Above is one of my most recent upcycle projects. I bought a wooden bin at a yard sale for $2. It's about 12 inches long, and 4 inches deep. It's divided into two compartments, so I thought it would be perfect for key storage just inside the front door.
The original finish was dark brown, and it was chipped and worn. I know you can't tell much about what it looked like initially versus now in the picture. My bad. The after picture is actually painted gray with chalky finish paint, with a white and gray map of Page County, Virginia decoupaged on the front. I had to go with black and white pics here because the after picture on my phone actually looks bright pink. That is NOT the look I was going for. But it's not like I've mounted this thing on the wall yet, so I'll hold off and do the real after picture soon. Trust me, it looks better.
My point is that this upcycle project took all of maybe 30 minutes to do (stretched over a few hours to allow for drying time). It was easy because I had supplies on hand. I'm always a fan of being prepared (aka, craft supply hoarding), so I thought it might be useful to come up with a list of basic craft supplies that are useful to keep in stock. You want to be ready when your creative transformation itch needs to be scratched.
- Fabric scraps. I keep them folded like this, and placed on a bookshelf like books.
- Thread in a variety of colors, although I most often use white, black and tan. And needles.
- Craft scissors that cut decorative edges
- Mod Podge
- Spay adhesive
- Paint. I have leftover latex paint from house projects, a decent assortment of acrylic paint, spray paint, and chalky finish paint . Also, paint brushes. Obvi.
- Contact paper in cute patterns. There are two I particularly like, a gray one and a green one. Both are available at Big Lots for pretty cheap.
- Brown kraft paper
- Assorted scrapbook paper. You usually can get large packs at Tuesday Morning for less than $6.
- Garden twine
- Baking twine
- Craft paper punches in everyday shapes, like circles, gift tag shaped, or squares. You'll find that you don't have much need for specialty shape punches.
- Hole punch
- Decorative embroidery nails
- Glue dots. Hot glue. Super glue. Tacky glue.
- Clear polyurethane.
I think that's a good start. I could do another entire list for construction materials, in case your upcycle is a little more labor intensive. Maybe that's a post for another day.
Of course, it doesn't necessarily make sense for you to keep all this stuff on hand if you do such projects rarely, which is why I think a good endeavor would be for more people to build sharing and bartering networks with their friends. If you need assorted scrapbook paper, lemme know and I'll be glad to share. I also will be pleased to take the cold beverage you offer in return, and I'll raise you a six-pack and a request to borrow your Dremel tool attachments. See how great that works?
Bottom line - Don't be afraid to communally craft and construct. Before you tackle a project, post it on Facebook and see if anyone wants to join along and/or share materials. You'll have more fun, and it will likely cost less. (Might take longer though, because communal projects are also social projects, and that margarita break may dampen your productivity).
Happy upcycling, friends!