Fourteen Clever Upcycled Projects

Are you looking for clever upcycled project ideas? Then you will love all of the inspiration in this blog post!

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a quick disclaimer 👇🏻👇🏻

First off, let me say that I have taken photos of almost every single project we have ever made here at Reinvented Delaware. Most of the photos I have are from the beginning of our business and I wasn’t blogging then. I wanted to record what the finished project looked like for my own reference. Please excuse any that are slightly blurred. At the time they were taken, I thought only my eyes would ever see them!

Enough of that! Let’s take a look at some clever upcycled projects together!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay "Fourteen Clever Upcycled Projects" with various upcycled projects in the background.

upcycled project idea

Windows are some of the most popular items to upcycle. They come in an array of sizes and shapes and are fairly easy to find.

We find them mostly at auctions and architectural salvage shops.

That’s where we found this beauty. We were at one of our favorite salvage shops – actually, it’s not a shop in the sense that it is indoors. This fave shop of ours is completely outside and we have been customers for over 25 years!

This window had my name on it because of its shape. I love unusual shapes of things, especially windows. One of the panes was missing but that’s not an issue in my book.

I measured and created hand-stitched quilt blocks for each pane. The quilt squares are held in from the back with a piece of cardboard and glazing points. This piece hangs in our home and it’s one of my faves.

BTW, the window was under $5. We bought it before buying windows was a thing!

Old window repurposed into a display for quilt squares to be used as wall decor as an example of showing clever upcycled projects.

upcycled lamps

Lamps are such an easy thrift store item to upcycle. Most thrift stores will allow you to try the light to make sure it works and they can often be purchased for about $5. Such a deal, right??

I like to find unusual things for the shades. The lamp on the left was painted and the shade is the top of a birdcage. The bottom half of the birdcage was missing so the cost was about $1. Or maybe even less!

The sweet little lamp in the middle measures only 9″ and it is the most precious little thing, isn’t it? I painted the 80s craft-style decor on the base of it and then pulled the fabric off of the shade. Chicken wire replaced the fabric and I spray painted the whole shade in a hammered metal finish.

The lamp on the right is also fairly small – about 15″ in height. The shade is a spray-painted wire basket turned upside down. The customer who bought it fell in love as soon as she saw it in our vendor booth.

simple upcycling idea

Picket fence projects are one of my faves. We’ve made signs, wood boxes, small crates, block signs, and little wooden boxes to hold things like flowers in painted milk bottles.

Just so cute, don’t ya’ think?

Picket fence sections upcycled into a small caddy to hold flowers in painted milk bottles.

my vendor booth

Selling upcycled items has been a profitable creative business for us. We get to repurpose and reinvent all sorts of home decor and furniture and offer these unique pieces on our vendor booth at Wilderlove Handmade and Vintage in Greenwood, Delaware.

I seriously love my job!

upcycled slipper chair

We find single chairs often. I would prefer to find pairs of chairs but when a chair this cute comes along for free, I take it! The toile fabric was very inexpensive too. I purchased a whole bolt of this gorgeous fabric for only $7.

The slipcover has a button-down back so that it can be removed and washed. Of course, the buttons are thrifted as well. 😊

Curved side chair with a slipcover made from red toile fabrice with a button down back.

upcycle ideas to sell

One item that consistently sells in our booth is a repurposed drawer. We have upcycled drawers in a variety of ways and one of the most popular looks is the one you see below. The backing (actually that’s the bottom) of the drawer is mod-podged sheet music.

We added dividers and a piece of broken table spindle leg to the front (now it’s the top!), set it on end, and called it a shelf! People love these so much!

We have repurposed drawers using this method many times and each one looks a bit different.

Vintage drawer upcycled into an organizer shelf with book page backing and table leg spindle added as decoration.

upcycling copper

This is one of the easiest projects to upcycle. We come across copper pieces often but nothing as unique as this copper teapot.

Did you see the date stamp?? May 17, 1898! All this piece needed was a good cleaning and a bit of furniture wax to give it a nice shine.

The date reminds me of a gorgeous pair of school desks that we made over. They have a stamp with an 1898 year on the underside of the seat!

Antqiue copper kettle with the date May 17, 1898 stamped into the spout. The copper pot has been polished and restored for an upcycled project.

upcycling yard sale finds

Can you guess what the body of this piece is? Probably not. Hubby and I have never heard of it but the seller called it a Home Safe. Here is the story he told us:

His grandfather built it years and years ago in his home workshop. He could have been inspired by the roll-top desks that were popular during his era. The piece would be used as a nightstand with the front that you see below towards the front so that it would show.

See the area where the keyhole is? That’s the front. It is a false front – in other words, the drawers do not open.

