DECEMBER 5, 2011 BY SONIA TRACY
Upcycling all the rage these days, not only because of the environmental benefits, which make it the perfect option to help reuse rather than throw away, but because of the financial implications. Not everyone has the money to buy new furniture, and even if they did they might find the options available at the closest store to be boring or restrictive.
If this sounds like you, you should look into the process of upcycling older items to create new ones. You can make just about anything, and today we will be taking a peek at some interesting and creative stools. These unique seats have all been made using old items that were no longer needed or useable. But the result is a fully functional piece of furniture that would be excellent to have around the house.
Ordering Chinese takeout is a nice little break from cooking; its also delicious! But not many people end up using the chopsticks provided, preferring Western utensils instead. So what do you do with those little sticks, especially when they have a tendency to add up over time? These stools use a huge number of them to pack together into a seat. It might not look very stable, but the sheer number of the chopsticks would help to strengthen it when pressed tightly together. If you wanted a bit more flare, you could always paint them, as well.
Print isn’t dead, but it is environmentally harmful if not recycled. Thanks to online news, this principle is becoming more commonly known, and people are making the digital switch. But if you are someone who loves the feel of a cup of coffee and a real newspaper in the morning, you can always do something with the paper left over. Instead of letting it stack up before sending off to the recycling plant, reuse some for this stool idea. Just roll them up tight and bind them together with a couple of large rubber bands. You could also stack them and bind them together that way.
This one might not be so comfortable, but it could work as a great little table. If you have leftover birch wood from winter fires, why not put them together this way? You would probably want to bind them together to be more stable, but that would be easy with a bit of rope or twine. It is very natural looking, which is a plus.
I love this, because it reuses three common items: magazines, belts and a pillow. The base is nice, but wouldn’t actually be necessary. If you don’t want to use belts, any kind of binding method would work. This stool has the added benefit that magazines are quite sturdy, especially when stacked like that.
This is so cool, especially if you have children. This elementary school teacher got creative with some old electrical spools. She made mushroom design cushions and bound them to the top. Notice the great stitching around the edges, adding to the whole look. I bet her students absolutely love these.
Steel trash cans probably bring to mind images of Oscar on Sesame Street or New York trash collectors dumping them into the back of their enormous trucks. But if you have a few cans on hand, you can turn them into something much more pleasant. With a couple of cushions and some ribbon, these can make great stools. The ones in the link are pretty expensive, but you could easily make the same yourself.
Egg cartons are one item that people tend to have a lot of, no matter who they are. They are also very useful for projects of all kinds, and so it isn’t a surprise that someone decided to use them for this purpose. If you don’t think you could wait so long to acquire this many, just go to your local diner and ask it to save some for you through the breakfast rush. You will have dozens in just a matter of hours. The ties are a nice touch, as well. I do think it would have looked better had they painted the cartons first, but to each their own.
This is a really cool Etsy shop that makes a bunch of different pieces of furniture out of old, broken skateboards – which is great because there isn’t a whole lot you can do with a skateboard once it is past its prime or once you are past yours. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a simple DIY project, but it is still worth a thought.
9. Bucket Stool
If you have a garden you probably have a couple of old buckets lying around. This designer used some to create an upcycled version of a stool along with old tires and bits of wood. Again, this wouldn’t be a good DIY project for anyone who doesn’t want to put in significant time and effort. But the idea is too cool not to look at.
10. Car Part Stool
Trashed cars can be used for a number of things, such as spare parts for other vehicles. Many people choose junkyards over dealer yards for that very reason. But some things are harder to reuse for that purpose, and this is one example of how you can get creative with what is left over. Using a steering wheel, brake disk and drive shaft, she made a sturdy and interesting stool. Thinking about it, just taking the seats from a car might work for something to sit in.
There are other examples from designers who have used recycled leather, wood and metal to create gorgeous additions for any living room. They cost a lot more, but they might be worth it if you want something more mainstream and professionally done, without using more valuable resources.
Do you have any ideas for how to reuse old materials for new stools? Let us know in the comments!