Trash to Treasure – Upcycling Favourites of 2023

As we bid farewell to another year, let’s take a journey to reflect back on our favourite trash to treasure upcycles! This year stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of creativity, woven together by our collective dedication to sustainable living.

You know what they say: one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure. I don’t know where I picked up the superpower to turn trash into treasure. Maybe it was a radioactive recycling bin or that life changing encounter with my Partner in Grime, aka Captain Salvage. But all that hit a speed bump when my health decided to take a nosedive this year. This trash to treasure superhero had to temporarily hang up her cape for the better part of the year!  While some of last year’s personal new years goals did end up on the back burner, I didn’t let the dust settle. I’m back and more creative than ever!

Our Fundraising Efforts

On the blogging front, the ambitious plan was to have our YouTube channel generating revenue by now. As outlined in our post about alternative gift giving, every penny earned through our blog goes towards Alzheimer’s donations. Even with my health setback, thanks to YOU – our amazing readers – we were still able to donate over $2,400 this year to a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts!  My husband and I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your ongoing support of our little blog. Of course, we want next year to be ever better, so monetizing our YouTube channel is definitely a worthwhile aspiration.

Help Us Reach Our Goal! 🎥

The good news is we’re on the cusp of reaching 4000 hours of viewing time!

The finish line within our reach – but only with your help. You can play a BIG part in helping us bridge the gap. Simply dive into our Upcycling Playlist, and watch a few videos to boost our watch time (or run our playlist as you multi-task). If each of our readers enjoys just one video, we’ll hit our target together!

It’s a win-win for all of us! While we’re working our way towards reaching 4000 viewing hours to donate more money, you get to enjoy free video content that teaches you how to upcycle items that can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, and thrift stores. If you’re unfamiliar with our upcycle videos, go check them out!

Our Favourite Trash to Treasure Upcycles

Why upcycle? It’s a budget friendly way to create decor – and more storage –  for your home that doesn’t cost a bundle. Not to mention the positive environmental impact of things not going to landfill! And you’ll get a unique look all your own and many a conversation piece.

Hubs and I know a thing or two about turning Trash to Treasure. You can read all about our adventure on the Canadian TV show Trash to Treasure in this decoupage on wood post.

Trash to Treasure Banner

Trash to Treasure Banner

How Can you Take Trash and Turn it Into Something Treasured?

We save all our scraps and interesting finds for future upcyles. Set them aside in a specially designated space, like a garage or basement, until inspiration hits – or you read one of the following upcycle posts! You’d also be surprised what you can find when you raid your junk drawers!

Just click the buttons below to take you to our favourite upcycle projects! We’d love to know which one is YOUR favourite; leave us a comment below! So without further ado, here are our favourite upcycles of the year.

Fun Trash to Treasure Decor Using Scraps

14. How to Make a Scrap Robot

This is one of my favourite junk upcycling ideas because you can use anything; there’s no limit on creativity! it’s also the project that brought me out of my funk after being away from blogging for so long. Definitely a fun way to ease back into upcycling crafts!

trash to treasure leather and wood upcycling

Padlock; our scrap robot

How to make a scrap robot

13. Ceramic Tile Mosaic

Got scraps of tile but don’t want to send them to the landfill? Turn them into trash to treasure decor! Check out how to upcycle left over ceramic floor tile into a home decor masterpiece you’ll be proud to display!

trash to treasure; break up tile into small pieces


Ceramic Tile Mosaic

12. Ceramic Plant Holder

It’s inevitable: we all break a thing or two every once in a while. But instead of throwing away something as unique as this kitschy serving dish, consider turning that trash into treasure by upcycling it into a planter.

broken vintage ceramic dish

Broken ceramic dish

Ceramic Plant Holder

Upcycled Gifts

11. Homemade Gift for Dad

Make Father’s Day a day to remember. Surprise Dad by ditching the typical tie routine.  Instead craft him this!

wooden knobs and keyhole escutcheons


Homemade Gift for Dad

Upcycling Furniture

10. How to Change Stain Colour

Sometimes you just want to upcycle your furniture with the materials you have on hand instead of letting it sit. But what can you do when you don’t actually like the colour of stain that’s in the container? This post shows you how to change it into something you’ll love!

trash to treasure furniture upcyle before painting

How to Change Stain Color

How to Change Stain Colour 

Upcycle Storage Solutions

9. Pegboard Display Stand DIY

Are you tight on storage space, but need more tool storage? Some leftover pegboard and copper pipe will go a long way to getting your tools organized!

