September 17, 2014

Upcycling Appliances » The Basics

Guest Post by: Jeremy Godfrey

Our home appliances do a lot for us and help in a variety of ways – they cook our meals, wash our clothes and keep our leftovers. When appliances are at the end of their lives and you’ve done everything you could, why not give them a new purpose and some love and upcycle them into something else?

Upcycling is the process of remaking one object into something else. This article will provide some ideas and suggestions for your broken home appliances. Upcycling takes a little thought, planning and creativity and with those three skills you’ll have something that will last for years, and more importantly keep the appliances in the family.

Custom Artwork

If your appliance has finally died and you’ve done all you could to save it, consider turning it into a piece of art. A good way to create your own appliance artwork is by making your own mosaic. You can use a variety of materials for your project – glass, beads, and if you want to take a step further then take your old plates, saucers you’re not using or visit the local thrift store to see what materials they have available. Put the objects into a bag, grab a hammer and smash the bag until you have the right sized pieces. You can mix and match different colors to create a truly custom look. With a little imagination, a lot of glue, some grout and a bit of time, you can transform a toaster or even your old fridge into your own creation, and proudly show it off!
If you have artistic aspirations and have always wanted to create your own sculptures you can also try constructing your own custom sculptures out of your unused appliances. Think of what you want to make, figure out how to connect the pieces by welding, using glue etc., and then show the world your creation.

Appliance Accessories

Having a playroom is a dream for most children. It gives them the chance to put their imaginations to the test on mini-adventures or while playing house. Add to their playroom by giving your old appliance a new use as a fun, new accessory. One way this can be done is by heading down to the hardware store and picking up some magnetic primer and chalkboard paint to use on your old dishwasher, fridge or stove panels.
If you have a little engineer in the family then take apart some of your old appliances and teach them how they work. This is good for toasters and other smaller appliances. Teaching them how appliances work is a great educational opportunity and allows them to not be scared of those big machines!

Do you enjoy entertaining guests? Surprise your guests at your next dinner party by serving your cake on a cake platter made from an old coffee tray. All you’ll need are three items – an old tray- either silver plated or real silver (you can find these at the thrift store or yard sales), an old aluminum coffee pot’s bean basket and a fitted piece of glass. Take the platter and glue it to the coffee pot (doesn’t matter if it’s upside down or right side up) add a glass top and you have an upcycled cake platter.

Door Handles

If your kitchen cabinets need a makeover one cost-effective way to change its look is by replacing the hardware. One of the easiest ways to do that is by using the old handles from your appliances and putting them on your cabinet doors. This will look especially nice if the handles are silver or metallic looking. This will make a big impact on your kitchen’s look. Another suggestion is to take your old handles – depending on the length – and use them as towel racks in the bathroom, at the cottage or outside by the pool.

Animal House

Your pets can also benefit from upcycling old appliances by getting a new home! Upgrade your dog’s wooden house into a metal house. One benefit of a metal house is that it won’t rot or need to be rebuilt every few years. Another idea is to give your dog a doggie condo. Refrigerators are especially good for this. To build a doggy condo – put the fridge on its side, remove all of the parts (recycle them); paint the fridge’s outside with rust proof paint. This will give it added protection against the elements. As well, add your dog’s favorite blanket, water/food dish and they are ready to move in!

Upcycled refrigerator Dog House
Image Via http://roundedoff.com

Storage Solutions

The racks and food bins from your old appliances are a great way to solve the clutter issues in the garage, basement or attic and help your organizing efforts. The racks in your appliances take a lot of punishment from a lot of different sources such as heat, cold, water to name a few. The old bins from your fridge and the basket from the dishwasher are great for storing screw drivers, hammers etc. If you want to use the food bins, add some dividers, label the front and you have a brand new storage system.
The above ideas are just a sample of the possibilities that arise when you start upcycling your appliances. Home appliances are an untapped resource of new materials waiting to be used for something else. If you’re not confident when it comes to doing-it-yourself, then find out what appliance recycling programs exist in your area. The more we can do for the environment the better our lives will be.

Jeremy is a Community Coordinator at EasyApplianceParts.com. He loves writing about upcycling, saving money and doing it yourself.

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