UPCYCLING LIFE HACKS
Don’t Throw it Away! Use What You Have!
By Karina Solá
America is pretty infamous around the world for being wasteful. But this is 2017 and we can do better! We can “Upcycle America”!
What exactly is Upcycling? Well, it’s a new-fangled way of saying repurposing or recycling. It is the act of taking the excess items that surround your life and changing that trash to treasure. If you’ve ever felt like you have way too much stuff just lying around your home, but you feel wrong just throwing things away, perhaps this article is the answer to your problem.
I find it surprising and ingenious that there are endless possibilities to use a thing for a purpose other than what it was originally made for. It’s like a less impressive transformer. What I really love about upcycling is that it can be ironic and tongue and cheek sometimes too. The best example of this: A Water Filter Pitcher made from used Plastic Water Bottles! Brilliant! Take that Brita! But that’s not all your water bottle can do!
Let’s get to it! Here are 5 ways to upcycle your plastic bottles into amazing new items. It will also save you money!
1. You can make a lampshade for that dark corner in your room with the top part of a large bottle. Just cut off the top, use tape to guard the jagged edge and spray paint it or hand paint the shade with any color or design you fancy.
2. Using the top and bottom parts of a plastic bottle, and 3 or for sawed off nozzles, you can create a cute and unique toothbrush holder. You can also tape or glue the lids of the bottle to the wall or a wooden plank or something over your sink and cut a toothbrush handle-wide slit in the lid to then hang your tooth brushes on.
3. This upcycle hack is just good clean fun. Using a bottle and an old fuzzy sock that maybe doesn’t have it’s match anymore since the dryer ate it, you can make a bubble foam machine! Just cut bottom part off of the bottle and slide on your sock on the cut part of the top and dip the sock in some shampoo water. Then you just blow through the nozzle to make a foam party!!
4. Using thinner plastic bottles, you can create a cute gift box that is transparent. Now that’s thinking inside the box! Using this flattening technique, you can also draw and color out cute little designs and then microwave them to make instant charms for jewelry or keychain. This is one of my favorite hacks.
5. Using a lighter on plastic shapes that you draw out, like for instance, the shape of a spoon, will make the 2D plastic, warp and melt into a 3D Shape. You can also fuse a sheet of plastic onto a mason jar this way to make a label. Very crafty.
BONUS: This guy, Thomas Dambo, made a chest of drawers from giant 5 gallon jugs!
If you don’t own tools like a boxcutter, a small saw, sandpaper and a hot glue gun, get them, they are an investment in your upcycling future. Not to mention, those things are just handy to have around sometimes.
1. You can make collapsible portable containers like cups and bowls by wrapping the unsticky side of the tape around an object like a used wine bottle as a guide. Wrap it around, taking care not to let the sticky side get in contact with the object you are wrapping. Then when you have your cup or bowl shaped out, just wrap it around now with the sticky side down. Now you have a container that you can fold.
2. Save your floors from your furniture legs that don’t have sliders on the feet by sticking a square of duct tape on the bottom. Now enjoy smooth sliding the next time you need to vacuum under the couch.
3. Do you ever find yourself in that situation where, you are sitting in your favorite lawn chair, and you think, would life be so much better if this chair had a drink holder? Duct Tape Baby. Use the cardboard part of a used duct tape roll, and then tape a bottom to it and wrap more duct tape around the chair handle and your new cup holder. STYLIN’
BONUS: This is my sister Deanna Solá. She’s brilliant and a creative genius when it comes to the use of Duct Tape. In 2011, she upcycled a dress that she found, into a marvelous and unique prom dress. Here she is, side by side with her prom date who was also donning the Tape of Ducts. This dress goes down in infamy in our local high school. Deanna admits that that night, she was treated like a celebrity. The follow year, she was again invited to attend the prom and she wore a more traditional yellow gown. “I got way more attention and love for wearing that $40 duct tape dress than for my $400 gown.” A story of upcycling success if I’ve ever heard one.
MISCELLANEOUS HONORABLE MENTIONS
Finally, here are some miscellaneous upcycling life hacks that I think deserve an honorable mention because they are ingenious and they reduce waste in the world and more importantly America!
1. Save your plastic tupperware containers, that include your used yogurt and butter tubs from tomato stains by spraying them first with some cooking spray. Or, if it’s too late, rub a lemon and get the juice all into those stains and then set the container in the sun to dry. Wash it and the stains will be gone!
2. This one is not so much an upcycle as it is a life hack. You can check for sure if your batteries are good or bad by bouncing them on a flat surface on the minus side. If the battery stands up after the lite bounce, then it;s good. If it falls over, it’s dead.
3. You can use floss to squeeze out you blackheads and dirt in your pores. Weird and gross I know, but definitely worth a try, am I right ladies?
4. Save those top lids from your used parmesan cheese shaker jars. You can use them again for other food items that involve shaking like more cheese or sprinkles or chia seeds. The green shaker lid will screw on to most mason jars for a bohemian look and with a practical purpose.
5. You can use plastic bread bag closers for power cord labels to help organize that mess behind the TV. Never have trouble unplugging the wrong thing again!
I hope these upcycling life hacks have enlightened your perspective on the everyday objects you may have consider chucking. Now you know to give those objects a second look, because they may just be treasures to behold.