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Upcycling: Turning Trash to Treasure

These easy upcycling projects put the "reuse" in "reduce, reuse, recycle."

Once you start upcycling, you’ll have a new appreciation for the creative potential of everyday items — like that Chicken of the Sea Tuna or Salmon can, for instance! Once you’ve washed the can (and blunted any sharp edges with a steel file if necessary), you can cover it with paint, wallpaper, wrapping paper, or twine to make a decorative holder for silverware and napkins, flowers, or breadsticks at your next garden party. Decorated cans can also be cute tabletop planters for succulents or flowers.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can punch tiny holes in cans to make beautiful luminaries, or use this same technique to create hanging lanterns — instead of a candle, just attach the cans to a string of garden lights.

Cans aren’t the only things you can upcycle and use in the garden. You can start seeds in containers made from eggshells, newspaper, or cardboard tubes. Look around your attic or at yard sales for offbeat items you can use as planters: worn out work boots, a metal tool box, beat-up dresser drawers, even an old bathtub. Just make sure your unique planter has a few drainage holes and it’s good to go.

Got an old door hanging around the garage? You can make it into a funky beverage bar for your garden parties or a handy garden potting bench. Create a trellis for climbing plants from old bed springs or even bicycle wheels…now that’s literally up-“cycled!” Lean an old wooden ladder against a fence and you have a place to display small flowerpots and other garden decor.

The only limits to upcycling are the materials at hand and your imagination. For more inspiration, check out our Garden Party Pinterest board.

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