Grandchildren's old backpacks

Hi all. My grandchildren get new backpacks every year. Most of the time they have been through...well a whole school year and are not fit for donation and I hate tossing them. Any suggestions on how to recycle, reuse or up cycle them. I'm pretty good with a needle and thread, sewing machine, glue, hammer, saw- well let's just say I'm a DIY gal and can use just about any tool or medium you can suggest. In the past I've taken parts from old stuff like this zippers, buckles, handles etc. and have a nice stock pile of these things. My daughter's call me a hoarder (I've seen some of those shows-all my saves are neatly organized and in containers thank you very much) but I say I'm a collector and recycler and just need a project to use some of this stuff. Also I have an oval mirror, just the mirror, it's 24 in x 16 in. Any ideas for this gem. Before it breaks in the back of my closet. Ha, ha.
  10 answers
  • Valerie Valerie on Jul 28, 2013
    The mirror - what about mounting it to a piece of board. Have the board cut to the oval shape approximately two and a half to three inches larger than the mirror itself. Once it is mounted you can really enjoy decorating the board to whatever style suits you and your home best. There is a post called 'It's summa, summa, summertime summertime' on Hometalk where a mirror was decorated with shells, and it is gorgeous. Mosaic or decoupage are other options once it has been mounted. Just remember that if you mosaic it is likely to be fairly heavy, and consider the mounting options before you start, just in case you require a hole to be drilled etc. It would be awful to have to spoil something beautiful if it done after the fact! About the backpacks. I am a keen gardener, and always carry a large bucket around with me when I am busy in the garden, so that I can 'tidy away' weeds etc as I work. If the backpacks are made out of a waterproof material, and you enjoy gardening, one could be 'attached' to a bucket to hold your small gardening tools so that they are with you as you work. Just ensure that it is easily removable so that it does not present a problem when emptying the bucket! Another backpack could be adjusted and mounted to the inside of the cupboard in which you keep your vacuum cleaner to hold the accessories. This could be simply achieved by somehow attaching it to a coat hanger, (over the bar) then only a hook would be required to hold it in position. Be sure to post a photograph of the final product!
  • BJ Chaumont BJ Chaumont on Jul 28, 2013
    I have seen where some one took a old back pack filled with potting soil and put a plant.. they had theirs close to a garden on a fence .. really looked cute.. and the grand kiddos will love seeing their bags with a plant.. you can let them plant something in their own back pack and watch it grow.... the colors of the back packs was cute on the garden fencing..
  • BJ Chaumont BJ Chaumont on Jul 28, 2013
    Oh and the collection of zippers you can take those an glue on to a table then pour a thick polyurethane so you can see them.. use the table for out side /or inside ... the other thing you can take a old tire rim and use tile mud/grout and mosaic with your zippers and things and make a planter stand ..
  • Z Z on Jul 29, 2013
    My first thought is to use them to store your tools/supplies in that you need for any of your projects. Add some hooks along a wall in your basement or garage far enough apart for the backpacks to hang. Paint the fronts of the back packs a solid color (all the same or any color combo you chose), then using a paint pen write on the fronts of them what's stored inside. Or if you want you could even use chalk paint and then write the contents in chalk. When you need the tools you just grab the backpack and carry to where you need them. Replace the tools back in the back pack after you use them and return them to the hook for the next time.
  • Judy Judy on Jul 29, 2013
    Hi, Kathryn. I took one of those "personality" test some years ago. Found out I was an "organized hoarder" because all my finds are boxed, labeled, and stored neatly in shelves! I call myself thrifty and ecologically correct. :)
  • Barbara Coppola Barbara Coppola on Jul 29, 2013
    Re hoarding....I also have a knack of saving, recycling things and my husband calls me a hoarder but I don't sacrifice any spaces or expenses for this and I am very clean and organized. most of the programs on hoarding feature people who are also unfortunately dirty and sometimes quite ill. I agree the bags can be used to store supplies or tools and hung on hooks in the garage, basement or shed.
  • Colleen Colleen on Jul 29, 2013
    Try arranging the back packs vertically on a wide board,and mount onto a garage wall. Each time the grandkids come to visit, they can put shoes, balls any outdoor stuff in before entering the house.
  • Kim Kim on Jul 29, 2013
    I took off the shoulder straps, used the bag as a pattern and used old jeans to make a new backpack. Used a draw string top recycling the cord and cord ends, and a flap to close it. It lasted for years!!
  • Brenda Cantrell Brenda Cantrell on Jul 30, 2013
  • Valerie Valerie on Jul 31, 2013
    @Brenda Cantrell You should be able to do this with a bag that goes across the shoulder. If you were using an old backpack, put it in front of you, with pockets facing outwards. Make a strap that goes across the entire back section of the top of the bag. Keep the one side of the strap (for right/left shoulder, depending on your preference) fairly straight, but immediately taper the other side so that it ends up being about three inches wide at the top of the shoulder. Continue this strap across your back, reattaching it to the bottom, opposite side, of the bag. For extra stability, and to prevent the bag from 'moving around' attach another strap across the bottom of the bag, so that it goes across the back of your waist. You could secure the second strap with with a D-ring or something similar. Would a back-pack, used in the regular way, help?
Your comment...