Upcycling is a creative recycling trend that has taken the antique, vintage and flea market worlds by storm. Traditional recycling converts limited materials like glass, paper and plastic into practical goods such as water bottles and grocery bags. Upcycling, however, is about getting creative. And it sells.
Whether you think of it as an artistic medium, a merchandizing approach, or simply a way to repurpose products that haven’t been selling successfully, upcycling is a hot topic that can help any vendor merchandize products in a way that is both economical and cutting edge. Additionally, it draws the attention of the many flea market customers who seek items to upcyle themselves.
Items used for upcycling can range from old candy packages to vintage suitcases, from discarded wine corks to mason jars, and more. If you want to give upcycling a try, first take a look at your inventory and figure out what you have to work with. Here are a few ideas to help you take a creative approach and discover inventory you may not realize you have.
If you have mason jars, you have lighting. By stringing small light bulbs into the jars, you can createtheambiance of a perfect summer party at any time of year.
If you have wine corks, you have a pin board. Help customers keep their business cards, fliers and other notes organized with the help of this creative project. Glue corks to a sturdy backing and suddenly keeping track of little details gets a lot easier.
If you have men’s ties, you have headbands and belts. Get creative with knots and placement. Another interpretation of this would be to shorten leather belts and turn them into wrist cuffs.
If you have a suitcase, you have a chair. Furniture aficionados have been repurposing interesting luggage intofurniture, resulting in unique pieces that are equally vintage charm and design conscious.
If you have tee shirts or sweaters that aren’t selling, stuff them. Think of them as pet beds. Graphic tees add a little personality to ordinary pillows. The more unique the design, the better the outcome.
For the book that you’re convinced will never sell, try an invisible shelf. With some minor elbow grease, books can be converted to storage units that are surprisingly modern and sleek.
If your cheese grater isn’t selling, look at it as an earring hanger. A little paint can go a long way. This project brings a smile to any cheese lover’s face.
Finally, remember to be a broken record. A few cuts and some glue transform ruined vinyl into useful desktop organizers. Recipe, birthday and business cards are all fair game for display in this quirky homemade rack that appeals to the musically inclined.