The back, which you can’t see in this image, had a door. that opened. This area would be against the wall so that it wasn’t visible to the eye. The whole piece is on very old wooden casters.

Is it coming together in your mind why this was called a Home Safe? The door that could be opened wasn’t visible so if someone broke into the home, they would just bypass this as a nightstand with a front that didn’t open.

Maybe not the most secure, but the seller’s grandfather felt it was safe enough and used it in that way until he died.

We acquired it, painted it, added a piece of butcher block countertop, and called it a kitchen island. You can’t see but the backside is completely open with shelves built-in for storage.

We kept the original wooden casters, of course.😊

Section from an antique secretary desk upcycled and repurposed into a kitchen island with a butcher block top. Potted plant and a cutting board sitting on top with a kitchen scene in the background.

more inspiring posts!

Click any of the images below to see step-by-step how we have repurposed and reinvented these sweet projects!

upcycling ideas for beginners

This is an easy project that we have repeated many, many times. It’s an antique sewing cabinet drawer with spindles from some other piece of furniture.

Honestly, I can’t tell you exactly what kind of furniture the spindles came from, I just have boxes and boxes filled with them.

I’m a spindle hoarder.

There I said it.

Old sewing cabinet drawer upcycled into a plant stand. Spindles have been added to create 'legs' for the sewing cabinet drawer and potted lavendar plants are inside the drawer.

Here is another upcycling idea that we have repeated several times. A wooden fruit or grocery crate on spindles legs.

As I said, I’m a spindle hoarder.

These came from a chair and I have lots of these spindles in my workshop!

Doesn’t this make a cute side table?

Wooden fruit crate with spindle legs attached to create a small side table showing how to upcycle home decor.

Pin the image below to your home decor and furniture boards! Just click the pin button at the top left corner!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay "Fourteen Clever Upcycled Projects" with various upcycled projects in the background.

Thanks for joining our journey!

Thanks so much for joining me today! I enjoy sharing our ideas and projects with you and I hope you are inspired to reinvent items for your own home!

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  1. Cindy, you’re creativity just blows me away. I really love the upcycled drawers – what an amazing way to repurpose something and give it new life! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Aren’t the drawers so fun? We find them all the time-poor little lost souls waiting for some love! Thanks for stopping by!😊

  2. So many amazing projects. I would love to have these things in my home. You are incredibly talented, my friend. An look at that pop up! It looks great. Hugs to you.

    1. That pop-up is really helping people to join our journey! Blessings to you my sweet friend 🥰

  3. Linda Johnston says:

    Cindy, what a delight to see all your creativity! Thanks for sharing with us

    1. Leslie a Watkins says:

      What a great showcase of your creative projects!
      Great job!

      1. That’s a sweet thing to say, Leslie! So glad you enjoyed the post 😊

    2. And thank you for stopping by Linda! Hope all is well with you 🥰

  4. Wow!!! So many amazing ideas! You really have inspired me to take a look through my storage and see what I can find to upcycle!

    1. Yes, yes, yes to digging through piles!! I hope you find amazing treasures!

  5. These are all so brilliant! Thanks for sharing and encouraging other on this upcycling path.

    1. Thanks, Diane! Upcycling to new use is better than throwing it out! 😊

  6. Many amazing projects. I love to upcycle.

    I have 2 sets of lamps I made into candleholders.

    I love how you used the window. The drawer is fun too.

    1. We are upcycling kindred spirits, Cindy! Thanks for stopping by 😊

  7. You must be me sister from another mister! Cindy, you always amaze me with your creativity. The kitchen island is my fave but I wouldn’t say no to any of them. Keep on creating. Pinned! 🙂

    1. You’re the best Do!! Thanks so much for the encouraging words and for pinning 🙂

    1. Thank you Paula! I appreciate the kind words about our projects 🙂

    1. Working on projects is so good for the soul! I hope you can get back to it Rosemary 😊

  8. Cindy, you always come up with such amazing upcycle projects. I have a hard time picking a favorite. Although I do have the beloved bench and cushion that you made. It is a treasure in my home. I appreciate your talents.

    1. I’m so glad you have that special piece! I get lots of comments on it and the tufted cushion. Thanks so much for stopping by 🥰

  9. I just love to see someone take something old and make it new again! You have an amazing talent and unlimited creativity! That kitchen island is a treasure! Have a great week, Donna

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Donna! The encouragement is appreciated and I’m so glad you like the projects!😊

  10. Love this series Cindy, I’m going to share it on my blog this Saturday!

    1. Omgoodness Ann!! Thanks so much for sharing 🥰

  11. Cindy, I love your slipcover chair. It turned out beautiful. You always come up with wonderful creative ideas.

    1. You are so kind Tammy! Thanks for stopping by my sweet friend!