Reclaimed Materials – A Gateway To Creativity

Contributor post by Catherine of DesignsByCnC

Over Labor Day weekend, I attended our area’s largest flea market.  As a handmade artist, I enjoy going from booth to booth to see the beautiful home decor pieces, furniture and outdoor sculptures all created using reclaimed materials.

The booths with the pallet art and furniture were extremely popular, with pieces ranging from decorative wall art to dining room tables, as well as outdoor furniture. We discovered a unique bench handcrafted using pallets and a tailgate from an old Chevrolet pickup truck.   With our focus turning to autumn decor, I found myself drawn to the vintage framed screens hand painted with colorful scarecrows and pumpkins.  One of my favorite booths is that of an artist that reclaims framed windows from old homes and paints beautiful landscape scenes on the glass with stunning results.

Products handcrafted using reclaimed materials are unique, artful and more sustainable than many of today’s mass produced items.

As I admired the creativity, I was reminded of the idiom “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”.  Each year small businesses reclaim and salvage a significant amount of materials.  This not only helps eliminate landfill waste but also preserves part of our past.

I posed the question, Does your business upcycle or use reclaimed, salvaged materials? to the members of the Etsy Christmas In July Team.

 

GypsyGeneralStore from GypsyGeneralStore answered:

“They don’t make ’em like they used to”…. I grew up listening to my Dad make that statement time and time again and it’s true! I would rather repair, recycle or reuse something “old” than buy something new. I love to salvage bits and bobs, odds and ends – I have a stash of “trash” just waiting for a new purpose! This time of year, I love to give rusty old tart tins a new lease on life:

Christmas Star Ornament Tart Tin

Christmas Star Ornament Tart Tin

 

spoiledfelines1 from SpoiledFelinesArt had this response:

I grew up in Southeast Louisiana. When I was a young girl, my father taught me to respect nature as it is a finite part of our environment. We would go for walks along the waterways just talking about life and taking in the beauty of the sun setting over the marshlands. Sometimes we would come upon a unique piece of driftwood, which would end up in his workshop waiting for the perfect wood carving project to showcase its beauty.

Most of the items in my shop are made from reclaimed wood. I chose to feature my father’s hand carved woodpecker bird because I love its overall appearance, particularly the bird’s beautiful red head and its unique cypress driftwood perch!

Red Headed Woodpecker Bird Carving

Red Headed Woodpecker Bird Carving

 

Heather Barber from MooseintheMint shared:

I use a variety of games pieces to make a selection of items, from magnets to jewelry, scrapbooks to decorations. One box with an incomplete game can make a scrapbook or a clock with the board, a variety of cards and magnets from the cards, and some fun jewelry or key rings from the game’s pieces.

Scrapbook From Upcycled London Monopoly Board

Scrapbook From Upcycled London Monopoly Board

 

Bevan Blackshaw from TimberDimensions commented:

As a furniture maker, I have a deep and enduring respect, as well as appreciation, for the materials I work with. I despise waste and do whatever I can to reduce, reuse, upcycle, repurpose the offcuts I generate. I make bangles, pendants, earrings, brooches, and finger rings regularly. The one item I most enjoy is my Book Bird. A practical, functional item that I really do enjoy making. I love what I do!!

Book Bird Page Holder

Book Bird Page Holder

 

Corkycrafts from Corkycrafts added:

I repurpose wine corks in my shop. Hence the name Corky crafts. Guess what I promote wine drinking… HA HA HA….uh well least we have fun in our craft room.

My friends & family donate their corks and every cork creation gives life to a little cork that kept wine fresh. Speaking of fresh here is a new fresh item in our shop just in time for your Christmas planning….

Wine Cork Snowman Ornament

 

Melissa R from missy69 stated:

I love this subject! I love to take garbage and turn it into something beautiful, or something old new again. I love glass, wood, and old or broken jewelry to reclaim/recycle/upcycle any of those terms work great. Below is a ring created from a broken pendant, and a broken ring that was just left as a band. I used wire to wire wrap them, and the result is beautiful and affordable. Nice small size to fit a small hand or pinky ring.

 

Upcycled Blue Topaz Marquise Silver and Gold Wire Wrapped Ring

Upcycled Blue Topaz Marquise Silver and Gold Wire Wrapped Ring

 

Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns remarked:

My shop is mainly ceramic homewares and jewellery, but I do love using repurposed materials to create some different jewellery pieces.
One of the materials I use are marbles – yes, my kids old marbles! The colours and patterns in them are truly beautiful and they are lightweight and lend themselves to necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pretty much anything!

Upcycled Marble Earrings

Upcycled Marble Earrings

 

Lisajoy Sachs from saxdsign had this response:

This is great! Using reclaimed, salvaged materials is a perfect way to help save the environment. We offer recycled aluminum Nespresso capsule pods to crafters to make items out of. Interestingly enough, most of these get shipped overseas from the US. It is a great way to recycle and not let these go into the landfills. And the art and jewelry made out of them is really cool.

Nespresso Pod Empties

Nespresso Pod Empties

 

Chris Preiser from CreativeChris000 responded with:

I love to re-purpose and recycle items into my handmade creations, but was getting tired of using the same old bottles, bottle caps, etc as my materials and wanted something new to work with. About 2 years ago I realized the possibility of re-purposing soda cans and quickly began making lots of ornaments and decorations with them. Today, the majority of my creations have some sort of ‘soda can ornament’ incorporated into them, and people are always shocked to find out that the item they are purchasing was made with a soda can!

 

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Upcycled Aluminum Butterfly and Flower Set

 

Maryann from gojjell said:

My husband does wood turning as a hobby and I am frequently salvaging different types of timber off cuts or ‘non usable bits’! left on the workshop floor. From such finds, I weave my magic and create one of a kind jewellery, usually pendants or necklaces, featuring these re-purposed timber off cuts.
The necklace below features a fine silver heart and two round Tasmanian Oak beads prepared by me and incorporated into this creation.

Fine silver heart necklace

Fine silver heart necklace

 

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