How to Make Cute DIY Home Decor Using Recycled Materials

What DIY projects and crafts can you make with recycled materials? It turns out, just about anything!

Finding new ways to reduce waste and repurpose materials is more important than ever, and turning trash into treasure is a great way to unleash your creativity and contribute to a greener future at the same time.

Here, we're sharing 15 common items you can find in your recycling bin and the many ways you can upcycle them into something useful, innovative, or even beautiful!

Recycled glass bottles

1. Glass bottles

Recycled glass bottles hold immense potential for DIY projects. Instead of throwing them away, these bottles can be transformed into decorative pieces such as twinkling wind chimes, rustic vases, or bubbling water fountains; as well as functional items, such as bird feeders or self-watering planters.

DIY self-watering planter

Some of our favorite DIY projects and crafts on Hometalk showcase the versatility of recycled glass bottles. With a little imagination and some basic tools, you can repurpose glass bottles into a variety of unique and useful objects.

eggs in a cardboard egg carton

2. Egg cartons

Egg cartons are not just packaging; they're great to use for DIY crafts. From organizing and storage solutions to artistic decorations, the possibilities are really surprising.

tops of tin cans

You can cut up the cardboard sections and turn them into pretty egg carton flowers (yes, egg carton roses are a thing and they're actually really beautiful) or mash the cardboard up to make something out of paper mache.

Alternatively, egg cartons can be used for practical purposes in your garden. For example, as seed starters or firelighters.

3. Tin cans

Once the containers of our favorite foods, empty tin cans can be revamped through ingenious reuse. Instead of consigning them to the recycling bin or landfill, we can give them a new lease on life as pretty lanterns, decorative containers, mini planters, or storage for stationary or kitchen utensils, to name but a few ideas.

Flatten the cans to make planter pockets or even roof tiles; cut off the tops to make coasters, plant labels, and Christmas ornaments; or you can even embrace the rustic farmhouse charm of a rusty tin can by incorporating it as is into your home décor.

plastic bottle

4. Plastic bottles

Rather than contributing to the growing environmental concern of plastic waste, it's easy to come up with useful and eco-friendly alternatives for our plastic bottles. The durability of plastic lends itself well to DIY and the material is easy to manipulate.

Some of our favorite ways to reuse plastic bottles are in the garden, such as lanterns, planters, wind spinners, and bird feeders. However, there are plenty of other ways to use them inside the house too!

plastic bottle caps

5. Bottle caps

Now that you've recycled your glass bottles and plastic bottles, you're probably wondering what to do with all of those leftover bottle caps. Well, we have some craft ideas for those too!

Bottle cap tabletop

Bottle caps may be small, but their DIY power is mighty. You could make tiny tealights, trinkety ornaments, and practical toothbrush hangers; or, you could collect as many bottle caps as you can for larger-scale DIY projects, such as a patterned tabletop, wall mural, or even a floor mosaic!

top of a wine bottle with a cork

6. Wine corks

For those glass bottles that come with corks rather than metal or plastic bottle caps, there are also plenty of DIY options. Cork is lightweight, easy to cut and work with, durable, and absorbent.

Did you know that cork is also hypoallergenic, as it resists mold, mildew, and the accumulation of dust mites? All the more reason to drink more wine... ummm... we mean, reuse those leftover wine corks!

Wine corks can be easily grouped together in patterns to form coasters, trivets, bath mats, or even wall art!

On the hand, individual corks can be turned into cute mini air planters or even sentimental Christmas decorations; after all, what better way to remember a special occasion than to keep a muselet keepsake from the champagne bottle popped?

toilet paper rolls

7. Toilet paper rolls

Is there any recyclable material more simple and more abundant than toilet paper rolls? We go through so many of these week to week, month to month, so why not start collecting them and putting them to good use?

Toilet paper roll crafts are not just for kids; you can create adorable bubble photo frames, intricate wreaths, and cute napkin rings, to name just a few ideas.

old books with brown pages

8. Paper

We've covered common cardboard upcycles using egg cartons and toilet paper rolls, but what about other kinds of paper?

