upcycling and restoration projects

7 Summer Upcycling And Restoration Projects To Sink Your Teeth Into

upcycling and restoration projects

When the days get longer and the mercury rises, we often find ourselves feeling more productive and willing to engage in extracurricular activities. Whether that be hosting friends in the garden or starting on an upcycling project you’ve been eyeing since winter, most of us have much more time and energy during the summer.

But what to do with all of those good intentions? National Upcycling Day is celebrated on the 24th of June and is a great excuse to get into your garden, shed or garage and start working on an upcycling or restoration project. 

Why Upcycle or Restore?

One of the most rewarding reasons for taking on an upcycling or restoration project is to develop your own skills, helping you to learn a traditional craft you can preserve and ensure isn’t forgotten.

But there are many others reasons why it’s worthwhile to engage in these projects:

  • Environmental conservation – Restoration projects reduce waste, preventing items from ending up in landfills, which conserves resources and prevents pollution.
  • Cost savings – Taking something that is pre-loved, or seemingly past its best, and restoring it represents a cost saving versus buying new.
  • Expressing your creativity – You have the freedom to restore or upcycle an item how you see fit, allowing you to put your own twist on it, perhaps to better suit your home or taste.
  • Promoting a circular economy – Circularity is focused on reducing, reusing, recycling, repairing and repurposing to ensure we produce less waste and fewer things end up in landfills or polluting the environment.

So, if you are looking for some summer hobby inspiration then check out these upcycling and restoration projects to sink your teeth into.

1. A Garden UpcyclING Project

As it’s summer, why not metaphorically make hay while the sun shines and enjoy an outdoor upcycling project. The great news is there are a lot of options for garden upcycling projects, from repurposing an old pallet into a vertical planter to creating wind chimes from old cans, jewelry or sea shells.

Consider segmenting your garden using old ladders, gates or fence panels as dividers. You can truly put your DIY carpentry skills to the test by building a bench from unused wooden beams. Once your garden upcycling project is complete, you have a decision to make: paint it in a vibrant color to make it stand out or leave it as nature intended it for a more rustic feel.

2. Bring Your Outdoor Furniture Back To Life

Outdoor furniture in the U.S. often has to deal with extreme weather. In the cold months, it is subjected to freezing temperatures, high winds and plenty of rain or snow depending on the region. When summer finally arrives, temperatures frequently hit record highs for extended periods with little shade or cloud cover.

As a result, outdoor furniture can start to deteriorate, whether from mold or mildew growing on it, accumulations of leaves and debris or damage from weathering and aging. From tables and chairs to benches and even larger structures like pergolas, restoring or rehabbing outdoor furnishings can be an enjoyable summer project.

This could involve reupholstering faded or torn fabrics, updating them to a more contemporary look or refurbishing wooden or metal frames by scrubbing away dirt and grime. You may also need to sand and refinish outdoor furniture or apply protective sealants to help withstand extreme heat, cold and moisture.

3. Revamp Old Drawers Or Units

Whether it be a cabinet, chest of drawers or a bedside unit, this type of furniture is perfect for upcycling and restoration projects, especially if it’s your first foray into this form of DIY. These units are fairly straightforward and with little more than a fresh coat of paint, or stripping it of color, we can transform it into something fresh.

Furthermore, changing the handles is a simple way to personalize the item or perhaps match it better to wherever in your home you intend to house it.

4. Vintage Watch Restoration

Vintage pocket watches are a great talking point when added to any outfit, but finding one that works can often be tricky. Sometimes they just need a little TLC to bring them back to life, while others will require some more detailed work to get them ticking once more.

To help you in your quest to get your vintage watch running like clockwork, simple DIY watch repair kits can be found for reasonable prices and online tutorials, or how-to books, can keep you on track. If you face a more serious issue, seeking professional advice may be your wisest move. A master watchmaker will help you ensure your mechanical puzzle is once again an instrument of timekeeping precision

5. Fix Up A Bicycle

If you have a garage or shed, there’s a good chance you’ll find at least one old or unused bicycle among the clutter. With the warmer weather, summer is a great time to get back on two wheels and enjoy cycling, whether for a hobby, exercise or to commute to and from work.

There are several key parts to consider when restoring a bicycle:

  • Inflate the tires and check for any punctures.
  • Oil your bike’s chain and clean all of the other moving parts.
  • Remove any rust, sand down any chipped paint and give your bike a fresh coat.
  • Add accessories to personalize, such as a basket or luggage rack.

Once complete, you’ll have a new bicycle you can be proud of and you may even rediscover your love of cycling, adding a healthy hobby to your life in the process.

6. Find New Uses For Glass Jars And Bottles

From jam and pickles to milk and puddings, we often bring new glass containers, jars and bottles into our homes on a weekly basis. But what to do with them once we have consumed the produce they contained? Of course, we can recycle glass and it’s important we do, but we can also hold some back to act as inspiration for our upcycling and restoration projects.

Once you remove the labels, glass containers can be used as a decorative item to hold things like candles or they can continue to be used as food storage for things like pasta, dried beans and rice. We can also paint our leftover glass containers to create unique light fixtures or even use them as a micro terrarium. There are almost endless possibilities.

7. Restore An Old Trunk

Whether you own an antique trunk already or you source one from a vintage store, these make for excellent restoration and repurposing projects. They are durable and made to last, so they can handle restaining or painting, but it’s also possible to replace any broken hardware, such as handles or hinges, to ensure it’s fully functioning.

You may wish to add a shelf to the trunk and tip it onto its side to create an alternative drinks’ cabinet or use it as a place to store your files once you have cleaned and tidied it up.

These are just a few of the upcycling and restoration projects you could avail yourself of this summer. If you look around your home, I’m sure you’ll find plenty more.

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