Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have
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Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Renowned environmental lifestyle expert and Today Show regular Danny Seo shares 100 of his most inspiring projects for creative transformation. Have neglected items around your house? They can be the source for exciting craft possibilities! Turn your old leather belts into a cool doormat (or even a briefcase!); worn-out paperbacks into gorgeous bud vases; tennis balls into...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Running Press
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LGMF
This book looked like it was gonna be great, but I did not think that the materials were "stuff you already have." Unless you happen to keep five plastic bananas, an abundance of paint stirrers or quick drying concrete about your house. I wouldn't have a problem with the crafts had it not been advertised this way.
Margaret
I was really excited to find this book at the library as I'm really "into" up cycled crafts. However some of the crafts were just ridiculous! Who would want to make a cement water bottle? The very first project in the book involved cutting up an oriental carpet to make a "bearskin" rug! Nevertheless, there are enough interesting projects within this book to make it a worthwhile read.
Justin
Oh man! This book is so rad! Danny Seo has an interesting mind to be able to pick out all these clever things to make with, well, garbage. I'm excited to try some of his ideas out for myself! I recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in crafting.
Brady
more 'ideas' than projects. Most have minimal directions, but some great and fun ideas for recycling/upcycling. Very little safety information, so use your own common sense when trying these projects!
April
Not even one project I'm interested in making. Also I think the title is misleading. Do you have 5 plastic bananas sitting around waiting for a new purpose?
Marcia
Oct 12, 2012 Marcia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: crafters
Great craft ideas using stuff you have around the house. The projects are cool and feel fresh-creations you would be proud to have in your home. I liked that each project is attractively photographed and has a short supplies list with common materials, nothing exotic, and brief directions. They all feel do-able!
Several projects feature using multiple samples for the home store (carpet squares, counter top chips) and this trend pops up on Pinterest too. I appreciated that the author stresses to m...more
Miss Pippi the Librarian
"Upcycling is a little bit of recycling, and a little bit of craft."

Upcycling includes ideas for decorating, entertaining, giving, kids and the great outdoors. The setup includes a full-page picture opposite of a page explaining supplies and instructions. I greatly appreciated the visual index in the back which involved a small picture of each project with the page number imbedded in the picture.

Some of my favorite craft projects include...
Plastic-Bottle Hourglasses
Leather Belt Doormat
Fallen-Bra...more
Mandy
There are very few things in this book that I have any interest in actually making. There are a few great things like the cast-iron pipe hooks and towel rack, the tiered trays made out of mugs and plates and the pots and pans robots. There are also some things that are down right ugly. I love the concept, but the execution was a bit weak. I guess the biggest problem is that a lot of the projects that are so easy a kid could do them look like a kid did them. I enjoy a certain degree of childishne...more
Tamara

The thing about upcycling is that it is often not eco-friendly at all.

Taking objects that are already useful in their own right (such as clothing, office supplies and tote bags) to make other objects, especially objects that are simply decorative (wreaths, wall art, throw pillows) is not helping the cause.

However, there were some useful projects included, such as:

Restringing a plastic lawn chair, p28
Wine cork bath mat, p36
Carpet sample patchwork rug, p66
CD dumbells, p148
Karen
A few great ideas here, but do not believe the line that you will just have this stuff in your home. Not at all. I really liked 1/2 the ideas. Some give inspiration to change a little to work more in line with what you like or need. The other 1/2 might be treasure for another man, but were not at all motivating to me. This book was OK, but I have seen a lot of better ones with the same recycling ideas, but actually had ideas to do with things I had at home already in truth.
Maria
Most of the crafts aren't that practical or use things that most people don't already have, which belies the title.
For instance, I love the faux-bearskin rug, but it involves cutting up an oriental rug, which most people don't have just lying around waiting to be recycled/upcycled/destroyed.
The project I am planning on trying is the leaf silhouettes. If they turn out as nicely as they look in the book, then it will have earned its three stars.
Sara
Got this from the library also. Some really great ideas in here. I like it for decorating the more rustic style of our family lake house. Although, others in my family are strongly opposed to a "carfty" look. This book should be perused at a time that is NOT Christmas! I am having trouble getting into any of these ideas, as the time is not available right now. This is a January, February book! But I really liked it!
Barb
Loved it! This is why, and I'm direct quoting the description for the Spoon-Plant ID Markers, "If you're stressed, or need to get some aggression out or simply hate spoons, this upcycling idea is for you because you need to hit, hammer, and bang the hell out of spoons to make this." Hilarious! I love this guy and this book! Very clever and creative!
Kate Woods Walker
A book like this one is worth it's weight in glue sticks if I can find one or two good projects for my crafts group, and in Upcycling I found five.