Obviously, paper is made from trees, so reusing and recycling paper helps to conserve valuable natural resources like timber, water, and energy.

From old newspapers and magazines to discarded book pages, we all have a surplus of paper waste in our homes that can be used to make something new.

Decoupage and paper mache are a couple of our favorite techniques for using paper in DIY projects, but have you ever considered making floating lanterns from parchment paper, a fall-themed wreath from paper bags, or even DIY paper flooring?

pill bottles

9. Pill bottles

Ever wondered what to do with all those used-up pill bottles? Pill bottle crafts offer a creative and eco-friendly way to repurpose and reuse these small plastic containers, whether it's for organization and storage, or making something fun and decorative.

DIY tinted Mason jars

10. Glass jars

Glass DIY projects, and in particular DIY Mason jar crafts, have become incredibly popular in recent years, especially in rustic home décor and functional storage solutions. The beauty of the Mason jar lies in its simplicity and affordability, making them accessible to crafters of all skill levels.

DIY Mason jar lights

Some popular project ideas include lamps and lights, bird and butterfly feeders, as well as standalone décor pieces within the home.

You can personalize your Mason jar by painting, tinting, etching, and more. So, grab your Mason jars and let your creativity flow with these fantastic ideas.

Scraps of fabric

11. Scrap fabric

Fabric is one of the most important materials to recycle, due to the environmental and social costs of manufacturing and waste. So much fabric ends up in landfills, including discarded clothes, old bedding, and more.

So, to reduce the footprint left by fabric pollution and combat the fast fashion industry, why not make something new out of those rags, scraps, and other unwanted fabric pieces?

Whether you're looking to upcycle old clothing, thrift store finds, or simply scraps you have around the house, we have loads of great ways to reuse your "vintage" fabric. From patchwork quilting to fabric decoupage to cement crochet transformations, we have you covered.

reclaimed wood

12. Reclaimed wood

Do you have any scraps of wood lying around from broken furniture, home renovations, or old DIY projects? Using reclaimed wood to make DIY home decor is a fantastic way to add warmth, character, and sustainability to your living space.

We love the artistic projects that Hometalkers have come up with, including wood and resin wall art, unique lamps, rustic décor pieces, and more.

Remember to clean, sand, and seal the reclaimed wood properly to ensure its longevity and eliminate any potential hazards. Other than that, get creative!

13. Old picture frames

If you have any old or outdated picture frames you want to get rid of, pause before throwing them away or donating them to a thrift store. There are a number of ways you can upgrade those picture frames, create a fun gallery wall, or even turn them into something completely different.

We're talking picture frame lanterns, wreaths, coffee tabletops, terrariums, decorative trays, jewelry organizers, or even wall and door moldings. We promise you'll never look at your picture frames in the same way again.

Old vinyl records

14. Old vinyl records

Not everyone has a load of old vinyl records collecting dust, but I bet you know at least one person who does, whether it's their own collection they never listen to or they've inherited one.

DIY vinyl record clock

Whether you want to preserve a record that's special to you as a piece of art or melt and manipulate old records to shape them into something new, there are plenty of crafting options.

Their circular shape, colorful labels, and grooved surfaces have a distinct aesthetic appeal; perfect for unique and customized DIY home décor pieces.

kitchen utensils in a drawer

15. Old kitchen utensils

Upcycled kitchen utensils are sure to spark conversations and intrigue. Guests and visitors to your home will notice these creative pieces and be interested in the story behind them.

DIY cutlery wind chime

It can be a great way to showcase your unique style and sustainable practices while getting creative with some out-of-the-kitchen-drawer DIY ideas.

Some of our favorite examples of DIY home decor using old kitchen utensils include wall art, wind chimes, and even drawer pulls.

More DIY projects and crafts with recycled materials

This guide is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ideas for DIY projects using recycled materials. You'll never look at glass bottles, egg cartons, tin cans, plastic bottles, and more the same way.

Items that were once tossed in the recycling bin can be transformed into useful and beautiful objects; and by repurposing these materials, you can contribute to a greener future and unleash your creativity.

Have you ever turned trash into treasure? Let us know about your best DIY hacks for household junk in the comments below.

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