Stuck Indoors? Here Are 10 Upcycle DIY Ideas To Make New Things Out of Old Things in Your Home

The best part? You probably already have these items at home!


Apr. 3 2020, Updated 11:32 a.m. ET

upcycle diy quarantine ideas
Source: iStock

Are you stuck at home with seemingly nothing to do? My screen time went up 40 percent last week, so I feel you. We all go through bouts during this self-isolation where Netflix and phone games seem to be the only options. But if you’re also experiencing a screen time-rut, trust that you’re not alone. We’re all figuring out this coronavirus quarantine stuff day by day and the best part about that is, some people have more ideas than others.

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If you need a break from scrolling aimlessly down your Instagram feed or watching Tiger King for the third time in a row, look around your own home. There are a ton of fun, do-it-yourself upcycling projects just waiting for you to look around and discover them.

In fact, some zero-wasters will say that is the most fun part about living a sustainable lifestyle: the upcycling crafts! If you’re new to upcycling, it’s a fun, do-it-yourself way to turn old things into new, repurposed things. 

Ready to give it a go? Let’s get started with 10 upcycle DIY ideas!

Make a Bird Feeder Out of a Toilet Paper Roll

upcycle toilet paper bird feeder
Source: iStock

For this nature-themed upcycling project, all you need is string or twine, an empty toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and birdseed. Maybe you’ve made this DIY project as a child or Girl Scout; after all, it’s a classic. 

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 Cut the string and run it through one end, all the way to the other end of the empty toilet paper roll. Tie the string together at the top. Next, smear peanut butter all over the TP roll, then roll it through the birdseed on either a paper plate or on wax paper. Now, your TP-roll-turned-birdfeeder is ready to hang up outside!

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Make a Coffee Filter Out of Muslin

Old muslin laying around? All you need is a sewing machine and scissors to turn ¼ yard of muslin into a reusable coffee filter. Check out the how-to on Chevron Stitches

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Make Planters Out of Mason Jars

upcycle mason jar planters
Source: iStock

Truthfully, you could make planters out of near anything — not only mason jars. All you need is soil and some seeds. If you don’t have a hole in the bottom of your jar, add a few rocks to the bottom of the jar for proper drainage.

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You can also make “planters” out of eggshells. These are called seed starters, as eventually, the plants will grow too big for the eggshells and you’ll have to transport them. To make seed starters out of eggshells, you’ll also need an egg carton, potting soil, a spoon, a needle, knife, and of course, seeds. Once your eggs are out of the shells, clean them out, then add drainage by pricking the bottom of the eggshell with a pin. Add some moist potting soil, sprinkle the seeds, and reap what you sowed a few weeks later. 

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Make a Rope Basket Out of an Old Amazon Box

Here’s a great upcycle idea from Home Talk, using something nearly everyone has in their home: an empty Amazon box. Of course, you could repurpose an empty Amazon box into just about anything, but in this particular tutorial, you can use fabric and old rope to create a cute storage box for nearly any room in the house.

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Make Dust Rags Out of Old T-shirts

upcycle rags shirts
Source: iStock

No need to buy reusable wipes or dust rags to live your best sustainable life. You can make your own by repurposing old clothes, like t-shirts that are too ratty to be donated. You’ll need filtered water, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, orange, and lavender essential oil to turn the old t-shirts into infused dust rags. 

Check out Hello Glow for the full tutorial.

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Make a Produce Bag Out of String

Have you seen those really cute, reusable cotton produce bags that are knotted? They can cost anywhere from $30 to $50, but if you have the extra string available, you can turn into a macramé queen and just knot it yourself! You’ll need macramé cord (or string) and scissors and follow this pattern on Say Yes.

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Make Reusable Disinfectant Wipes Out of Old Washcloths

diy upcycle rags wipes
Source: iStock

There’s also no need to buy Clorox wipes anymore (although those wipes are highly coveted nowadays). Instead, you can just make them on your own. You’ll need distilled water, rubbing alcohol, Dawn dishwashing soap, and lemon essential oil to soak the washcloths. These reusables can be washed; all you have to do afterwards is add the mixture of water, alcohol, dishwashing soap, and essential oils again. Keep them in a glass jar so the liquid doesn’t leak.

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Make Reusable Swiffer Pads Out of Socks

Swiffer pads be gone! Got some mismatched fuzzy socks hanging over your washing machine? Just stretch it over the Swiffer pad, add some liquid floor cleaner, and get to Swiffin’.

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Make Washable Cotton Rounds Out of Cotton Fabric

diy upcycle reusable cotton round
Source: iStock

If you’ve stopped buying single-use cotton pads, then you might as well learn how to make reusable cotton rounds instead of buying them. After all, it’s pretty easy – just a little bit of cutting and sewing. You’ll need cotton fabric (which you can repurpose from just about anything, including old clothes), 100 percent cotton thread, a glass jar with a 3” diameter, scissors, pins, a cutting mat, sewing machine, and an iron. For full instructions, visit Love Handmade.

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Make Trash Can Liners Out of Old Newspaper

It may take a little bit of finagling some origami work, but did you know you could make recyclable trash can liners out of old newspaper? You’re just going to recycle the newspaper anyway, so you might as well give it a chance at a second life as a trash liner. Check out YouTube for the full tutorial.

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The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit

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