Upcycling: Recycled Crafts

Green-decorating expert Danny Seo creates recycled crafts in his book Upcycling and came up with these easy, exclusive projects below and in the how-to videos here. Watch him in action!
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Green-decorating expert Danny Seo creates recycled crafts in his book Upcycling and came up with these easy, exclusive projects below and in the how-to videos here. Watch him in action!

"SCREEN PRINT" CANVAS

To design a canvas:

1. Coat a plain, pre-stretched canvas with either craft or house paint.

2. Using chalk, draw a simple outline of your favorite shape (or trace an object).

3. Following the outline, stick on white buttons with craft glue. Fill in the shape with more buttons and let dry overnight.

French Fries

VIDEO: Watch Danny upcycle buttons into art

"LACQUERED" TRIVET

To build a trivet:

1. Arrange five wooden chopsticks together to make a large base hexagon, leaving about an inch between their ends.

2. Starting from the center, glue chopsticks on top, placing them at varying points as you go. Once dry, hot-glue smaller chopstick segments onto the bottom of the trivet (loosely following the original hexagon shape) for reinforcement.

3. Coat with a layer of glossy yellow spray paint. Let dry.

Danny's Tip

Make the design even easier with a square "grid" trivet at the base.

Crafty Pot Holder

"CERAMIC" BANANA BOWL

To make a fruit bowl:

1. Hot-glue five or six plastic bananas together.

2. Coat with a few layers of white or cream spray paint, then let dry.

Danny's Tip

For a more dramatic look, use a metallic silver spray paint instead -- it'll look just like sterling silver.

Bananas holding fruit

"SPA" BATH MAT

To assemble a mat:

1. Pop out the glass panel of a photo shadow box and paint the frame orange or any color you like.

2. Line the inside of the box with three to four layers of cork shelf liner, thick enough for a wine cork to reach the top of the shadow box when placed upright.

3. Line the box with wine corks, one by one. Just when you think the box is full, squeeze in a few more to make sure they're snug.

Crafty Sandals Mat

VIDEO: Watch Danny upcycle corks into a mat

"SEQUINED" PILLOWS

To decorate a pillow:

1. Find a letter in a font that you like -- the simpler the font, the better -- and blow it up on the computer. (Danny used Helvetica.) Print the letter and cut it out.

2. Place the lett er on a pillow and outline it with candy-colored safety pins.

3. After you've outlined, remove the paper and fill in the shape with more pins. Repeat on other pillows to spell out words or initials.

Danny's Tip

If you don't have a neutral, solid colored pillow to highlight the pins, pull the insert out of a patterned pillow cover.

Pillows that spell YUM

"GLAZED" PLATES

To design a plate:

1. Search for the word "silhouette" on the Internet and print out your favorite image on sticker paper (sold at office-supply stores).

2. Place the sticker on the plate and apply a light coat of Valspar metallic gold spray paint (available at Lowe's stores).

3. Wait five minutes for the paint to set, then peel off the sticker.

Danny's Tip

Use mismatched plates for a modern look. If silhouettes aren't your style, try round stickers for dots, painter's tape for stripes.

Crafty Printed Plates

VIDEO: Watch Danny upcycle vintage plates

"DECOUPAGE" TRAY

To make the tray:

1. Using craft glue, stick hotel key cards to an unfinished wood breakfast tray in any pattern you like.

2. Coat the tray and cards with an unsanded powder grout (sanded grout will scratch the keys). Let it dry, then wipe it off with a damp sponge.

3. Cover the grout and cards with painter's tape and coat the legs and sides in purple.

Danny's Tip

No grouting tools? Use an offset kitchen spatula or your fingers.

Crafty Food Tray

VIDEO: Watch Danny upcycle cards into a tray

"Striped" Bag

To decorate a bag:

1. Stick colored duct tape to the top of the bag, extending the tape beyond the sides.

2. Flip the bag over and fold the extended tape down. Finish the stripe.

3. Choose a new color. Tape below the first stripe, and slightly overlap the two to keep the bag from showing through. Repeat until bag is done.

Crafty Bags

VIDEO: Watch Danny upcycle tape into bags