Unique Ways to Upcycle for Your Lifestyle

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Dinah Wulf is a full-time mother, blogger, writer and creator of DIYInspired.com.

Unique ways to upcycle paper packaging

1 ⋅ Shoebox to wall art – Use the lid of a shoebox as a paint canvas. Spray the lid with primer and then paint the lid in the color of choice. Use stencils to create unique artwork.

2 ⋅ Oatmeal canister to flower pot – Cut the top off of an oatmeal canister to about four inches tall. Using rope and hot glue, start from the bottom and wrap the rope around the container, securing it with hot glue. Continue to wrap until you reach the top. Plant your favorite flowers or succulents inside.

3 ⋅ Cardboard box to drawer organizer – Cut the bottoms of food boxes so they are approximately two and a half inches high. Wrap each bottom with decorative paper and use them inside drawers for organization. Use different-sized boxes to organize pencils, pens and paper clips in an office drawer or utensils in a kitchen drawer.

4 ⋅ Cereal box to puzzle – Cut the front off of a cereal box. Glue the cover of an old coloring book on top of the cereal box front. Make sure that the box cover and book cover are aligned. Trim any excess. Then, cut the picture in several puzzle-piece shapes. Store them in a Ziploc® bag for your kids to use over and over again.

5 ⋅  Chip can to surprise gift box – Decorate a clean potato-chip can with paint or decorative paper. Pick a themed gift for your recipient—for example, pamper and spa. Using a long ribbon, tie together nail polish, small nail files, toe separators, nail brushes and the like together. At the end of the ribbon, make a “pull me” gift tag. Let the tag hang out of the can and place the lid on top.

Best items to use for upcycling projects

1 ⋅ Old book pages – Book pages from damaged books can be used for so many things. Make paper flowers to embellish frames or wreaths, or decoupage them to an accent piece to upcycle a small piece of furniture.

2 ⋅ Cardboard tubes – Not only are cardboard tubes good for gift-wrapping and kids’ crafts, they make for great napkin rings! Cut a tube into two-inch-thick pieces. Using rope and hot glue, wrap and glue the rope around each piece for a rustic or nautical effect. Glue a shell on top for summer or a flower on top for spring.

3 ⋅ Cardboard boxes – Transform sturdy boxes by wrapping them in fabric, rope or paper. They can be painted, duct taped or decoupaged. Use them for storage in a laundry room, for kids’ toys or in an office.

How upcycling can give your home a facelift

1 ⋅ Coffee filter flowers – Pinch the center of a coffee filter upwards to create a bunch. One by one, add three more until one full bunch has four coffee filters. Use a child-sized hair band to tie the “stem” together. Cut out flower petals out of old book pages and glue them to the flower. Add a wooden dowel or skewer as a stem, and arrange several flowers in your favorite vase to create a beautiful bouquet.

2 ⋅ Cereal box file organizer – Prepare two to three cereal boxes and cut the tops at a diagonal of staggered heights. Glue the boxes together front to back and decorate with construction or wrapping paper. Ta da! You got a beautiful file organizer

3 ⋅ Magazine paper bowl – Use old magazine pages to make a decorative paper bowl. Cut two-inch-thick strips of magazine with a paper cutter. You will need about 75 strips for a small bowl. Fold each strip two times lengthwise and begin rolling each strip to create a base. Apply white glue with a paint brush to hold the base together. Once the base is finished, add a layer to each strip, gradually moving upwards to create a bowl shape. Secure it with glue and allow it to dry completely.

4 ⋅ Recycled homework photo frame – Glue rolled strips of your child’s old homework to a wooden frame to make a unique and colorful photo frame. Another option is to cut out strips from their homework with all the smiley faces, letter grades and “good jobs,” and use those to decoupage a frame of their school year picture.

5 ⋅ Book page wreaths – Using a craft wreath and old book pages, make a rustic paper wreath for your home décor. Roll each book page into a cone shape and glue each cone one by one, starting from the outside in. Alternate the space in between layers. This will create a starburst effect, shaping what looks like a large paper dahlia.