The expression or "tag" upcycled is also used to describe pre-owned items that have been given a second life through a metamorphosis into a new product with a new value. Recycling and invention have converged into a kind of crafters schizophrenia where function, beauty and eco-conscientiousness have come together. Hand-me-downs of yesterday are dressed up and sold as responsibly repurposed. Old items carefully stored for generations are rediscovered as wonderfully vintage.
Etsy offers all kinds on opportunities to participate in this movement as both a consumer and a crafter. There are hundreds, nay thousands, of shops dedicated to the genre of upcycled goods. Here are just a few…
Joy's Jewels - transforms antique typewriter keys into beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces
Buffalo Nerd Project - "science geek by day, sewing chick by night" - turns men’s suit jackets into fabulous purses.
and Rouge Empire who takes silk ties and reinvents them into five pocket wallets.
For those of you who would like to join in on this movement by refurbishing the old into something new either for your own use, unique gifts or for resale, Etsy has many vendors to supply you with everything you will need. In fact, there is an entire department dedicated to vintage where you can find all sorts of items to convert, reinvent or embellish with. Take these adorable vintage Grasshopper Keds from Adalaide's Homesewn for example...
...they are cute but could use a little cosmetic surgery to make them fabulous. Replace the laces with this gorgeous Vintage French Red Velvet Ribbon from Finiribbon.
Use craft glue to tuck the ends of the ribbon neatly and instead of a big floppy bow, pick up these darling vintage earrings and brooch from Merrelle Accents and attach one to each shoe.
Many people think they are not creative enough to upcycle vintage items into something new, or they get overwhelmed with the very thought and decide it is more trouble than it is worth. In an effort to dispel those beliefs, I have included a list of 20 ways to upcycle vintage jewelry in 10 minutes or less. Coincidentally, this list ties into the many wonderful jewelry pieces I have on sale in my Etsy shop www.jillienedesigns.etsy.com.
1. embellish a pillow
2. decorate a purse
3. spice up a curtain tie back
4. attach to a hair clip or head band
5. make unique napkin rings
6. dress up a candle holder
7. use an orphan earring as a gift topper instead of a bow
8. transform a pair of shoes with vintage earrings
9. arrange pieces with other trinkets to create a shadow box for display
10. adhere to the top of old jelly jars to create darling spice jars or desktop storage
11 embellish a book or photo album
12. connect to a zipper to make a fancy pull
13. glue to paperclips or push pins
14. attach to your phone or keys as a decorative charm
15. convert into a Christmas ornament
16. refurbish an old cabinet with vintage jewelry drawer pulls
17. liven up an old hat
18. string on ribbons and use as wine glass charm so no one looses their beverage
19. decorate a mirror
20. upcycle into new jewelry pieces!