Taking something that was either destined for the trash or no longer of use in its original form and turning it into something of higher value or use is the definition of upcycle. A relatively new term, [spellcheck still thinks it's a misspelled word] it still returns less than a million results for a cumulative search of its various forms, including -ing and -ed. But the byproducts are increasing exponentially as the trend catches on. Particularly in the artisan industry where imaginative expression is the seed of creativity. Some of these ideas are ingenious and inspirational!
One team of eco-minded Etsy sellers, Eco Etsy, has a member whose blog features tutorials on upcycling a variety of products from everyday sources found in most homes. ecokaren has recycled t-shirts into memory quilts, turned old jars into soap dispensers and made garment bags from old fitted sheets. She is the go-to gal for DIY's! And she's getting savvy with it, producing video tutorials now too.
|ecokaren's tutorial for upcycled journals|
I belong to the group I mentioned earlier, Upcyclers, and recently we started a forum asking, "What to do with wine corks?". There were several ideas, including coasters, frames, bulletin boards, bases for clay or embellished wine stoppers. One very intriguing one was a chess board! But the most surprising one was jewelry, unique and one of a kind creations made of recycled cork!
Dawn calls her shop 'Wine Cork Jewelry & More' and her designs are organic, well balanced and colorful. A versatile addition to your wardrobe, they are elegant yet simple and would pair well with jeans or a lovely floral frock. She might be from the North, but she has infused a tropical flair that reminds me of the islands.
She also creates wine glass charms that would make the perfect hostess gift for the holidays or an addition to your own party.
Upcyclers often think big! Furniture is one of the largest things filling our landfills and when an outdated or worn piece of "junk" looks hopeless to some,
Lauran from ChromaDecor says, "I'll take it!". Her pieces are also full of vibrant color and imagination. She sees beyond the peeling paint or wear and envisions a "brand new" functional and beautiful addition to a home's decor. A new shop on Etsy, her inventory is low because she has already sold items in the very month she opened! Congrats to her, and it just goes to show the demand for these types of products.
Etsy and other indie artist marketplaces like Artfire are the perfect venues for these kind of handcrafted items, for they truly reflect the personality and ability of those who create them, elevating them to not only functional, but a work of art. You can enter upcycled as a search on Etsy and find over 88,000 items to browse! Artfire has over 15,000. Plenty to choose from, and surely something for everyone.
Since you are here, you must be interested in Upcycled products so here's a chance to win some! Check out Team Eco Etsy's Green Holiday Giveaway: You Wear Them Well! And thank you ecokaren for sharing the news about the giveaway with us...
Good Luck, everyone!
Other Upcycled Treasures to Love:
Fabric Flower by Stagnant Gypsy
Handmade Hedgehog Plush by 5orangepotatoes
Necklace-Marjorie by 3ddoodles on Artfire
Vintage Floral Dangle Earrings by BreatheCouture
Vintage Clipon and Fabric Swatch Hair Barette by beadsbuttonsandbows
Have an upcycled listing in your shop or a favorite?
Post it in the comment field below!!