Uncommon Beauty from Common Things: Upcycling Ideas for Unique Custom Creations

Upcycling involves reclaiming objects that would otherwise be thrown away and using them to create new works that preserve or improve the quality of the original objects.  If you browse our CustomMade galleries for upcycling ideas and inspirations for your own custom projects, you will see that there is a characteristic aesthetic dimension to this eco-friendly creation process, too.  Upcycled projects celebrate the anonymity, ubiquity, and ordinariness of the original materials, even as they are transformed into new, unique things.  Just as live edge design lets you see the tree in the completed work, upcycling lets you see the detritus, so to speak, in the finished piece, which gives upcycled works a quirky and playful charm.

Have some upcycling ideas of your own? Our CustomMade artisans can take your inspirations and turn them into one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, dĂŠcor, and personal accessories.   You can provide the salvaged materials or have the artisans work with what they have at hand.

Custom T-Shirt Bag by Project Repat at CustomMade.com

You provide the old T-shirts and memories. Project Repat will upcycle them into new chic clothing or accessories like this Nirvana-themed custom T-shirt tote bag. CustomMade.com

If you need help thinking of upcycling ideas, check out these fascinating completed works from the CustomMade galleries.

Grate Table #3 by Steelhead Studios at CustomMade.com

How many grates have you stepped on without noticing? The upcycled cast iron grate in this table by Steelhead Studios dates from the turn of the previous century and has surely seen much abuse. After some sandblasting and a clear protective lacquer finish, it’s ready to command attention atop a steel and old growth cypress frame and legs. CustomMade.com

Upcycled Drumstick Coffee Table by tim sway perspectives at CustomMade.com

This upcycled coffee table by tim sway perspectives was made from a salvaged bass drum with a table top made from used drumsticks. This piece went viral on Facebook before Tim sold it. Get in touch with Tim and see what he can create for an encore. CustomMade.com

Barrel Banding End Table by Whit McLeod Furniture at CustomMade.com

With gorgeous natural stains created by wine, reclaimed barrel staves can be used to create custom furniture of a truly distinctive vintage. But don’t overlook the barrel hoops. Whit McLeod Furniture created the base of this end table from upcycled galvanized steel barrel hoops. CustomMade.com

Mid-Century Modern Swag Lamp by Orwa Designs at CustomMade.com

Orwa Designs upcycled an old 5-eyeball chandelier into a mid-century modern “Space Age” style swag lamp. The exterior chrome was polished, the interior shade that once was black was painted bright green, and new fixtures, wiring, and a chain have been added. CustomMade.com

Kildows Old School 10 by Garbocks Guitars at CustomMade.com

Although the term “upcycling” may have entered our lexicon in the 1990s, people have been upcycling for ages. In the mid-19th century, the small cigar boxes we’re now familiar with were introduced. Shortly thereafter, resourceful artisans began to incorporate cigar boxes into musical instruments, including guitars. Wayne Bock of Garbocks Guitars is keeping that tradition alive by creating custom cigar box guitars like this old school guitar made from reclaimed barnwood and a vintage Kildows cigar box. CustomMade.com

What does a cigar box guitar sound like? Listen and watch this video by Wayne Bock.

Coeur by Cooperman Jewelry at CustomMade.com

“Coeur,” a beautiful custom handmade brooch by Cooperman Jewelry, is made from sterling silver, gold, velvet, and … an upcycled and repurposed ping-pong ball. CustomMade.com

Post your upcycling ideas on our CustomMade “Get it Made” project board and have artisans interested in your project contact you.

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