Upcycling has become a bit of a buzzword over the last couple of years. It refers to a specific type of recycling, where someone alters an item to improve it, such as by decorating old furniture in a different way or changing it so it can be used for a different purpose. It can be a good way to obtain something unique.
People think upcycling is 'cheap'
I can't honestly say that this is a complete myth, because there are always people who think that new is better than old. Those people should take a trip to Stonehenge or to Paris to see the Mona Lisa. However, for every person who thinks you're just trying to save a few pounds, there will be several who appreciate that you're avoiding waste and creating something wonderful. Upcycling gives you an opportunity to give somebody a gift that's made just for them.
Although some people feel upcycling is too much effort, it makes a lot of sense as it saves money; you wouldn't turn your nose up at cheap electricity just because you had to shop around for it.
Upcycled pieces look shabby
While it's true that upcycled items can look shabby, that's usually when they are meant to look that way. If you're new to upcycling, you can prevent a bad outcome by choosing something simple, such as some easy refurbishing of an old wooden item. That way, you should be able to find plenty of advice online and if you make a mistake, it's easily repairable.
You end up spending a lot of money on materials
Most of us have a surprising amount of things in the home that we could use for upcycling: paint remnants, wrapping paper, craft items bought for children's school projects and other such things. By using your imagination, you can tailor a project to match what you have, rather than picking a project and acquiring the materials. For example, there are many ways of upcycling old clothes to give them a new lease of life that often don't require anything you don't have. These ideas can be found in articles like this one in the Guardian.
It's too messy
How messy a job is depends on what is involved and how well you prepare for it. If there is a lot of painting to do, an old shower curtain or even some newspapers can serve to protect the area in which you are working. Jobs such as sanding, which raise dust, can be done outside as long as the weather is dry, eliminating the need for extraction fans. The important thing is to think through the project so you can predict where mess might occur and come up with a plan to counteract it.
It's for people with too much time on their hands
Many people say "I'd love to try upcycling, but I just don't have the time!" The truth is that upcycling can be as time-consuming or otherwise as you make it. It's still upcycling if you wrap cheap pencils with pages from wrecked books while you watch Coronation Street; it's still upcycling if you stuff your child's first school sweatshirt with filling to make a cushion while you wait for the dinner to cook and it's still upcycling if you cover old shoeboxes with wrapping paper and a PVA coating with the help of your children at the weekend!
So why not try upcycling! You may even end up with a home full of beautiful original pieces.