Friday, July 11, 2008


"Upcycling" is a term coined by William McDonough and Michael Braugart in their book Cradle to Cradle. Basically it means taking something normally disposed of (especially post-consumer waste) and creating something new out of it.

I'm doing my bit of upcycling today. Well, to be totally honest, it's not quite upcycling in the officially official sense of the word. I pick up "trash" jewelry from yard sales (single earrings, broken brooches, abandoned pendants, loose cabochons) and put it in my "stash" of things from which to create. I hit a few yard sales today and fortunately one person was wise enough to put all their "trash" jewelry out in bags. I think most people assume no one wants that sort of thing, but I did, and I bought it, and came home with a few things I'm kind of excited to use: some filigree items that would've been quite at home at; a couple of cat's eye glass cabs that I plan to practice wire wrapping on; a few cute little charms, some of which used to be earrings; and 3 bracelets worth of beads that I will definitely make use of, including one that is either carnelian or red agate ovals and very pretty.

In true upcycling, people take things that most people consider trash -- cereal boxes, milk cartons, plastic shopping bags -- and make things out of them. Lots of this stuff is "kitschy" and really not my taste, but here's a listing for an item I LOVE:

Water Lily Lamp by Roselover 2

This beautiful thing is $7 in her shop, made of recycled milk cartons, and.. well geez, what more could you want!? Be friendly to the environment, go support her upcycling efforts, and put this as a nightlight in your kid's room or somehing. So pretty :) Go look, that's a link!

Anyway, if you're interested in doing a little fun upcycling yourself, here's a link to a site called Upcycle Art:
They've got soda bottle lamps, plastic bag rope twining (stuff made this way can be found on Etsy too... if I ever get a chance I plan to do an Upcycling Treasury), milk carton CD case and more.

While I'm on the subject, my goal for the month is to stop throwing away my plastics, and take my reams and reams of plastic bags to Wal-Mart. Make this a green month and do one thing to make the Earth a little happier. And maybe create something cool in the process.


Sue said...

HOW COOL I just featured you have no idea how neat a feeling that is I just have tons of goosebumps

If anyone wants they can read more about me and my efforts in greening up the world at my blog

I am the queen of reuse I hate to throw away and there was many ways everyday people can feel like artists reusing things that would normally be recycled

remember the Rs are to be done in order

Reduce what you consume

if you can't reduce something then

Reuse it as much as you can

an finally

recycle the item so it can have a new life

a good example of that is the lily lamps I make made out of milk jugs with a little battery operated light once you are sick of it recycle the whole thing

Ice cream buckets are another great reuse item (one of my favorites really)

Thanks for featuring me now I guess I will have to make more of those lamps!


Anonymous said...

what an awesome idea... its amazing what you can do with the things that get thrown in the trash...

Oh and wanted to say thanks for your comments on my blog.

Youvegotmaille said...

Hee... great to have someone so excited to be featured :) I'm posting a link to your blog in my blogroll list, Sue. I'll be keeping an eye on your shop for more cool stuff!