“Recycling” means you take all the glass, paper, and metal and separate it, then place it in the appropriate canister at the junk yard so it is remade into something useful. “Upcycling” means you take all the glass, paper, and metal and other junk and turn it into something useful, fun, and with a “wow” factor.
Sometimes upcycling takes specific tools and skills (i.e. cutting an old car in half cannot be done with scissors and glue). It does take patience and creativity. You can always skip the “creativity”p art and go to websites like www.theartofupcycling.com, where you can get lost for hours repeating, “That’s great!”
ANYthing can be used as upcycle art: bicycle chains, old tires, magazines, bottles, cans, doors, ladders. Make a bookshelf out of old books. Make a magazine rack out of old magazines. Make a bed out of a car, and make jewelry out of anything.
Here are just a few ideas from this website (which offers a whole lot more). Some were made by practicing artists. Some were made by people who said, “this could be used to…”