Making stuff out of junk lying around goes back to our earliest memories of making pies out of mud. It’s instinctive…and it’s as much a part of being a kid, as getting ice cream all over your face. For the past two years, kids have been getting to be kids – and – do something great for the planet at the Richmond Art Center’s second-annual maker festival: Upcycle. The family-centric event invites kids of all ages to make art and essentials out of, well, junk. While families create art from the stuff of landfills, they also are treated to some timely lessons about how they can continue to be creative about waste, rather than just kicking old stuff to the curb – another popular habit with kids (Source: http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Upcycle-Kids-learn-how-to-turn-trash-into-art-in-5390176.php).
Building on the runaway popularity of the Bay Area’s Maker Faire, kids learn to turn water into wine, so to speak, fashioning bags from old clothing scraps, rugs from T-shirts, and a timeless favorite – making mosaics out of old plates and tile pieces. The old inner tube conundrum gets worked out, as old bicycle inner tubes are transformed into – you guessed it! – jewelry. The Crucible, a bastion of upcycle creativity, would be proud to see the kids, parents and friends getting a taste of soldering 3-D stuff that may or may not be sculptural. Rounding out the experience, artists will be on hand to help connect participants with their inner artist, musicians who make music out of recycled/upcycled materials. A d as an extra bonus, all materials are free – of course.
For those who weren’t able to make it to this year’s Upcycle, there are a bunch of cool things you can do all on your own to make magic outta messy stuff. In honor of Earth Day last year, junk hauler Fast Haul put together a nifty list for those who aren’t afraid to be creative and craft with junk (Source: https://www.fasthaul.com/2013/04/12/turning-trash-into-treasure-infographic/).
Ever notice how sturdy these are and feel a pang of guilt at just throwing them away? Banish that remorse by turning them into an earth-friendly fruit bowl for yourself or as a gift.
Number Two: Bottle Glasses
Lately, it seems that we have almost as many options for non-alcoholic specialty drinks in the refrigerated section of the grocery store as we do alcoholic beverages. And the bottles are increasingly highly stylistic and artsy. While recycling these is acceptable in more and more communities, an even better solution is to re-use or upcycle them.
Number Three: the Ugly Tie Solution
It’s inescapable that at some point, if you’re a guy, you’ll be given (with due affection) the ugliest tie you’ve ever seen. Where do these things go? Thrift shops, most likely. Ties don’t have huge resell value, so they are – in terms of yardage – a real steal…and they make great source material for funky clutches, and the like.
Number Four: the Accidental Tourist (Suitcase Pet Bed)
Thrift stores practically throw old suitcases with broken handles, missing hinges, etc. at you when you walk in the door. For a fraction of the cost of a ready-made pooch bed, you can make your own out of one half of a suitcase.
Number Five: Coast-to-Coast Cardboard Coasters
Easy, fun, and oh-so-earth-day, these are a nice way to upcycle some of the packaging that comes from all our online shopping.
By: Ethan Malone