Summer is almost here, which means beach trips, grilling, garden parties and other fun outdoor activities. While there’s plenty to enjoy outside on sunny days, you could also escape the heat inside with some of these fun, upcycled crafts made from common household materials and thrift store finds. Quality family time while also doing your part for the planet—what could be better than that?

Tire Sandals

This is a basic tutorial for crafting sandals out of old tires and some other recycled materials, while also cutting back on pollution. The best part about this craft is the versatility, however. A few embellishments or braiding can turn this basic design into stylish sandals that you’ll want to wear every day.



Instructions credit: Instructables

No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

We all have old t-shirts lying around that we love but no longer wear. Give your favorite tee new life by turning it into a handy beach tote with no sewing required!



Instructions credit: Mommypotamus

Pallet Tiki Bar

Wood pallets can be used for a variety of upcycled crafts, but their rustic nature works quite well for making an outdoor tiki bar. Once the basic construction is complete, you can use your imagination to add tropical decorations and give it an island feel.

Important note: Not all wood pallets are safe for reuse. Take a look at this guide to ensure your pallet projects are eco-friendly.



Instructions credit: Purple Pumpkin Blog

Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

Tiki torches are great for adding ambiance and pest control to your backyard party. This project uses old tiki torches and wine bottles to create beautiful and unique citronella torches, but you can incorporate any empty wine or liquor bottles you want to create a look that’s uniquely yours.



Instructions credit: Kitchen Counter Blog

Coffee Container Tiki Statues

No tiki party is complete without themed décor, and these recycled coffee container tiki statues are quick and easy to make. All this cute craft takes is a few empty coffee containers, glue or caulking and some eco-friendly paint.



Instructions credit: Saws on Skates

Cocktail Umbrella Paper Lantern

Paper lanterns lend a beautiful ambiance to an outdoor patio, but these colorful lanterns made from recycled cocktail umbrellas give the classic white lanterns a whimsical new spin. This craft is deceptively simple to make too.



Instructions credit: Helen Clyde

Copper-Pipe Tiki Torch Tree

This tiki torch tree is made from recycled copper pipe, which will age to a rustic green color for a beautiful addition to your backyard or patio. You can also use recycled containers to make the actual torches.



Instructions credit: Instructables

Rustic Cooler Box

Keeping a cooler on your deck or patio is handy, but the brightly-colored plastic can ruin your décor. This cooler box made from recycled wood pallets not only keeps your cold drinks close, but it can also blend in well with your other outdoor décor.



Instructions credit: DIY Joy

Bottle-Cap Table

This upcycled, shabby-chic table will make a great conversation piece for your party décor. Old tables can be found at many thrift shops, and this idea could even be used for chairs, bars or other outdoor furniture. Just be sure to substitute the spray paint and polyurethane with one of these eco-friendly alternatives.



Instructions credit: Windfarm

Flip Flop Wreath

This flip flop wreath is a colorful, quirky addition to your summer décor, and there are virtually limitless options for patterns and colors with flip flops. On top of that, this wreath is easy and inexpensive to make.



Instructions credit: Mommy Like Whoa

Denim Picnic/Beach Blanket

Denim is a durable, heavyweight fabric that’s perfect for long days at the park or beach. Plus, this project is a great way to reuse old jeans and shorts you no longer wear, and the simple addition of a shower curtain liner is all it takes to make this blanket water- and dirt resistant.



Instructions credit: Houseful of Handmade

Macrame Lawn Chairs

Folding lawn chairs are great to have, but they don’t hold up well to the elements. Instead of throwing away your old lawn chairs, give them a new look with brightly-colored cord and some unique macramé knot patterns.



Instructions credit: DIY Projects

Pool Noodle Drink Holder

Few things say “summer” more than relaxing in the pool, and with these DIY drink holders made from pool noodles, you never have to worry about getting out for a cold drink. On top of that, this upcycled craft project is cheap and easy.



Instructions credit: The Sway

Beer Coasters

These coasters made from recycled six-pack holders are a unique addition to your outdoor décor, and they are really easy to make. All you need are a few old six-pack holders, old tiles and a few felt bumpers, but be sure to substitute the Mod Podge and varnish with some water-based, non-toxic glue to keep it eco-friendly.



Instructions credit: Sweet Tea in the South

DIY Fabric Flip Flops

Flip flops are the go-to for summer footwear, but the rubber can be hot and uncomfortable on a long day. With these DIY flip flops, however, you can recycle your old flip flops into cute summer sandals customized with any fabric you like.



Instructions credit: Inspired Life Photos

Upcycled Fire Pit

Firepits are a beautiful addition to a backyard, but many of those sold are either too expensive or just plain boring. This upcycled fire pit project, however, is cheap and easy to make, has a beautiful look at night and leaves many opportunities for you to customize it to your liking.



Instructions credit: House and Fig

Pressed-Penny Wind Chimes

Remember all those souvenir pennies from trips to amusement parks and zoos? Put them to good use with this pressed-penny wind chime. Souvenir pennies can easily be mixed in with regular pennies that are pressed with a hammer and anvil, and adding a few beads or charms adds a little more personality and uniqueness to this rustic craft.



Instructions credit: Home Talk

Summer activities provide many opportunities for unique, upcycled crafts and DIY projects, so let these craft ideas inspire you to turn your old junk and thrift store finds into beautiful, one-of-a-kind décor. Don’t forget to check out our wide range of eco-friendly craft supplies for your next project!

Show off your creativity! Tag us on Instagram @ecofriendlycrafting and let us see your upcycled crafts.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.