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Upcycling: The history, trend and lifestyle

The definition for Upcycling is “the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.”

Reiner Pilz first used the term ‘upcycling’ in an article by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994. This was while discussing recycling or as he named it, ‘Downcycling’.

Though Upcycling appears to have risen in trends in the last couple of decades, upcycling has actually been around for a lot longer. It just used to be called ‘creative reuse’.

It has been used in mainstream artwork from the beginning of the 20th century onwards as well as in other industries to save money.

With the rise of recycling in the late 20th century and early 21st century, Upcycling has risen hand in hand since individuals are now more aware of environmentalism.

Particularly since the financial crash of 2008, upcycling has dramatically increased in popularity. On the popular Pinterest and Etsy sites, the number of items tagged with “Upcycled” increased 275% from about 7,900 in January 2010 to nearly 30,000 a year later.

Instead of simply throwing out an old piece of furniture, people are now pausing to see if they can reinvent the item into something new. It’s not just furniture you can upcycle – you can also reinvent clothing, jewelry, and make art out of found objects.

As well as the reasons above, another great aspect of upcycling is getting something completely unique in your home. And there’s the satisfaction of making something yourself.

Thinking of Upcycling something in your home? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Decoupage Coffee table

Give a coffee table a new surge of life by using our decoupage papers. You could do this with so many different pieces of furniture.

Tire Ottoman

If you have an old tire then get yourself a new ottoman using our string

Globe light

What a great idea for a child’s room! Use our electrical cord with light to make this craft project

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