17 of the Best Kitchen Upcycles


There are two ways to upcycle your kitchen. You can upcycle things that come from your kitchen (spoons, plates, etc.), or you can upcycle things to put in your kitchen (artwork, storage and other containers, organizers, etc.).

Here are some of THE BEST (and coolest) ways I have found to upcycle things for your kitchen

First, it’s good to note that there are literally hundreds of ways you can upcycle things in your kitchen. Your imagination and resources are really the only limits you have when it comes to upcycling things. If you can think it up, you can create it.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the pictures that are used in this post. They are the handiwork of the people who produced the projects linked to in this article. I will provide the links to the websites and articles that I retrieved the pictured from.

#1 CD Mosaic Backsplash

In this DIY backsplash project, you use old CDs to create a really mesmerizing mosaic. I mean, who uses CDs anyway? It’s a great way to make use of old trash to create a really classy looking backsplash.

Honestly, when I first looked at this project, I didn’t even know it was made from CDs. Instead, to me, it looks like some sort of shimmery tile, which I think is awesome.

There are a lot of benefits to using this project for your backsplash, but primarily, it gets CDs (which aren’t really usually recycled) out of the trash and put to good use. And it also just looks really cool without costing very much. Because CDs are becoming more and more obsolete, they’re way cheaper than tile. A quick Facebook Marketplace search could probably get you all the CDs you need for around $10.

#2 Book Knife Block

This is a super nifty way of keeping your knives safe and people safe from your knives. There’s no glue or carving involved. You just tie some books together and slide your knives in.

I’m kind of a sucker for books myself, especially older, hardbound books. I listen to more audiobooks than I do read books, though, and so this is a great way to take care of those classy looking, older books that you just don’t have any other use for.

#3 iPad Stand

In this project, you just take an old trowel (or spade or hand shovel–or whatever you call them), and you stick it on the back of some repurposed wood.

I think in this example, it was leftover trim wood that they used, but you could definitely use an old pizza peel or some other flat wood surface.

They used epoxy to ensure a good adhesion between the trowel and the repurposed wood.

As with most things, because we’re talking about items for your kitchen, I would want to make sure that the items you’re using are clean. Especially because this wood and trowel have been outside, you don’t want rust and other things getting into your food as you use your iPad to cook. Nasty. But as long as it’s clean, you should be good to go.

#4 Book Box Spoon Holder

This project is about a quarter of the way down the page on the link in the headline. Not a lot of information is given on how they created it. But there are loads of tutorials on the internet on how to create book boxes.

In fact, I found one on Youtube here. This one makes the book box like a case, but I imagine if you cut the edges all the way through to the top of the book, and then seal the book closed again, you’d probably be just fine in creating a book box for your spoons and other mixing utensils.

#5 Teapot Light Fixture

This one’s REALLY unique, but I’m kind of a fan. Essentially, you just replace a lightshade with a teapot.

I’m actually not 100% how this is done, and unfortunately the website doesn’t give very much info either. But I assume you just cut a hole out of the bottom of the teapot (with a drill and jigsaw, maybe) that is big enough for your light’s needs.

It looks like this one could be a little more technical than the others so far, but it’s also really unique, so I like it a lot.

#6 Globe Paper Towel Holder

I honestly am not sure what to call this. But I like it.

I think the only piece that would be difficult with creating this piece is finding an old globe. Specifically, you need to find a globe with where the actual sphere is broken. Otherwise it’s more like a lateral-cycle instead of an upcycle.

But I love this project because it takes a piece of the kitchen that is not usually an eye catcher, and it makes a statement with it. Paper towel holders are rather unremarkable, but this changes the game.

#7 Wooden Spoon Garden Markers

There are two things I really like about this project: first, it’s easy. It’s paint and old spoons. Even as someone who doesn’t really consider himself very crafty, this is doable.

The second thing I like is that when my wife and I got married, we were given WAY too many spoons. Like so many. And so this puts them to good use.

The fact that the spoons already have a pointy end makes them really easy to stick in good soil. So that’s nice too.

#8 Whisk Tea Light Holders

I actually pulled this image from Pinterest. I don’t think the photo is on the actual site anymore. But that is the page it directed me to, for what it’s worth.

If you have kids, this might not be the best project because the tea lights are literally just hanging out. But other than that, I think this is a really nifty way of romanticizing the light in your kitchen in an eco friendly way.

This is one’s pretty easy because you just hang the whisks anywhere you want (away from flammable things, of course), stick the tea lights in, and you’re done.

I think the simplicity of it is kind of what makes it beautiful.

Maybe it’s just me, but something that comes to mind is, where do you get all those whisks?

I would probably just go down to the local thrift store. A lot of thrift stores with sell normal, everyday kitchen items, and you can probably get them for pennies. Really cheap, but also rustic and classy in this case.

#9 Thermos Lamp

The thing I especially like about this link is that it has instructions on how to build the lamp itself. A lot of project pages just have a picture and a few words.

