12 Days of Upcycling Christmas Challenge

The 12 Days of Upcycling Christmas Challenge

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Are you ready to challenge yourself to embrace upcycling this Christmas?  

We are on a mission to get you ready for Christmas and make sure your Christmas planning involves as much upcycling as possible!  

We have prepared 12 days of challenges that should help you tick everyone you can think off off your list – and they don’t all require you to get your hands dirty yourself!  (Some do of course – it is upcycling after all!)

As an added incentive to keep you motivated, if you officially sign up to the challenge you’ll be entered into a draw to win a fabulous hamper of upcycling supplies to keep you upcycling long into 2020!  See below for more details of what’s inside!

upcycle my stuff 12 days of upcycling challenge

Win a Hamper of Upcycling Goodies worth £250*

Sign up to receive 12 Days of Challenges to get you upcycling this Christmas!   One lucky Challenger will win an awesome bundle of Upcycling goodies worth over £250!*

*Only Entrants with a UK Shipping Address are eligible to receive the Challenge Hamper.  The winner will be announced on the 18th December 2019.

SHARE each challenge you complete on your favourite social media channel  and TAG US @upcyclemystuff

USE:  #12daysofupcycling

The Upcycling Goodies in the Winner’s Hamper have been provided by:

12 Days of Upcycling Challenges

Click on any day’s challenge for more details and links to resources to help!

Day 1: Make Some Upcycled Christmas Decorations

We are starting you off easy as there are tons of fun and easy upcycled Christmas decoration ideas you can try.

Below is a super easy upcycled decoration project from the blog you can try or do your own take on.  Or visit our Pinterest Board ‘DIY Christmas Decorations‘ for more inspiration.  

Bonus points if you complete this challenge with your kids or grand kids and pass on the upcycling bug while they’re young!

How to Upcycle a Pill Bottle – Christmas Cracker Ornament

Day 2: Make an Upcycled Gift from Scrap Fabric

Now that you’ve got your crafty juices flowing with all those decorations, the first proper upcycled gift we want you to make is something from scrap fabric.  

Your scrap fabric could be something left over from another upcycling or craft project or it could even be from an old piece of clothing you don’t wear anymore because parts of it are worn out or damaged. 

You don’t get out of this one by saying you have no scrap fabric in .your home.  We just don’t believe you!  If you really don’t think you have anything suitable – ask a friend or family member.  Most of us are drowning in unwanted or unused pieces of fabric/clothing/linen, etc!

If you need some ideas for the sorts of things you can make from old pieces of scrap fabric you can check out these articles:

17 Brilliant Ideas for Upcycling Your Scrap Fabric

25 Stunning Ideas for Reusing Your Old Jeans

How to Upcycle Scrap Fabric into Wrapped Bangles

How to Upcycle Fabric Scraps into Festival Bunting

Day 3: Buy an Upcycled Gift from a Craft Fair in your area

Many small upcycling businesses will attend Christmas, craft or handmade gift fairs.  No doubt you’ve been to one or many already.  

This time make a point to seek out the stall holders who wear their upcycling heart on their sleeve, as it were, and make it really clear that their products are made from reused or repurposed materials.  Tell them you are buying from them specifically because their products are upcycled!  

That well worn saying is true:  When you buy from a small business a real person does a happy dance!  This will be especially true if you tell them you’ve bought from them specifically because they have reused or repurposed materials – you’ll not only be supporting their business but supporting their upcycling choices as well!

HANG ON! There is no craft fair in your area on TODAY?  That’s fine – use today to research when and where the fairs in your area are being held and make a date with yourself to be there!

Day 4: Make a Personalised Christmas Gift from something you already own

When we say ‘Personalised Gift’, what we mean is for you to upcycle something with a specific recipient in mind. 

Add their name, initials or a nod to a shared interest or memory that only they will understand.

A keyring made from old broken computer keys spelling out your partner’s name, for example, or revamping an old mirror that’s been living in the attic by decoupaging on ticket stubs of all the concerts you’ve been to see together.

