Upcycling stuff is a lot of fun, but the best part for me is looking for things to upcycle or thinking up some great upcycling ideas, then sourcing what I need.
Sometimes it’s something I already own, but often I will look elsewhere to see what bargains I can pick up.
There are many sources available for second hand, unloved or preloved items;
- Charity Shops (high street and online)
- Salvage/ Antique Yards
- Vintage Shops (high street and online)
- Websites, such as
- Car boot sales/ Yard sales
- Fetes/ Galas – often have bric a brac stalls
- Auction Sales
- Ask friends or family to let you know when they having a clear out!
Things to consider when you are picking up things to upcycle
Depending on the intended use for your upcycle you will need to consider a few things. If it is something for yourself and quality isn’t much of an issue then no worries, but if it is something for a gift or to sell, then you will want to consider the quality.
Furniture – Upcycle old furniture, it is usually well made. Upcycling newer pieces is fine too, but if you are upcycling furniture to sell older pieces are a good idea.
Check for wood worm, if it is evident, then you will need to factor this into the cost. However, if you are purchasing your furniture from an antique yard or charity shop signs of woodworm are often historic and will have already been treated, so it is always best to check with the retailer.
Upholstered furniture always requires the sniff test! In my experience if the smell is deep enough into the fabric no amount of airing or febreeze will eradicate it. Even if you are planning on re-upholstering you will also need to replace all of the stuffing to ensure that no odour remains.
Always consider how you are getting the item home! If you can’t fit it into your car then you may have to pay for delivery as well.
Clothing/ Fabric – Your choice of fabric will depend on it’s use. Try and choose the appropriate fabric for your project as it will be easier to work with and will also give a better end result when creating new garments, cushions, teddies, curtains and upholstery.
If you are creating fabric crafts for decoration then the type of fabric often isn’t an issue, which is great because you can use cheap fabric and scrap fabric.
Upholstery, cushions and curtains
- Heavy duty cotton – for infrequent domestic use
- Linen – light to medium use
- Jacquard – cotton mixed with nylon or polyester – heavy duty use
- Vinyl – synthetic leather – strong and waterproof – medium to heavy use – not good in hot climates
- Tapestry – strong traditional fabric – medium to heavy use – can be expensive
- Velvet – strong and soft – good to work with – medium to heavy use – can be difficult to clean
- Cotton Voile or Cotton Lawn – Both very similar – lightweight and semi-sheer
- Chambray – smooth and lightweight but doesn’t drape as well as the others
- Denim – heavyweight – little or no drape and no stretch
- Double gauze – very light and breathable – great for summer dresses
- Flannel – soft and lightweight – good for colder weather
- Knit – varies from lightweight to medium weight – there are woven fabrics and knit fabrics which are both great for stretch but the stretch will vary from one to the other.
- Linen – medium weight – very little stretch but ventilates well – good for summer wear
- Silk – lightweight and delicate – drapes very well – more difficult to work with
- Satin – lightweight to heavyweight – also a little more difficult to work with
- Wool – varies on weight depending on the sheep – hard wearing and versatile – very warm – perfect for colder weather garments
There are so many sources for your upcycling ideas, have fun with it and happy hunting!