I think this makes so much sense. I don’t know how long thermos are supposed to last, but it would make sense to upcycle them once the stop working the way you want them to (or you get a new one).

I think in this case specifically, the vintage look makes everything pop a little bit more and it looks SO intential.

And that’s the hard part, usually–making something look like it’s supposed to be that way. In this upcycle project, I’m not even sure if it was ever used for drinks or if it was always meant to be a lamp. And it’s really cool when you can get that part down.

I know this one is a little less kitchen-ish. But you need to wash your vacuum sealed water bottles every now and again. So I think it still counts.

#10 Cork Planters

I’m not a wine drinker myself, so I don’t see many corks, but UpcycleThat got this one right, for sure.

THEY ARE SO DANG CUTE!

My wife loves succulents and little things. And she especially loves little succulents. Seriously, though, they’re really cute.

And I feel like you could put them anywhere, you know? It looks like here they’re attached to magnets and put on a metal board, but you could put them anywhere I think. Just as long as you have something to make them stick.

It’s upcycle in the most eco-friendly way. Taking something that isn’t recyclable and making it useful–but also a step beyond that by planting something.

#11 Rolling Pin Hangers

So, a cool thing about this project is that you don’t need to do it. The link is to an Etsy page, so you can just buy it from the creator instead of taking a stab at it.

My first thought is “you must do a lot of baking if you need five rolling pins.” But my second thought is “maybe you don’t, and that’s why you are using them for something else.”

In all seriousness, you can probably buy these kinds of rolling pins used at a thrift store for super cheap. I love anything that has reclaimed wood. So this backboard of this rack is awesome.

Something to note, though. I think these rolling pins are actually solid body (I could be wrong). That way nothing rolls off. But whether they are or they aren’t, you can fix the rolling problem by glueing the axel to the rolling pin itself and that should stop any spin.

#12 Utensil Wind Chimes

I love the vintage part of this. I feel like even though it’s silverware, there’s still something classy about this wind chime set.

This link goes to a full tutorial, which is awesome because punching holes in spoons to hang them up isn’t the first thing that comes to mind on a list of things I know how to do.

My thought is that you’d want to make sure you have more than just silverware in your wind chime set because you want a variety of sound. You could probably achieve this with smaller spoons and forks as well as other items in your kitchen/house.

#13 Silverware Key Hangers

Thankfully this link also goes to a full tutorial on how to do this project. And it’s simple and clear, which makes doing the project a lot easier.

Man, there is nothing worse than losing your keys. All of the things I could have been on time for if I only knew where my keys were.

This project makes it super easy to keep tract of those pesky keys.

I would assume this project is especially useful for homes where the garage walks right into the kitchen. I grew up in a house like that, and this kind of project makes a lot of sense in that scenario because it makes it look more cohesive, instead of you putting your keys in the kitchen–where they aren’t supposed to go!

On the other hand, my garage and kitchen are on opposite ends of the house, so this project makes significantly less sense to do in my situation. But I do need to get a key rack soon. I’ve lost them a couple of times.

#14 Silverware Sun Mirror

Keeping on our silverware trend, this project incorporates a mirror in your kitchen so you can pick out the pieces of green that get stuck in your teeth (I still don’t know what they’re called).

Thankfully, this link also goes directly to a tutorial on how to make this sun-mirror for your kitchen, which again, is super useful.

There is almost NO empty wall space in my kitchen (it’s not huge), so this kind of project might not make sense for someone like me. Even though I like the way it looks.

On the other hand, this project makes tons of sense in kitchens where there is a lot of wall space because that wall space can be hard to fill up in a tasteful way.

Kitchens are odd things. There are a lot of things to put on the counters, but not nearly as many things to put on the walls.

#15 Mason Jar Tissue Holders

I’m a pretty lucky guy in that I don’t cry much, and I’m not sick very often at all.

My wife on the other hand cries a lot. She self-identifies as a sympathetic cryer which means that we can’t watch emotional movies without her eyes leaking.

The cool thing about recycling mason jars is that it seems like everyone has them. And what do you do once you’ve eaten all the jam? You don’t have to throw them away anymore.

I think these tissue holders are just as classy, if not more classy than the ones that come with the tissues themselves too (not that there was a classy competition among the tissue boxes).

#16 Old Dishes as Art

You know, I feel like I’ve seen people do this quite often actually. But for some reason, it doesn’t really occur to me to take old silver and hang it on the wall.

But I guess the beauty in this project lies in its simplicity. Usually as upcyclers, we try to create something different. A “something else” that’s useful. But this project doesn’t require you to make something different, just to put something in a different place.

And I guess I find that super refreshing.

#17 Enamel Mug Organizer

I especially like the name of this project because it’s not just a “mug shelf.” Clearly they have mugs positioned in two different directions. I really like this because some things are better sorted vertically, not horizontally.

I feel like there aren’t enough cubbies this size. We all have a bunch of little things, but not very many places to put them, and I think this solves that problem.

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