4 Easy DIY Projects to Upcycle Your Junk

Your own trash can be transformed into treasure


Have you ever seen a really well done DIY project online and thought, “how on earth did they even think to do that?”

These projects usually involve someone taking totally mundane, uninspiring materials and turning them into something that’s so much greater than the sum of its parts.

I’m grateful that there are visionary people out there who can think up projects like that which put items that would otherwise be trash (or at best, recycling) to good use!

Here are some of my favorites that are easy enough for anyone to try:

Old Keys Into Cute Hooks

If you’ve got some “mystery keys” on your keychain and want to lighten the load a little bit, this project is perfect.

All you need is a couple of keys and some pliers. A vice can help too, but it’s not necessary- I did say these projects were for beginners!

All you need to do is bend the toothy part of the keys to your desired angle and voila, a hook. This tutorial has a bit more detail on how to do the bending part.

Once you’ve got your keys bent, they’re ready to be put to use. You could attach them to a piece of wood as a backer or just hang them directly on the wall. 

Hang them up by the front door and you’ve got the perfect place to hang your keys when you come in! Very meta.


Any Glass Jar Into an Apothecary Jar

Have you seen those really pretty glass apothecary jars with the beautiful, knobbed lids?

Have you also seen their price tags?

If you want pretty containers to store your cotton balls and whatnot, you can make a set from objects you already have. Not only does it save you money, but it diverts items from the trash stream as well!

All you’ll need for this project is a couple of glass jars, spray paint, a simple knob, and some glue. Salsa jars, pickle jars, and spaghetti sauce jars are all good choices, depending on what shape you want for your finished project.

This tutorial has the full instructions, but basically what you’re going to do is clean out your jar thoroughly, glue the knob to the middle of the lid, spray paint the lid/knob combo in a color of your choosing, and call it a day.

If you want to get really fancy, you could even attach a glass candlestick to the bottom of your jar, or choose a pretty knob and leave it unpainted. The choice is yours!


Tin Cans Into a Utensil Caddy

This project has a few more steps to it than the others, but the finished product is worth it. Start saving your tin cans!

Once you’ve collected 6 cans, you’re ready to begin the project. Start by painting them all in a color of your choice. You’ll also want to paint a piece of wood that’s just slightly taller than the cans, and about as wide as 3 cans side by side.

Of course, if you like the natural color of the wood and cans, feel free to leave them unpainted. You could also stain the wood, paint each can a different color, or make the whole thing polka-dotted. It’s your project!

Once everything is dry, attach the cans to the wood, three on each side. Then, attach a small piece of leather to the top of the wood piece to act as a handle. 

Fill the cans with utensils, school supplies, or whatever you want to use it for, slap some labels on the front if you want, and admire your handiwork!

Tire Rim Into Fire Pit

If you thought the last project was a bit too involved, don’t worry. This one is as easy as they come. 

If you’ve got a large, steel tire rim, in any condition, you can easily turn it into a fire pit to upgrade your backyard.

All you really need to do is upturn it in the place you’d like your fire pit to be and it’s perfectly functional.If you want it to be a bit more decorative, though, you’ve got two options. You can either bury the tire rim in the ground a bit and decorate the edges with gravel and stone, or you can build up a wall of stacked rocks or fire bricks around the tire rim, which also serves as a protective measure against the high heat during use. Check out the full instructions here!


Kayla Robbins
DoneGood Contributor

A freelance writer working with bighearted businesses who want to better our world.



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