“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…”
Horses out of old wood
The old grey mare ain't what she used to be, because now she's an elegant stallion upcycled ... from old wood. Horses are this artist's specialty.
Magazine rack from old magazines
Make a magazine rack so you can hold more magazines. Did you know a proper medical office waiting room's reading material should be no more than two month's old? A great source of materials.
Book shelves from old books
These shelves could actually hold anything depending on the strength of the brackets and size of books. An easy one to make. Use children's books for a child's room, classics for the library.
Furniture from old doors
Old doors can be anything with the right tools and imagination. Outdoor furniture, tables, chairs, and headboards. What do you have in your garage?
Lighting that says "WOW"
Certain lighting effects can be obtained by size, shape, and materials. Just consider the heat and what materials you use for safety. A diamond - tipped drill bit can be used for glass, and always wear safety glasses.
A bed from a car.
This might be the dog's bed! It will take some skill and certain tools but the results will be one-of-a-kind. Any size car can be used. You can also use the front of a car to make a groovy outdoor grill.
A pet from a bicycle chain
This artist makes all kinds of things from bike chains, to include dogs. A copy of your own dog would be interesting, or of your favorite breed. It won't poop on the carpet and knows "stay."