Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring Upcycling

It’s that time of year again where we all feel the urge for a good spring cleaning. I have clutter I’ve accumulated all winter (or maybe a little longer) that I’m just sick of looking at. But instead of giving it away, I’m learning to “upcycle”—to re-purpose unwanted items into something better than the original. This year my goal is to try to upcycle some of my unwanted things, and the library can help!

Check out some of the great books available to help stimulate your upcycling creativity.

If you have a surplus of plastic—and sadly, who doesn’t?—then a good place to start is the book Upcycled Accessories: 25 projects using repurposed plastic by Tracie Lampe. With this book, you have access to patterns to make all kinds of unique creations. Children’s toys, re-usable bags, and wallets can all be made with the plastic you have around the house.

“Whether you’re a sewing enthusiast or an eco-superhero, Upcycled Accessories shows you how to upcycle disposable products into fashionable must-haves! Learn the basics of fusing plastic, then sew together colorful wallets, personalized journals and collaged tote bags. Finally, incorporate creative embellishing techniques to whip up one-of-a-kind plastic projects!” publisher

Another fun book is Print and Stamp Lab: 52 ideas for handmade, upcycled print tools by Traci Bunkers. With this book, you can learn how to repurpose ordinary items into fabulous stamps. It’s a great book to teach you more affordable and environmentally-friendly ways to make wrapping paper, too. I’m looking forward to my sister’s birthday so I can try some of the ideas out. I have a button collection just begging to be made into a one of a kind stamp.

“Artist and popular workshop instructor Traci Bunkers can turn just about anything into an interesting stamp, printing block, or tool. In this book, she shows readers how to see overlooked, everyday objects in a new way, and how to ‘MacGyver’ them into easy to use printing blocks and tools. Readers learn to create 52 print blocks and stamp tools, all from inexpensive, ordinary, and unexpected materials—string, spools, band aids, flip flops, ear plugs, rubber bands, school erasers, and a slew of other repurposed and upcycled items. The book also shows how to use those simple tools to make gorgeous, multi-layered prints and patterns that can be used to enhance journal covers, stationery, fabrics, accessories, and more.” publisher

One book I can’t resist mentioning is Crafting with Cat Hair: cute handicrafts to make with your cat by Kaori Tsutaya. I don’t have a cat myself, but for those of you who do, this book certainly offers an interesting solution to cat hair building up.

“Got fur balls? Are your favorite sweaters covered with cat hair? Do you love to make quirky and one-of-a-kind crafting projects? If so, then it’s time to throw away your lint roller and curl up with your kitty! Crafting with Cat Hair shows readers how to transform stray clumps of fur into soft and adorable handicrafts. From kitty tote bags and finger puppets to fluffy cat toys, picture frames, and more, these projects are cat-friendly, eco-friendly, and require no special equipment or training. You can make most of these projects in under an hour-with a little help, of course, from your feline friends!” publisher

Then there are books to help me turn my clutter into trendiness. One is Modern Upcycling: a user-friendly guide to inspiring and repurposed handicrafts for a trendy home by Susanna Zacke.

“Don’t throw out old clothing or scraps left over from finished projects. Upcycling is today’s hottest trend in handicraft and decor, and master crafters Susanna Zacke and Sania Hedengren are here to show how it’s done in their vibrant new guide Modern Upcycling. Discover unique ideas to inspire your creativity and decorate your home with those fabric remnants and odds-and-ends you already have in your crafting kit. Make rustic place settings from crocheted yarn and embroidery, reuse old pallets to make furniture with wheels, hang paintings in old window panes, and cast a fruit bowl from concrete. Divided into five chapters—concrete, wood, yarn, paper, and fabric—for quick inspiration, Modern Upcycling features sixty-five projects accompanied by sumptuous photographs and step by step instructions. Follow Susanna and Sania into their world of pop-out colors, cozy spaces, and pieces that are both beautiful to look at and serve a practical purpose. Whether you love to crochet, garden, cast in concrete, or make ornaments from paper, Modern Upcycling is guaranteed to help you revitalize and personalize your home” —publisher

These are only a sampling of all the great books that the library has available to help you upcycle your home’s unwanted clutter and get on with your spring cleaning. Happy crafting!\

~Sarah B.

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