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It’s no secret that reusing old stuff to make new and useful items is on the up. Upcycling has been sweeping the world from creating useful items in the home, for storage and even for the garden. People everywhere have been rolling up their sleeves to create magic from, well, junk! 

We’ve put together a list of ideas that you can try, to make the most of the stuff you have lying around at home. 

What is upcycling?

“To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.” – Oxford Dictionary

Recycling has become more popular over the years. Facebook Marketplace and other sites that allow the sale of second-hand stuff have boosted upcycling. Finding stuff to transform into something better is easier than ever!. 

What can be upcycled?

You can turn anything into something else. From tired old furniture to pots and pans. With a little know-how and a sprinkle of recycling magic, items can go from nightmare to day-dream. 

Why should you try it?

Not only is upcycling great fun and something to do that isn’t glued to a screen, but it’s also great for the planet. The more we can upcycle into new and useful things, the less we put into landfills and the oceans. It’s a win-win. You get a new project and something fabulous, the planet get’s a little cleaner. 

Ways to upcycle in the garden

Although we can make things into coffee tables and shelves, the ideas below are all to use outside. Some to help the birds through winter, some to help you grow plants without having to purchase plant pots.

Bird Feeders

These can be made from quite literally anything that you can hang a piece of string on. Sticking a chipped teacup to a saucer on a slant, and tying string to the handle is a great example. Fill the cup with seed and voila. You have yourself a fancy bird feeder, from that cup you were going to throw away!

Bird Baths

Making sure birds have enough clean water they can bathe in and drink is a perfect way to help our feathered friends. Attaching old dishes, plates, tins to old chairs or adding legs of their own can create some beautiful features for your garden. 

Pallet Planters

Pallets are another great object to use for upcycling projects as the possibilities are endless! They can be transformed into planters when turned sideways. Add bases to the levels and a protective layer and give the wood a paint if you want to make it super fancy. 

Bug hotels 

This is a great one if you have small children. Bug hotels are the best way to help the little ecosystems you have in your garden as well as recycle items like straws. Small items like bottle tops, straws and any little plastic lids can end up in the sea or be carried away by birds. Use an old bird house (or make a structure out of old pieces of wood) and fill it with sections of recyclable items, glue them in and watch the bugs set up home! The only trouble is, they don’t often pay their rent on time! 

Hanging baskets

Turn metal objects into hanging baskets using some chain or rope. Colanders are a great example because they already have holes for drainage. But old baking tins, bowls and we’ve even seen sinks, make great hanging baskets. 

All these ideas help to grow flowers or shelter bugs and birds which all helps towards protecting our native wildlife. Just about anything can be turned into something amazing with a little love and care.