How to Get Started with Upcycling in 5 Easy Steps

Upcycling For Beginners. Everything You Need To Get Started With Upcycling


Upcycling is a great way to find a better use for the items you would normally throw away. With upcycling, there are no limits to what you can create. It doesn’t cost a great deal and, it doesn’t require much DIY or crafting expertise.

Do you want to get started with upcycling, but don’t know where to begin? 

Here are 5 easy steps to help you get started with upcycling.

1. Look for makeover ideas

There are plenty of ways to find inspirations on how to decorate or revamp your items. Here are some places where you can get some upcycling ideas for beginners:

  • Blogs

Up Cycle That, Paloma In Disguise, Up Cycle Magazine are some of the best blogs on how to get started with upcycling and, what tools and techniques to use when repurposing something.

  • Instagram

@uopyclethat, @recyclemecreations, @refash are some of the many accounts sharing great makeover ideas. You can also search for upcycling related hashtags such as #upcycleideas, #upcyclingfashion or #upcyclingfurniture

  • YouTube

On Elysia English you can find plenty of DIY home decor inspirations and furniture refurbishment tips. While on White Cottage Company you can learn how to turn worn-out furniture into beautiful vintage looking pieces.

Person on a mobile for browsing Instagram
Photo by Erik Lucatero

2. Plan ahead

Before you start working on your upcycling project you need to ensure the item you are going to create is fit for purpose. For example, if you are turning a pallet into a coffee table for your lounge, measure the room to ensure it will fit. Drawing the item before you start working on it’s a great way to identify whether any structural improvements are required and any potential challenges.

Table with a brown book on L-shape ruler beside a pen
Photo by Jeff Sheldon

3. Source the items to upcycle

Once you know what you want to create, it’s time to source the items to upcycle – unless you already have them at home. Visit Flea markets, car boot sales and charity shops. Places like the Wandsworth Oasis Pop-Up Recycling shop in Putney are the are best shops where to find second-hand furniture at a bargain price.

Make a list of anything you may need to complete your project, whether it’s sanding paper, glue sticks or nails. There is nothing worse than having to interrupt a project because you have run out of nails! And, remember you can even reuse some everyday items in your upcycling projects. Old clothes, for example, are great to use to apply wax to furniture or simply to wipe things off.

wandsworth-oasis-charity shop
Photo by This is Clapham

4. Get your tools in place

Any DIY or upcycling project requires some basic tools like a glue gun,  a small drill, a hammer, etc. You can either buy them at your local DIY store or you can hire them. DIY tools can be quite expensive so hiring instead of buying is a good way to save money. 

black and yellow claw hammer and nails on a table
Photo by Justin Bautista

5. Find a place for your project

If you are planning to start an upcycling project which will require some time to complete, you should find a place where you can store your item when you are not working on it. For example, if the piece of furniture you are working on requires several coatings of paint you need to make sure you have space for it to dry. You don’t want to rush things just because you need to put everything away.

Photo by Arno Smit

Finally, have fun and be inspired by the myriad ways you can repurpose and reuse items. If you enjoy upcycling and want to learn new ways to transform unwanted things into something to cherish, there are many upcycling courses or workshops to choose from. For example, the Works of Love fundraising sewing workshop where you can learn how to upcycle old clothes and soft furnishing while also supporting a great cause.


Marta Ceccato

Marta is an award-winning online and social media marketing consultant with a proven track record of helping multi-million dollar brands build effective online marketing strategies. In 2011, Marta founded Sapiens Media Coaching with the aim of helping entrepreneurs grow their business through online and social media marketing without breaking the bank.

      Beehiveit - Hire or Rent almost anything!