man cutting a piece of copper pipe over a piece of pegboard


Pegboard Display Stand DIY

8. Pallet Shelves DIY

Do you love bold colours but want to brush up on your stencilling technique so you get crisp, clean lines? You can up your stencilling game! Some pallet wood, vintage rulers and a scrap of pegboard is all you need to get started.

trash to treasure pallet wood skid

Pallet wood – BEFORE

Pallet Shelves DIY

Easy Upcycling Projects

7. Thread Holder

Ever find a vintage piece that’s so unique, you’re stumped for an idea on how to upcycle it? Read this post for inspiration!

vintage cast iron foot pedal

Rusty vintage metal foot pedal

Thread Holder

6. Wooden Paint Brush Holder

Do you love finding things at flea markets or outdoor antique markets. The thrill of the hunt can be truly fun and exhilarating! Once you get your item back home, turn it into something unexpected, like this!

vintage stamp holder on a table with upcycle supplies and stencil brushes

Stamp holder – BEFORE

Wooden Paint Brush Holder

Vintage Decor

5. How to Remove Rust on Metal

You’ll want to pin this post so you can remember how to turn that rusty piece of metal into trash to treasure gold!

vintage cast iron pulley in a plastic container

Rusty metal – BEFORE

How to Remove Rust Metal

4. Crochet Lampshade

You’ve probably seen these wooden spools in thrift shops, garage sales or at your favourite vintage vendor! Did you know you can turn them into eye catching lamps? Even if you don’t crochet, you can learn with this Crochet for a Cure eBook.

Trash to treasure item including a wooden spool, thrifted yarn and lampshade with a crochet hook in the foreground

Wooden spool and lampshade – BEFORE

Crochet Lampshade

3. DIY Bookends

Looking for a unique and interesting way to upcycle some old books? Grab Aunt Zelda’s Singer sewing machine that’s no longer working and see our tutorial for the step-by-step!

vintage singer sewing machine

Vintage sewing machine – BEFORE

Take me to DIY bookends

Upcycled DIY Tools

2. How to Cut Tin Cans

Ever wanted to take humble tin cans and create some upcycled works of art? When we couldn’t find a fast and easy tool for the job, we just had to create one! It’s one of our best upcyle ideas. And we used it to create our final and #1 favourite upcycle below.

How to cut tin cans showing various flattened cans on a table

How to Cut Tin Cans – Our DIY Tool!

How to Cut Tin Cans

Upcycling Doors

1. Cabinet Door Art

You really can’t beat upcycling materials you’d normally recycle – or in some areas sadly put into the garbage – by sipping and then creating! We went dumpster diving for a wooden cabinet door, then worked our upcycle magic on this piece. Enjoy that cold beverage, then turn the can into an artistic mosaic masterpiece!

trash to treasure upcycled cabinet doors before painting

Dumpster dive cabinet doors – BEFORE

Cabinet Door Art

Want more trash to treasure ideas? Check out our Upcycling category.

Pin Trash to Treasure Upcyles

Well, that wraps up another creative year here in the nest. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Pinnable image for trash to treasure upcycles

Trash to Treasure FAQs

What are the benefits of turning trash into treasure?

Upcycling is a way to do good for the environment by putting some sweat equity into saving items that would otherwise end up in landfill. You also can take pride in making home decor and useful items that are cost effective and don’t cost a bundle of cash. 

Happy New Year!

From upcycled creations to innovative recycling initiatives, thank you for joining us on our sustainable journey. We’re looking forward to another year of celebrating the triumphs of turning trash into treasure and making more eco-friendly strides in the next twelve months. Together, let’s applaud each small and significant step taken toward a brighter, greener future. After all, like we say around here, good planets are hard to find!

As we ring in the New Year, we’ll be toasting to more quirky upcycles and a future that’s not just greener but maybe even a shade or two wackier! At Birdz of a Feather, you never really know where our creativity will take us!

Have a Happy New Year! Until next year, take care.


4 thoughts on “Trash to Treasure – Upcycling Favourites of 2023

  1. I’ve put a note in my diary for tomorrow to watch some more of your vids on youtube. They’re always so good, so it’s not going to be a problem at all.

    Happy New Year to the both of you. I hope 2024 treats you well and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    • Thanks so much Michelle; that’s so kind of you! I’m looking forward to a fresh and creative new year! Hope you both have a Happy New Year too!

  2. So many great projects, Sara, but I think the Sewing Machine book ends has to be my favorite!

    • I think they are my favourite too Ann; it is pretty cool to make use of my Dad’s old Books of Knowledge!

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