July 28, 2023
Kim Ngan Van

10 Inspiring upcycling ideas for parents: Creative reuse for a sustainable future

As parents, we all want the best for our children and at the same time contribute to a more sustainable world. A great way to combine these two goals is by upcycling.

In this blog we share 10 inspiring upcycling ideas for parents, so that you and your children can get started together and create something beautiful.

1. Toy organizer from old shoeboxes

Collect some empty shoeboxes and decorate them with colorful fabrics, paint or wallpaper. Stack them on top of each other and you have a handy organizer for storing toys, craft supplies or books. You can also create different compartments by stacking the boxes horizontally and vertically, making it easy for your kids to find their things.

2. Plant pots made from empty food cans

Photo: Homeedit

Give empty food cans a new life by transforming them into beautiful plant pots. Paint them in cheerful colors and attach a piece of string to hang them up. You can also decorate the cans with stickers, ribbons or pieces of fabric. Let your children choose their own plants and they will be proud of their home-made garden.

3. Artwork from old magazines

Photo: Spotted for you!

Flip through old magazines and let your kids select images that appeal to them. Cut out the images and make a collage or artwork on a piece of cardboard. Add some glitter, stickers and paint to make it extra special. Hang the artwork in the nursery or make it a gift for a family member or friend.

4. Chalkboard paint on old furniture

Photo: Rust-oleum

Do you have an old side table or a wooden plank left over? Give it a new lease of life by applying chalkboard paint. Your children can then draw and write with crayons to their heart's content, and you can leave messages or jot down shopping lists. The chalkboard surface can be used over and over again and ensures endless fun.

5. Toilet roll craft supplies

Photo: Country Living Magazine

Save empty toilet rolls and use them as craft materials. For example, make binoculars out of them by decorating them with paper and plastic lenses. Or cut them into pieces to make colorful bracelets. The possibilities are endless! You can also attach different toilet rolls together to make a castle, spaceship or other imaginative structure.

6. T-shirt tote bags

Photo: Family Central

Give old T-shirts new purpose by turning them into simple tote bags. Cut off the sleeves, sew up the bottom, and you've got a reusable bag that's perfect for shopping or as a swim bag. Let your kids choose their old T-shirts and they can express their personal style while helping to reduce the use of plastic bags.

7. Bookshelves from old ladders

Photo: Pinterest

Do you have an old ladder that you no longer use? Use this as a bookshelf! Fix the ladder to the wall and place the books on the rungs. This gives a rustic and charming look to the room.

8. Gardening with recycled materials

Photo: DIYnCrafts

Use old buckets, bottles or even broken watering cans as planters for your garden. You can paint them or decorate them with mosaic pieces for a colorful effect. Let your children help plant flowers or herbs and watch their green fingers blossom. Not only is this a fun activity, but it also teaches kids about nature and responsibility.

9. Art with empty egg cartons

Photo: Tinybeans

Empty egg cartons are perfect for craft projects. Cut out the individual cups, paint them in different colors and glue them to a canvas or sturdy cardboard to create a unique piece of art. Experiment with different shapes and patterns! You can also use the cups to hold small items such as beads, buttons or paper clips to store.

10. Reuse of old clothes

Photo: Sezen

Transform old clothes into new items. For example, turn old jeans into a trendy apron or turn a worn T-shirt into a cheerful cushion cover. With needle, thread and a little creativity you can do amazing things. This is a great way to make children aware of the importance of recycling and show them that old garments can still be valuable.


Upcycling offers parents and children the opportunity to be creative together while having a positive impact on the environment. Looking for more inspiration? Become a member of our Upcycling community, and discover new possibilities every week!