The important part is that you use the creative process of upcycling to make a gift you just couldn’t buy mass produced in a shop.

If you need some more inspiration you can check out these articles:  

10 DIY Personalised Gifts You Can Make From Your Upcycled Stuff!

How to make Personalised Name Crayons

Day 5: Commission a Gift from a Professional Upcycler

If you have never heard of a commission it is basically when you ask someone to make something to your specifications – for example having an old dresser repainted in your favourite colour or having a broken piece of Grandma’s Jewellery refashioned into something modern.

We love making our own upcycled gifts, but we also love supporting Upcycling Businesses – especially those that are amazingly talented at what they do. So for this challenge we are asking you to seek out a professional Upcycler either online or in your area and commission them to make something special for someone you love.

You don’t always have to have the piece of furniture or object to upcycle (though you can of course!). Many professionals will have their own stash of unwanted objects or ‘naked’ pieces that you can commission them to upcycle how you wish.

Most professional upcyclers, be they furniture painters or other types of upcyclers will likely have a pretty full calendar this time of year and you might be out of luck at this point to get something physically under the tree.

BUTyou can still give an amazing gift by wrapping up a promissory note to your special recipient. Tell them you have found a great local furniture painter who is free in January and you’ve booked in a slot for them to finally have that dresser repaired and updated like they’ve always talked about. 

We’ve got a template promissory note you can print out for FREE.  Just enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF file to print out at home. 

And if you don’t know where to find a professional you can check our Directory to see if there is anyone near you availble!

A BIG P.S.!  This challenge isn’t all about furniture!  If having a piece of furniture upcycled isn’t practical for you right now seek out a professional who upcycles unwanted items or materials and turns them into lamps, bags, bunting, or hats.  Most businesses that sell upcycled goods also accept commissions.  If you can’t find what you are looking for in our directory try contacting one of the businesses listed in our Ultimate Guide to Upcycled Gifts on Etsy.  You’ll find upcyclers of every kind, just message them to start a chat!

Promise to Upcycle Gift Certificate

Send Me My Printable Promise to Upcycle Certificate!

Send Me the Promise to Upcycle Gift Certificate!

Enter your email address to be sent a printable PDF ‘Promise to Upcycle’ Gift Certificate.

The Certificate is best printed with colour ink on good quality A4 Paper. 

Day 6: Get someone a gift to help them upcycle something

We all know the saying ‘give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he’ll never go hungry’.  We’ll we are thinking along those lines.  Here are some ideas for how you could approach this challenge:

  • Buy (or promise to rent) someone a tool that they can use to upcycle something.
  • Gift a parcel of items or materials that can be upcycled (this is more for someone who is already a dedicated upcycler and you know what they would appreciate – one person might have loads of ideas for all your old moth eaten sweaters while someone else might have designs on your broken crockery!)
  • Pay for a workshop or course that will teach them a skill they can use to upcycle, such as sewing, woodworking, upholstery, or furniture painting.
  • Buy someone some craft supplies that will help them to upcycle, such as a gold leaf kit, mineral paint, decoupage paper, etc.
  • If the gift is for someone who doesn’t do much upcycling or crafting already but they’ve shown an interest, get them a beginner’s kit wrapped up in a lovely bow!

To find classes in your area try googling to see if there is a “remakery” near where you live.  

You can also check out the fabulous brands below who have contributed to our winner’s hamper.

Day 7: Make an Upcycled Gift that is out of your Comfort Zone

We all have a ‘go to’ upcycling skill. What’s yours? Painting? Sewing? Woodwork?

For this challenge we want you to use anything but that go to skill.

If you usually repaint furniture, try making a mosaic picture out of broken crockery. 

If you usually sew and refashion clothing, try making a side table from some scraps of old wood.

You get the idea.

Grow a little, try something new and exercise a slightly different bit of grey matter. You might surprise yourself and find your next passion!

