to the kitchen window sill any more so use the ladder to get up there and through the window (which they use instead of a cat flap). I’ve also heard about ladders being used as the basis of ramps for chicken coops.

Inside the house, old ladders can be used as fun bookshelfs – step-ladders with deeper rungs have more shelf space but rickety old wooden ones look more fun.

What else can be done with old ladders?

How can I reuse or recycle wooden fencing?

We’ve had an email from Ste:

What are the options for tanalised overlap fencing panels?

Tanalised wood lasts longer outside without maintenance but it is a bit more problematic to dispose of as it’s been treated with chromated copper arsenate – toxins ahoy! It’s not recommended to burn on open fires or in woodburning stoves, and I wouldn’t want those chemicals anywhere near my compost heap either. They can apparently be burnt in industrial incinerators but that’s usually a last ditch “solution”.

The better option would be to reuse them if possible. If it’s simple a case of no longer wanting them, offer them on Freecycle/Freegle – I think it’s almost guaranteed that someone will want them. People will still probably want them for spares or repairs if they’re damaged, or cut them down to make small panels out of the undamaged bits.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle louvre doors?

We’ve had an email from Stuart:

Dismantled some fitted cupboards, six tall louvre doors leftover. Ideas?

I really like the idea of louvre/louver doors as indoor window shutters, an alternative to blinds. I’m not 100% sure what they’re called but you can get hinges to fix them together so they fold at the joins, rather than needing a pocket recess/recess space.

Similarly, you can use them to make a concertina room divider and there is a lovely Instructable which explains all. The same principle could be used to make a sun-screen/privacy shade for the garden.

They can also easily be transformed to get rid of the dust-attracting louvre slats – a flat piece of wood over the top of the slats modernises them quickly or, if the outside frame is pretty sturdy, knock out the slats and replace with cute gathered fabric for a country-cottage feel.

Any other suggestions?