Upcycling materials

by Audrey Angcos of Cheerful Journey

Some call upcycling as ‘salvage art’- taking something that would otherwise be thrown out and making it into something better. It helps put our ‘creative juices’ into good use. It is like hitting two birds in one stone! Aside from doing our share to lessen the garbage that adds to the mountains of trash in the landfill, we will also have a new object that is made with love and can be put into a good use.

Let me share with you some of the upcycled materials that I made these past months.

From Bottles to Vases


These bottles were used as containers of fresh buko juice that I bought from the supermarket. Since the bottle is nice and big enough, I decided to upcycle it and make a pretty vase. I just painted it with gold and pink and now, it sits on one of the corners of my room.

Gold and pink vase

I just added some handmade paper flowers to complete the look! What do you think?

From Empty Containers to Travel Essentials

candy can

These empty candy containers sit on my dresser for few weeks already. Then, as I was packing for an out of town trip, a colorful idea appeared! With the use of paint and fabric tapes, I transformed these candy containers into something that I can use whenever I travel!

Q-Tips and Hair Pins Holder

I always have dozens upon dozens of bobby pins. However, I always misplaced them! Hence, whenever I need to use some bobby pins for my hair, I will turn into a detective and search each crevices of my dresser just to find some. This tin candy container is a good size that fits my bobby pins! I just painted it to make it more dainty and I had an instant Bobby pin holder!

Whenever I travel, I usually wrap some Q-tips/cotton swabs in a piece of paper together with my toiletries. Whenever one of my toiletries would spill, my cotton swabs usually became one of the victims. What a waste! — Not anymore! This plastic candy container fits around 15 cotton swabs! I just put some fabric tape on it and it was turned into a nice waterproof travel essential. I don’t need to worry of spillage and I’m sure that it will keep my cotton swabs sanitised as well!

From ‘Common-Looking’ to ‘Something Striking’


Monogram letters can really spice up and personalize your table or corner. However, when I saw the price of the pretty letters, I could not say goodbye to my hard-earned money for that. Time to use my creative juices! I bought these recycled papier-mâché letters for Php5.00-Php10.00 each. I put my left over paints to good use then… I have my own monogrammed letter display!

Monogram display Ampersand display

Those are just some of the upcycled things that I made. Now, you might ask, how could you start upcycling. I am not a master of this trade, like you, I am also in the process of learning. Let me share with you some of the things that helped me upcycle things.

1. Look for Inspiration

One of the things that I enjoy doing online is creating Pinterest boards. Pinterest is bursting with beautiful inspirations! Whenever I see something beautiful and useful, I will just pin it to my board then revisit the board whenever I am ready to do a DIY project.

2. Don’t Throw Things that Can be Put into Good Use

Other people might see it as a clutter-hugging spree. This is not an excuse to live with clutter. You should know what to keep and what to throw – or else your home would end up like a junk shop. As for me, I only allot one box to hold all the materials to be upcycled. Whenever I see the item, I know within me whether it could be put into something useful or not. Remember, we want to make something useful and not to hoard trash in our homes.

3. Be Creative

Before buying something for the home, (new vase, new magazine rack, etc.) check first if you can make it yourself. DIY things are just a few clicks away! You can watch some tutorials in youtube or other arts and crafts websites. The materials that you need might already be within your reach.

4. Enjoy the Process

Rather than seeing it as a task that you need to do, try to look at it as a hobby that you will enjoy. Positivity will help you be more creative at the same time, enjoy the process of creating!

5. Share your Discovery

There are a lot of Facebook groups where like-minded individuals share their crafts and discoveries. This might be an avenue to meet new friends and to get new ideas.

As for me, there are times when I would meet with my friends (who also love arts and crafts) and we will just create things over a cup of coffee. 🙂

You could also give some of your upcycled items to your friends (who will appreciate it) as a gift! Knowing that you made it yourself will make them appreciate the gift all the more!


How about you? Are you also into upcycling?

What are the things that you were able to create? You might want to share some of your tips with us.

Don’t forget to share it by commenting below.