You can have a look in the How to Upcycle section of the website where you will find all of our tutorials. 

Pick something that you wouldn’t normally go for and give it a try.

Still not sure where to start? Have a look at our Upcycling A-Z article that we compiled for National Upcycling Day. Something is bound to spark your imagination.

Day 8: Buy an upcycled gift from a new business

We love supporting small upcycling businesses. 

Many are solopreneurs who have invested their time and energy into the craft they love, sometimes on top of a full time ‘day job’! 

The best way to support more of these businesses as a consumer is not just to buy upcycled, but to seek out those small businesses that are just getting started and be among the first ones to make a purchase and maybe even leave them a review (if you are buying in an online space). 

That is what today’s challenge is all about!

You are going to be the person who gives someone one of their first sales and inject them with the confidence to keep going!

How do you know if they are just getting started if you are buying from somewhere online like Etsy?

Check how many reviews they have. 

If it’s under 50, they are new.  Under 10, really new!

By the way when you are buying online reviews are like gold dust to these businesses. So if you’ve bought something you love, do take the time to submit a review, even one line saying ‘I loved my purchase!’ or ‘Great business, great product!’ would mean the world to a maker/entrepreneur just starting out.

Our Ultimate Guide to Upcycled Gifts on Etsy has a mix of established and newer upcycling businesses to get you started on your search.

You are going to feel good when you’ve done this one! We promise!

Day 9: Paint something Beautiful as a Gift

It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do.  This is true for everything from furniture to knick knacks.

Find something in your home or in a charity or thrift shop and paint it beautiful.  Give it super modern stripes, spray paint it hot pink or match it to your recipient’s existing decor.

Channel all those ’80s movies where the Ugly Duckling gets a whirlwind makeover and steals the guy from the Prom Queen!  Refer to the object or material you are upcycling as she, give it a name when you’re finished.  You’ve rescued it from obscurity, dusty shelves or worse (landfill!) – be proud!  

Here are some ideas to help you unleash your inner Picasso!

11 Fabulous Upcycling Projects using Copper Spray Paint

How to Upcycle a Velour Armchair – Using Paint

How to Upcycle a Bureau into an Art Deco Drinks Cabinet

Pink Me Ups – Upcycle Ideas to Add a Pop of Pink to your Life.

Day 10: Make an Upcycled Gift from Rubbish

Depending on your definition of upcycling, you might think anything upcycled must be something made from rubbish.  But there is rubbish and there is rubbish.  

We aren’t talking about a rubbish old dresser no one wants for this one, we are talking about actually taking things out of your recycling bin or stopping them before they get to the landfill bin.  

Think of things like packaging, old bills and post, plastic bags, empty bottles and food containers. 

That sort of rubbish.

Check out these article for inspiration:  

10 Projects Made from Rubbish that you will actually want to keep

How to Upcycle Takeaway Containers into Decorative Trinket Bowls

How to Upcycle a Plastic Bottle – Easy DIY Vase Tutorial 

How to Upcycle Nappy Bin Refill Cassettes – Soft Toy Tidy



Day 11: Make an Upcycled Gift with a Child or for a Child

Teach a child in your life about upcycling!  You have two options for this challenge:

  1. Help a child make an upcycled gift for someone else.
  2. Make an upcycled gift for a child instead of buying a toy.  

Whichever option you choose make sure to use the gift making or giving as an opportunity to talk to the child in question about upcycling, reuse, repurposing and keeping items out of the waste cycle!

Here are some ideas from the blog for projects to do with or for children:

How to make Personalised Name Crayons

How to Upcycle Nappy Bin Refill Cassettes – Soft Toy Tidy

How to Upcycle Junk Mail – Junk Journal Colouring Book

If you need more ideas for upcycling projects to do with kids or upcycled presents to make for kids check out our Pinterest Board ‘Upcycle Projects for Kids’.

Day 12: Use Upcycled Materials to Wrap your Gifts

Now that you have a treasure trove of upcycled gifts for your friends and family, its time to wrap them!

