Known for its "trash-to-treasure" philosophy, upcycling has become increasingly popular over the last decade, and even more so during COVID-19 lockdowns. Up-cycling is not only a great hobby to pass the time, it can be a fun way to reduce your waste. For some people, Upcycling is a relaxing weekend activity while others see Upcycling as their job! The best part about Upcycling is that it looks different for everyone! Its the perfect opportunity to get those creative juices flowing and create something you can be proud of! Continue reading below for information on Upcycling.
What is Upcycling?
Although the term "Upcycling" is quite modern, the idea of creative reuse of items can be traced back for decades. The term was coined in 1994 by author Thorton Kay in opposition to "downcycling". Downcycling occurs when material is recycled into a form that is of lower quality or functionality than the original material. So in contrast, Upcycling is when you reuse materials to create something of equal or more quality and functionality.
During COVID-19 lockdowns we saw a lot of hobbies grow in popularity including Upcycling. Not only is this a great way to pass the time, it can be a way to save money or even make money! Upcycling also has great benefits for the environment! Reducing the trash that is sent to landfills is more important than ever! It's also helpful to reduce the waste that is sent to recycling centers. Recycling things like metal, cardboard and glass is a great alternative to filling landfills, but it is also important to minimize our contributions so that recycling facilities and the market for recycled materials is not overwhelmed.
How to get started
I guarantee you have lots of materials in your house right now that could be used in your next Upcycling project! Materials that are commonly used in Upcycling include clothing, linens, glass, paper/newspaper, furniture, cans, wooden pallets and more. For most people, getting started can be the most daunting part of a new project. You might have materials you want to use but are lacking inspiration or maybe you feel inspired to create something but you're just not sure what it is yet. Either of these scenarios is a great place to start! Realizing what things inspire and motivate you and drawing from that can be vital for jumpstarting the creative process. This might look like taking a walk through nature, listening to music, exercising, or even surfing Pinterest for ideas! And I can say from experience, taking the time to find a project that you're excited about is well worth the wait!
Our best beginner tips
1. Pinterest is your best friend! Pinterest is the perfect place to look for inspiration, and learn from other crafters. You don't need to come up with every Upcycling idea on your own - collaborate and feel inspired by other peoples' work!
2. Don't be afraid of making mistakes! There are no instructions for Upcycling! That means, you can't make mistakes! If something doesn't go as planned, adapt your idea or learn from it and start over!
3. Enjoy yourself! Upcycling should be fun! Because there are no instructions, you shouldn't be stressed about making everything look perfect and brand new. If you're not feeling inspired and having fun, I recommend taking some time away from the project and coming back to it when you feel that creative spark again!
Upcycling at the Secret Garden
Since the Secret Garden opened its doors in 2016, we've seen the value in creative reuse and we do our best to incorporate Upcycling in many of our products. As a long-term employee at the Secret Garden, I have spent countless hours cutting and sorting old denim jeans, collared shirts, linens, men's ties, jewelry and more. Giving these items a new life is fun and exciting! It also makes many of our products unique and one-of-a-kind! The best way to shop for Upcycled Secret Garden products is in-store. Many of these items are not available on our online store because they are one-of-a-kind! Can't make it in to see us? No worries! We have a few of our favorite Upcycled products available online. However, these items will always have limited availability and often sell out quickly!
Brys Secret Garden's Remote Blogger