So thanks, Danny Seo for (1)chopsticks trivets, (2)hourglasses from old bottles, (3)potato chip bag "mirrors," (4)twine- and rope-wrapped bottle vases, and (5)plastic water bottle flowers.
Bunny
There are some really fantastic projects in this book that I loved.

And there are also some really god awful projects that fall into his own description of "downcycling". Like, in a big way.

I do love the idea of the tennis ball swing, though. I think it would drive our dog absolutely out of his mind.
Audrey
I got this book because he was on Rachel Ray and had made a really
cool wreath out of newspaper. I thought is was in the book but it was not
There might be a FEW things I would make out of the book but not many.
I thought it would be classier then it was. It mostly just looked like
junk to me.
Mellodi Parks
Loved the ideas and the stories contained between each of the projects of this book. If you're interested in taking someone's trash and really turning it into something fantastic then this book is definitely worth your time and investment. Give this book a try and enjoy!
Terina
Like most craft books, not every idea is for everyone. I consider this one a success for me because I found 6 things I like and will be able to do this weekend. Items needed are easy to find from home or thrift shop. Pictures and descriptions are beautiful and useful.
kelli
Danny Seo is so creative. I marked the pages of items I would try and I have almost every page marked. He really is determined to recycle and makes it hard for you not to follow in his footsteps and think about what changes you can make in your life.
Rhonda
I found a few things in here that was interesting. I did like the section of what to have in your basic crafting tool kit and was pleasantly surprised that I already had about half of it. There maybe a few things I will attempt to make.
Stacie
I want to do every craft in this book. I'm a novice at crafting, but the ideas are fresh and accessible, the instructions were simple and many of the supplies I could find within 15 steps of my couch. A must-have for reuse fans everywhere.
Ashley
I what the fucked at the ideas in this book a few times. Some are just like, okay, where would I even find this, and others I would have no use for. And things like hotel soap and old lipstick containers I don't even keep, sorry.
Sharon
Some clever ideas of ways to reuse household items and those easily accessed for new to you, repurposed treasures. The tie wreath is still one of my favorite projects, though not unique to Seo's collection. Nice layout and photos.
Krista
After reading this once I thought it was great. Second look through- not so great. Not a ton of upcycling going on. More of buying new crap and dismantling it and putting it back together in other ways.
Lynda
The ideas in this book except for the patron bottle lamps seem like such a waste of time and the destruction of useful household items. If this is the new world of craft it has gone to ruin.
Meghan Hunt
I love this book! There are tons of great ideas I'd like to use around my house. For teen library programs, my favorite crafts are the rock frames, button silhouettes, and sharpie tie die.
Mia
Some ideas were just plain ugly, but some were definitely worth doing. Perhaps the best part was the inspiration to use other materials based on ideas I saw in the book.
CG
I can't get the image of the throw pillow decorated with "upcycled" safety pins out of my head. Slumbering with sharp objects is never a good idea.
Charlou Lunsford
Projects I liked: Sharpie-Tie-Dyed Fabric, Wallpaper-Swatch-Book quilted Wall, Potato-Chip-Bag "Silver Leafed" Mirror, Tiered Trays
Cheri
This book has some interesting ideas for upcycling but didn't see any that I would probably try.
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