The editorial staff at DIYNetwork.com is no different than any other edit group – we’re a bunch of nerdy word geeks who find bad grammar, misspelling and misusage hysterically funny. We’re also a handy bunch who regularly scours Craigslist for old relics to reinvent. So you could imagine our delight when we find unintentional creative spellings while perusing the web for upcycle gold. We go giddy over things like “Wayne’s coating,” the various ways to spell ottoman — such as “automan“ and “oddamin“ — “rot iron“ (black metal), “chester drawers“ (sounds like a cartoon character from furniture land), “armwar“ (a big cabinet to store clothes), and the very lethal, “slay bed.” The lesson? If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try searching with some creative spelling, and you might hit the jackpot.
If you haven’t tried it before, repurposing and upcycling furniture and decor can be a blast. Start with the hunt – you never know what’s going to be at the next junk shop or the next page of search results. You’ll know that special piece when you see it, like a light bulb of creativity flicking on, and you’ll get so excited that you’ll want to start immediately.
A table or desk can be a good starter project; they can be made out of so many things. When looking for a piece to turn into a table, the first (and probably the most obvious) thing to consider is the size of item. Is it the right height and width for your space? Will it fit in front of your sofa or next to your bed? (Coffee tables are normally 16” to 20” tall and nightstands are 24″ to 28” tall). If it’s not a perfect fit, can it be cut down, lowered or raised up? Can it easily be painted? You may want to stay away from rusty metal, because it can take a lot of time and effort to properly prep it for paint. Consider storage too. It may look cool, but is it functional?
Upcycled lighting options are endless. The trick is to find an item that can be drilled and fitted for wiring. You may have to buy a special bit for your drill (like masonry or glass). But, it’ll probably be cheaper than buying a new lamp. You may want to practice on a test piece. For instance, if you want to make a lamp out of glass jug, do a few practice drills (yes, that is a pun) on some empty wine bottles.
Speaking of wine bottles, they’re perfect upcycle fodder — chandeliers, memory jars, citronella torches (watch video below), centerpieces and more. One of the best parts of wine bottle projects: getting together with friends to empty the bottles.