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Recycled Crafts: Turn Trash into Treasures and Make Money

By Edited Sep 4, 2016 1 2

"Green" is the new word, as everyone tries to do their part for the environment.

Crafters can do the same, by creating or making recycled crafts. You can do this by going to garage sales, estate sales, or the re-use it center at your dump, or just leftover crafts you have around your house or from friends.

I personally love to paint, and I was always buying water color paper, or canvases, so one day, when I was at the dump, dropping off some old clothes for the re-use center, I saw a small beat up rectangle wooden table. The size you would maybe have by a back door for keys and the mail etc. It was a sad looking orange stained color, but still physically in good shape.

Nobody had wanted this wooden table, and the organizer there said it was slated for the garbage or burn pile, as it had been there for months. I decided right then, that I was going to try my hand at recycled crafts. It would end up being usable art! I decided this would be my new line of art.

I took home my prize, got funny looks from my family, as the whole intention of me going to the dump that day, was to clean out our house! But I cleaned this table up, and went to the local hardware store to find out that there are many "green" environmentally friendly paints and primers now, that are water based. I found a good water based primer, and painted my table (after cleaning it well), without even having to sand it. No more of those horrid stripping gels. I decided this was going to be my new canvas.

I got used to painting on the wood, and really enjoyed it. You don't have to be a famous artist for this to work. You could use decoupage with photographs, or any kind of art. With a bit of patience, anyone can spruce up a good piece of wood. This table looked great when I was done with it, and I then sold it at a craft show. I painted it dark, and then painted a barn swallow on it (pictured)

Barnswallow Table

I painted the bottom 1/2 of a window on this table that I painted to look like barn wood, and the barn swallow, then coated with 3 coats of water based varathane for protection. It sold for over $200.00!

Recycled crafts can make you money if you are in the craft business, and also help keep old crafts out of the dump, like I did with this table. It felt really good, to try something a little different, and I had always stayed away from things like that, because I didn't realize the line of products you can get now, to create a new look. I always thought you had to take them back to the bare wood, which is a HUGE time consumer. If you like to do that, then that is fine. But obviously, no one thought this table was worth the time and effort to bring it back to life.

That saying "one man's junk, is another man's treasure" is true.

Another great way to recycle crafts, or at least stop them from going in the dump, is to gather your leftover craft supplies. You know those supplies, you have in a box, or all over your table.

Not enough to create another big project for you, but could make smaller crafts. Package them up, like with like, or come up with a small craft project they could be used to make for children, or people just starting out with crafts, and sell them for a dollar or two or so, at your next craft show. I personally sold 50 of these packages at my last craft show. They were a big hit, and affordable, and yet you would have probably thrown these extra supplies out.

Recycled crafts, can save you on supplies. Try reusing old picture frames. You can always paint the frame or decoupage it. The ideas are endless. Use your imagination, before you throw something out.


recycled chair

I cleaned this single chair, and then primed it instead of stripping it, then painted my artwork on the seat. It sold for over $200.00 (I got the chair for free, it was at the end of a neighbors driveway for the trash)

Try painting an old chair,(pictured) and use it as a welcome chair at your front door or on your porch. You could paint welcome across the back of the chair and have a nice plant on the seat. I even took on an old big coffee table (pictured) once, and painted geese flying. It turned out quite well and sold.

recycled coffee table

This coffee table was a big heavy one (one of my biggest projects, had to paint this in the garage) but I primed it, and then painted it a cream color then my sunset geese in flight on top.. I decided to keep this one for myself!


You don't have to make recycled crafts that big, it can be smaller things too. Like jewelry, take it apart and remake, or make earrings out of broken jewelry. Just like we use scrap fabrics to make quilts, we should use other scraps to make recycled crafts.

So, next time you are at that garage sale, try to look at things a little differently. See if you could make them into something beautiful. Don't pass by something because it is an ugly color right now. Try to use your imagination. If the bones of the piece are good, color can be changed. So, try and look past that, most garage sale goers don't! So, you will have an edge on your new recycled crafts business!

recycled bread chest

Recycled Bread Box... I painted on the wooden roller door. This was at the dump. I cleaned it up, rubbed the door slides with a plain candle (this makes the door easier to open, which maybe why it was there) coated my painting with 3 coats of waterbased varathane for protection.

Junk Beautiful: Room by Room Makeovers with Junkmarket Style
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(price as of Sep 4, 2016)
You can create your very own unique treasures from simple junk or garage sale finds. This book will show you different ways to use what you find.


Oct 29, 2009 4:04am
Nov 26, 2009 1:31pm
Great ideas and beautiful artifacts plucked out of the dump but what do I do if I don't have this kind of artisitc talent?
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