So don’t stop now!

Keep upcycling!  

Recover a shoe box and make it a gift hamper or turn an old sweater into a cozy gift bag.

Check back here later in the challenge for a link to our upcoming article about Upcycled Gift Wrap Ideas.  

If you are participating in the challenge don’t forget to formally sign up to be in with a chance to win a hamper of upcycling supplies worth £250 with goodies provided by Two Fussy Blokes, Decopatch, Gold Leaf Supplies and Reclaim Magazine. 

The winner will be announced on the 18th of December, 2019! 

Enter the 12 Days of Upcycling Christmas Challenge!
You Could Win a Hamper of Upcycling Goodies!

Sign up to receive 12 Days of Challenges to get you upcycling this Christmas!   One lucky Challenger will win an awesome bundle of Upcycling goodies worth over £250!*

*Only Entrants with a UK Shipping Address are eligible to receive the Challenge Hamper.  The winner will be announced on the 18th December 2019.

SHARE each challenge you complete on your favourite social media channel  and TAG US @upcyclemystuff

USE:  #12daysofupcycling

Pin it and Spread the Word!

12 days of upcycling christmas challenge

£250 worth of Upcycling Goodies to be won!

We have been generously gifted some fab upcycling goodies from Gold Leaf Supplies, Decopatch, Reclaim Magazine & Two Fussy Blokes.  See below for what’s inside!

upcycle my stuff 12 days of upcycling challenge
One lucky challenger will win all this!
beginners gold leaf kit
Beginner's Imitation Gold Leaf Kit
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two fussy blokes rollers
A truly epic amount of Semi & Smooth 3-pack mini rollers.

Two Fussy Blokes are a New Zealand based company.  They make high-density microfiber rollers, made with the highest quality, highest density microfiber in the world.  They are designed to deliver an ultra smooth finish, ultra low splatter and ultra fast paint speed.

decopatch papers
£160 worth of Decopatch decoupage papers in various prints

Décopatch is a fun way to give life to faded objects that need a new lease of life, or the exclusive selection of Décopatch papier maché models will provide inspiration in a variety of shapes.  More than just decoupage, this stylish and engaging range continues to gain a growing reputation amongst crafters and families for bringing fun back inside!

reclaim magazine
3 Issues of Reclaim Magazine, including the Christmas Edition

Reclaim Magazine celebrates antique, vintage, upcycled and eco interiors, property, products and lifestyle. We love the old and timeworn, stories, history, character and provenance, and how we can use them when we decorate, style or renovate our homes.

All of the goodies will also come in a Nested Fox Nappy Caddy.  The fabric of the caddy was marked during production so is classed as factory seconds.  It is crying out to be re-born as your upcycling/craft caddy!

12 Days of upcycling christmas challenge - buy and make upcycled gifts

Enter the 12 Days of Upcycling Christmas Challenge!
You Could Win a Hamper of Upcycling Goodies!

Sign up to receive 12 Days of Challenges to get you upcycling this Christmas!   One lucky Challenger will win an awesome bundle of Upcycling goodies worth over £250!*

*Only Entrants with a UK Shipping Address are eligible to receive the Challenge Hamper.  The winner will be announced on the 18th of December 2019.

*Only Entrants with a UK Shipping Address are eligible to receive the Challenge Hamper.  The winner will be announced on the 18th December 2019.

SHARE each challenge you complete on your favourite social media channel  and TAG US @upcyclemystuff

USE:  #12daysofupcycling

starting an upcycling business

Get Your Free Copy!

If you’ve ever thought about turning your passion for upcycling into a business but you aren’t sure where to start then our free 10 Page E-Book is a great jumping off point.

We hope it will help you avoid some common pitfalls and motivate you to take action to make your dreams a reality.

Suited to anyone interested in starting an upcycling business whether that means furniture painting, handmade crafts, upcycled clothing, or anything else made using upcycled materials.

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