There are few things better than doing a DIY project that transforms trash into treasure. Crafting is a fulfilling activity in and of itself, but it takes on new meaning when you give items a whole new lease of life. Whether you’re making something to keep or to sell, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few easy ideas for teens and adults to whip up something that’s all their own.
1. Teacups as Pots
Instead of a tempest in a teapot, why not a potted plant in a teacup? Old teacups (or mason jars for that matter) can be turned into small pots for small plants that will brighten up your home immediately. Look for old cups at Goodwill, drill a small hole in the bottom, and fill with soil. Small cacti or other succulents will get the drainage they need to thrive and add a little extra color to your tables.
2. Candlesticks as Cake Stands
Durable candlesticks can hold a lot more than just tapers. (Just be forewarned that these items don’t always last long in Goodwill, precisely because they have so many uses.) To make a cake stand, you’ll just need a sturdy stick and a wide plate with a modest brim. Spray paint the candlestick, glue the plate upside down, and let it dry overnight. If you want to give it a distressed look, just sand the edges. The flat surface of the plate with its down-turned brim will give your stand an elegant look without the elegant price tag.
3. Accent Pieces
People usually find the most luck at Goodwill when they go in without a lot of expectations. The idea is to let whatever is in stock inspire you, rather than hoping to find the perfect blue vase to finish off a corner table. Plates, bowls, canisters: these can all be used as decorations with just a little ingenuity. It doesn’t take more than a can of spray paint to make everything match, and you’ll have interesting accent pieces that set one another off. Cluster them together or disperse throughout the home anywhere that could use a pop of color.
4. Recovered Shades
If you don’t like the shade on a lamp you find at Goodwill, now is a good time to recover it. All you have to do is cover the shade in poster board, and then attach your favorite fabric to it. As an added bonus, this project can have a lot to do with the look of the lighting in the room. So if you want to dim the brightness or increase the glow without having to buy new light bulbs, the right shade can transform the room with just the right amount of coverage.
5. Shadow-box Frames as Trays
Using a platter as a centerpiece is a time-honored tradition for many homes. It doesn’t take more than a few trinkets or pine cones to make any table a little more special. But there’s no reason to limit your search to traditional trays. Instead, look for shadow-box frames that lend a little depth to your focal point. Take out the glass, paint the frame, and then fill it with anything from flowers to potpourri to souvenirs from your last trip.
6. Bread Boxes as Charging Stations
Bread usually lasts longer in the fridge than the bread box, so it might be time to rethink how you use one. Instead of leaving all those cords out for everyone to see, you can drill holes in the back of a breadbox and position it next to your electrical outlet. All those pens, loose change, and scissors cluttering up your counter will also feel right at home inside this clever craft. For a little added panache, use leftover wallpaper to turn the interior into a colorful scene.
7. Suitcases as Bars
Old suitcases can be stacked on their side to create a home bar like nothing you’ll find anywhere else. Remove the top of the case, add legs and shelves, and then ‘decorate’ with your favorite drinks and glasses. While it might be difficult to find matching sizes, this could also turn into a great way to repurpose a small bookcase that you’ve been meaning to find a place for. Just add an ice bucket to the top, a martini shaker below, and you’ve got a functional decoration that will have people asking for another round.
8. Sweaters as Pillows
There are plenty of sweaters at Goodwill, and many of them are not always the style or fit you’re looking for. However, just picture that same fabric on a pillow and your whole attitude can shift faster than you think. The texture and colors of the sweaters can bring about new inspiration for adding a little extra personality to your couch or bed. As a general design tip, particularly loud or outlandish sweaters might look especially fun next to a white duvet.
9. Ceramics as Seasonal Decor
Cats, owls, doves: there are plenty of ceramics that might not look right in your home as they are. However, if you painted that white ceramic cat black, it would look just right for Halloween. Or you might want to use an old dove as part of a scene for Christmas. You can find ceramics of all shapes and sizes in your local Goodwill, and it only takes a little color and ingenuity to turn them into something you’ll be proud to display every year. Plus, these can make for great outdoor items for your garden too.
10. Planters as Baskets
Covering a planter (basket, vase, etc.) in rustic rope is a great way to add a little more detail to an out-of-the-way corner. No matter the color or design of the basket, you can glue white, frayed rope around it and turn it into something new. Fill your baskets with old magazines, odds-and-ends, or just use the basket for decoration. If you really want to add an extra touch, try adding a chalkboard-like label to the basket that describes what’s inside.
Transforming Your Home
It’s not just your living room, kitchen, or garden that’s seeing a change when you try out these fun crafts — it’s everyone inside the home. When you use your creativity to make something special, the end result becomes so much more than just stuff on a shelf.
When you step into a Goodwill, your job is to look past the dust to the potential that’s sitting just out of reach. With a little scrubbing and painting, you end up with something more valuable than you could have ever imagined. These crafts are just a few ideas to get you started, but there are hundreds more for anyone who can picture new possibilities.
Whether you’re a teenager with more free time right now or an adult who wants a weekend project that will leave you feeling accomplished, these crafts give you a way to explore your talents. You can bring out the best in long-forgotten everyday objects, and give your home that much more character. Find a Goodwill store near you and start crafting today!