Tag Archives: reuse

Newspaper Upcycled into Wallpaper

30 Jul

“Newsworthy” is this upcycled newspaper wallcovering  – made from 100 percent recycled newsprint from Weiztner Limited:

Weiztner Newspaper Wallpaper

“Using an age-old technology of upcycling old newspapers, 100% real newsprint strips are handwoven on a loom and then paperbacked to make Newsworthy suitable for the wall. A wonderful, tactile alternative to an expected grasscloth.”

Newspaper to wallpaper

My upcycling techniques are not as industrial intensive as those practiced by Weiztner.  See my textile projects here, several examples of how I transform reclaimed materials into daily use products.

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The Oakland Bag King

22 Jul

SFGate has an interesting story about Bobby Glasser an entrepreneur in Oakland who saved classic car seat covers from the landfill and turns them into bags. For decades King Kovers produced vinyl seat covers for cars of the 1940s and 50s. In 2007 they closed their doors and Bobby Glasser was there. He noticed nearly 100 boxes of seat covers that were going to be left behind and like a true entrepreneur he saw an opportunity. Glasser took those seat covers off the hands of the people at King, who were just going to leave them behind to be taken to the landfill, and started to make handbags.

This is a great story of seizing an opportunity to upcycle what many would look at as junk and turn it into something useful and desirable again. Take a look at my Etsy store for more examples of upcycled products.

Upcycling Old Ties

16 Jul

Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, or Chanukah are all days when a man may receive that go to gift. The gift the kids go for at the last minute when they can’t think of anything else. The gift the wife or girlfriend may give, because she’s tired of him dragging out that same ratty old one when they go to visit her parent. The tie. Any man who wears a tie on a regular basis has probably gotten one as a gift and most who never wear them have or will some day. So many of these ties will never be worn. They sit in the closet collecting dust until discarded or sold in a Yard Sale.The ties are being collected and sewn together into any number of new configuration. Chairs, handbags, lampshades, and skirts are being made out of ties by various people.

chair from recycled ties

purse from upcycled ties

dress from upcycled ties For some examples of other upcycled fabric head over to my Etsy store.

Speedo Summer Pavilion

14 Jul

Tree Hugger has a really interesting article featuring recycled Speedos. The Chelsea College of Art & Design in London was given 600 Speedo swimsuits that Speedo was no longer going to be able to sell due to competition rule changes. The students at the school took that swimsuits and and built a structure reminiscent of some spider webs to provide shade in the summer.

It’s a really interesting looking structure and the students at Chelsea College are clearly an innovative bunch. Speedo should be commended for recycling the suits they couldn’t sell and the college should be commended for encouraging students to innovate with recycled materials. Take a look at my Etsy store for some more examples of recycled fabric turned into something useful.

6 Recycled-Sweater Crafts

1 Jul

Several good ideas for sweater recycling from Country Living.  Pull those old sweaters out of the Goodwill bag and fire up the glue gun.

recycle sweater lampshadeMake over a plain pendant shade by cloaking it in wool. First, cut a large sweater in half along a side seam, removing the sleeves. Pull the resulting rectangle of material tightly around the shade so the fabric meets in the back; cut to fit and hot-glue to the shade. Next, trim the sweater lengthwise, leaving an inch of overhang at the top and bottom. Fold the overhang over the shade’s edges and secure on the inside with hot glue. For safety, use a low-wattage bulb.

torchierre shade from recycled sweater
For a small fixture with tons of texture, cut a knit swatch to wrap around your shade, adding an extra half inch to the top and bottom. Hot-glue the fabric to the shade so it meets in the back. Tuck the excess material over the top and bottom edges and hot-glue.
bowl covers from recycled sweaters

Keep decorative dishes in stitches: Pull a sweater sleeve over a bowl, lining up the finished cuff with the top rim, and hot-glue. Next, trim the wool so it reaches the bowl’s bottom edge and hot-glue in place.

bangle bracelets from recycled sweaters

Basic bracelets get dressed for the season in soft yarn (and, if you use jewelry you already own, they cost next to nothing). Just cover a plastic cuff in a strip of chunky knit, then hot-glue in place on the inside.

throw pillow from recycled sweatersTo make this sham, you’ll need an 18-inch square pillow insert and a large sweater, cut into two 19-inch squares. Sew the right sides of the wool together along the edges, leaving the bottom open. Turn right side out and insert the pillow form, then stitch the bottom closed. For the flower, cover a two-inch circle of card stock with a piece of a thin sweater; hot-glue to the circle’s back. Next, fold a 3- by 20-inch strip of another sweater in half lengthwise. Glue the edges together, then sew a running stitch down the strip lengthwise along the glued seam. Once you’ve stitched the entire length, pull the thread to gather the fabric and knot. Hot-glue the gathered edge in a circle to the back of the card stock, then hot-glue a pin-back in the center and affix to the pillow.
vases from recycled sweatersCreate a hothouse for any blossom: Slip a sweater sleeve over a jar or bottle, lining up the cuff with either the top or bottom edge, and hot-glue in place. Cut the wool long enough to cover the entire vessel, then secure with more glue.

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Rag Rugs

1 Mar

Creating functional furnishings from recycled materials.


The apparel and textile industries, while creating clothes for fashion-hungry consumers, are among the largest creators of waste. For example, according to city estimates, remnant fabrics and used clothing in Los Angeles account for up to 10 percent of trash in landfills.   And even though the manufacturing base has contracted in recent years, the remaining apparel and textile producers still account for massive amounts of waste.  Despite efforts by charitable organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Goodwill,  large amounts of clothing still ends up in landfills.


Modestly addressing this issue, I reclaim used textiles for use in rag rugs and quilts.   One company estimated that it takes as much as 8,000 liters of water to grow the cotton used for just one pair of jeans. Putting a pair of old jeans back into use as rag rugs rather than in the dump can conserve not only landfill space but also keeps already spent resources viable.

Visit my Etsy Store to see completed rugs and quilts from reclaimed materials.