Ever heard the saying; “trash to treasure” or “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Upcycle, re-purpose, refurbish, revamp, redo, modernize, or recondition are all modern terminology. If you have attendeda craft show, flea market, antique store, or an artist market in the last couple of years, you have most likelyheard these words, but what do they mean? Artists minds are so creative, that they can envision a new life for an item that was once destined for a landfill. One person may see a rusty watering can as useless trash, but an artist inserts dried flowers and ties a gingham ribbon around the neck transforming it into a centerpiece for the Christmas dinner table. Industrial, steampunk, modern, farmhouse, (French) country, nearly everydecorating style incorporates upcycled items.
Simply Vintage Marketplace in Mason, MI. has nearly two acres of treasures to look through along with Pickers paradise full of goodies to upcycle.
Here are some ideas to upcycle common items found in antique stores and flea markets:
Sewing machines: Vintage sewing machines are easy to find when shopping in flea markets and antique stores.Not many people want an old sewing machine sitting around collecting dust. The good news is that Upcycling vintage sewing machines is easy! Separate the sewing machine top from the base, then add a beautiful piece of wood to the top of the wrought iron metal base to make an industrial style table or a trendy bar. After removing the sewing machine from the base, insert a cooler into the base for cool drinks on the patio. Use thesewing machine as a lamp base or take it apart for steampunk components and gears.
Dresser: Old dressers can be repurposed and upcycled into amazing décor items. Unlike new dressers that are usually made with pressboard, old dressers are made with hardwood like walnut, cherry, maple, or mahogany. Turn an old dresser drawer into a dog bed, nightstand, shelf, or a shadowbox table. Remove the drawers and use the remnants of the dresser to make a bookshelf, wine storage rack, entry table, bench, or shorten it for a coffee table. Paint will provide the finishing touch, or sand and stain to refresh the beautiful hardwood.
Old books: Stack three old books to compliment a vignette display. Paint the cover and spine white and tie a red ribbon around two or three books, then tuck in some evergreen sprigs for beautiful holiday display. Trendy home decorating includes painted books with wording on the spine, like “Welcome to our home”, “Blessed”,or wedding dates.
Windows: Old wooden window frames are beautiful décor pieces when adding decoupaging images or hand painting onto the glass. Missing glass from the frame, no problem, simply insert chicken wire and attach photos with clothespins. The glass is perfect for a dry erase board.
Bedframes:Make a nice wooden bench from an old bedframe. Old wrought iron bedframes are nice in the garden as a trellis or garden gate.
Silverware: Find vintage silverware that is actually silver, and upcycle into rings, bracelets, or pendants. Use old silverware to make a unique windchime, or bend silverware into hooks and attach to a board for a kitchen towel hanger.
Bottles: Vintage bottles make beautiful bud vases when grouped together on a table. Add twinkle lights inside with painted or decoupaged images on the outside for seasonal displays.
DIY Lamps: For the lamp base, you can repurpose an old musical instrument, car parts, barn wood, a lantern,metal gears, toys like dinosaurs or dump trucks, be creative and use something that you like. Ideas for an unusual lampshade include wire and beads, wire waste baskets flipped upside down, use vintage photo slides to make a shade, or simply attach vintage or new fabric to an old lamp shade to give it new life. Make hanging pendant lights using old glass globes from ceiling fans, mason jars, old metal cheese graters, teacups, or handblown vintage glass. It is easy to make your own lamps using a simple lamp kit found in any hardware store and usually under $10.