Winter Upcycling Projects

It’s early January as I write this, which means our west coast area is receiving its first winter rains. The grass is beginning its rapid change from bone-dry-brown to vibrant, verdant green, and the frogs are revving up their winter chorus, collecting in vernal pools and seasonal ponds to mate.

Soon, on the clear days, I will begin winter pruning of all the fruit trees, berries, and dormant plants. But during the wet dark days, I like to do some creative indoor projects.

Upcycled Furniture

One such project is finding a discarded piece of furniture and upcycle it. I prefer truly dejected pieces, maybe a bit broken, with a free sign, left at the side of the road. Or I unearth something neglected and dusty in the attic or shed.

Here are two dressers I picked up. They both needed a bit of repairing and sanding first. Then I usually coat the whole piece with primer and a basic color like white (wall paint). Artist paints are for the designs and colors, because I have those on hand and I like a quality paint. If there are imperfections, I usually just keep those and even highlight them, like in some of the missing veneer here. My style is admittedly whimsical and full-on color. It cheers me.

If the knobs are cute, I keep them. If not, I replace them with something picked up from a salvage place. I have a thing for hardware, and have some pieces stashed away for just such a project.

I don’t usually have much of a plan in terms of painting design. I just doodle and have fun, usually listening to books on tape. It’s very relaxing. One of the painted dressers I have is used for storing things like small garden tools. Doesn’t have to be for clothes, right?!

Upcycled garden chairs

How about making a new cushion cover for your garden bench or chairs, to get ready for spring? These abandoned garden chairs were a dull pine-green color before with tired, drab cushions.

Upcycled Sewing Projects

Upcycled produce or shoe bag

Which brings up sewing projects. A fast and useful one is upcycling fabric scraps or old clothes into garden produce bags. I usually keep mine super simple and fast to make, with a serger hem only. For other uses, like storing shoes in luggage, I will add a drawstring.

Upcycled produce bags using fabric scraps

I used up many of my existing fabric scraps in 2020 for sewing face masks, and bought more fabric for masks and a quilt. Here are some of the simple bags I made from fabric scraps. I use them for shopping for produce or harvesting fruits and veggies from the garden–in place of plastic bags. Then I just throw them in the wash when dirty. They make nice simple gifts too, especially if they are stuffed with some of the fruits, veg or flowers from your garden!

A friend of mine does some truly great upcycled bags, totes and backpacks that he named Rag Bags. Check them out! Here is one of my treasured favorites:

Rag Bags by @ragbagmark

There is much more to share, but for now, I hope this helps spark your own creative juices. Would love to see what you are working on—share in the comments!

Stay well!

Read more on Creative Garden projects and Upcycling here!

4 thoughts on “Winter Upcycling Projects

  1. Your re-styled furniture is beautiful and unique. I would love those garden chairs! I am not so keen on sewing. I do not find it relaxing although it can be so useful. I can just push myself to make lavender bags but those larger sacs would be very useful, too. Amelia

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