If you’re struggling to find ways to hold on to your favourite old shirt, or always find it wasteful throwing out empty packaging like tissue boxes, upcycling may be just what you need!
An increasingly popular practice for those striving towards zero waste, upcycling is the process of transforming useless or unwanted products into new materials or products for use.
Read on for ingenious ideas to upcycle everyday household items like egg cartons and empty toilet rolls, helping you save money and improve your home at the same time!
1. Use A Tissue Box As A Plastic Bag Dispenser
Not only do tissue boxes serve as a neat form of storage for plastic bags, they are also a convenient dispenser. Check out 2 easy ways to transform your empty tissue box into a useful dispenser below!
1.1 Slip-Into-Handle Method
This is the less tedious of the two methods, and is suitable for both larger and smaller plastic bags. Slip the end of one plastic bag into the handle of the other. This pulls the handle of the next plastic out as you take a bag. This method fits approximately 30 small or 20 large plastics bags.
Tip: Label your tissue box with ‘Large’ or ‘Small’ for less confusion and easy retrieval.
1.2 The Tissue Folding Method
This nifty method of upcycling your tissue box will allow you to pull plastic bags out with ease. The next plastic bag is also ever-ready for use as it sticks out of the box, just as tissue does!
A standard tissue box can fit approximately 30 to 40 small plastic bags, but this is also dependent on the size and shape of your tissue box. Note also, that this method is more suitable for small plastic bags compared to larger ones.
For those who prefer a plastic bag dispenser with larger capacity for long term use, you may consider getting a plastic carrier organizer instead.
2. Upcycle Old T-Shirts
Bet you never would have thought the beautiful bag in the photo was made out of an old shirt! If you have an old shirt that you’re feeling sentimental about and can’t bear to throw away, why not give it a new lease of life so you can continue to use it in all its glory.
2.1 Make Easy No-Sew Shopping Bags
This easy no-sew shopping bag is guaranteed to be useful in cutting down on plastic bag usage and going green. It may also have your friends green with envy at how fashionable it is!
2.2 Make Easy No-Sew Cushion Cases
Watch from 1:40 min to learn how to master this cute no-sew cushion case from an old T-shirt.
Now, you can prop this up on your sofa for display!
3. Upcycle Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
In an average household, the average roll of toilet paper lasts approximately five days. That leaves you with a lot of empty toilet paper rolls!
Instead of simply discarding them, try upcycling these toilet rolls into useful household tools with the ideas below.
3.1 Use It For Wire Management
Don’t let yourself feel tied down by a mess of wires and cables at home! Instead, coil up your wires and slip them into an empty toilet paper roll to keep them in check. You can even label your wires by writing on the toilet paper roll with a permanent marker.
Tip: Colour code your wires by wrapping the toilet rolls in coloured paper or sticking on a piece of coloured tape. This allows you to identify wires at a glance.
For wires you use daily, Cable Organizers will be of a great help to keep them untangled!
3.2 Use It To Hold Wrapping Paper
Upcycle the empty toilet paper roll into a way to secure wrapping paper by making a lengthwise cut through the roll.
Then slip it over your wrapping paper, or anything that unravels and you’re done!
3.3 DIY A Spectacles Case
Create a personalised spectacle case in the fabric of your choice! You’ll need:
- An empty toilet paper roll
- Craft Glue
Cut the toilet roll to the desired length for your spectacles. Then make a cut lengthwise. Glue the fabric to the outside of the toilet roll and tuck all the edges in, then glue them to the inside.
Use a small line of glue to secure the inside edges and clamp with binder clips. Leave to dry and now you’ve got your DIY spectacle case to keep your glasses safe.
3.4 Make A Stationery Holder
Fill an old cardboard box with empty toilet rolls for you to put your stationery in. This keeps all your stationery neat and in an upright position, making it easy to reach for what you need.
Or, if you want to have classy stationery holder, a stationery organizer will help to spruce up your deks.
4. Upcycle Egg Cartons
Are you an egg lover that can run through cartons of eggs quickly? If so, these hacks may be a good way for you to upcycle and put all those empty cartons to use.
4.1 Use As An Organizer
The individual egg holders of the egg carton are perfect for keeping nail polish bottles and makeup from clacking against one another. It also keeps accessories separated, saving you the fuss of untangling necklaces that have gotten entangled.
If you’re looking out for a more elegant way to store your accessories, consider getting a cosmetics and jewellery organizer that you can rely on for a long time.
4.2 Hold Bottles Upside-Down
Use egg cartons to keep your condiments inverted. This prevents them from toppling over, and also ensures that you won’t ever have to struggle to get that last bit out ever again!
4.3 Use As A Seedling Planter
Egg cartons can be good seed starters, because each egg holder is already divided into planting-sized cells.
Save your eggshells from breakfast and then use them for growing your seedlings. Egg shells are a great source of calcium and minerals, and also serve as pest control against snails and slugs.
5. Make A Dustpan Out Of An Empty Milk Bottle
Upcycle your empty milk jug into a useful dustpan with a handle. Simply remove the label and cut out the handle and side of the jug as shown. Now you can go green and keep your house clean too!
6. Get Help With Upcycling
Feeling inspired to upcycle but not really sure how? Here are some ways to kickstart the process.
6.1 Join Upcycling Workshops
Some of the workshops offered by Terra SG include: upcycling milk cartons into pouches and upcycling glass bottles into LED lamps.
Repair Kopitiam’s Repair Coaches teach you how to fix broken electrical appliances, worn out clothes and broken household items. They assess the condition of your item, and will guide you in diagnosing the fault of the item and fixing it.
Repair Kopitiam is held on the last Sunday of every month, between 10am-2pm at three locations. Their venues and dates are subject to changes so you can refer to their Facebook profile for the latest updates!
6.2 Purchase Upcycled Goods
Originating from the 1970s, these Karang Guni (rag and bone) traders have since set up shop dealing 2nd hand furniture, operating equipment and antiquities from local hotels and residential households. Hock Siong strives to be a humble jungle of good products sold at reasonable prices.
You can find them in an old industrial building at 153 Kampong Ampat.
With just a little creativity and effort, old and unwanted items can easily transform into something fresh and unique for your home! Sometimes, the finished product can even become more practical and valuable than what it previously was.
We hope this article has inspired you to give upcycling a go, and let us know which upcycling project you’ll be trying out at home in the comments below.