Turn your trash into treasure with these 3 upcycled crafts

Don’t throw away those ratty t-shirts, we have an idea!

Earth Day is coming up and it’s a great reminder for us all to work harder to take care of the planet we call home. One of the best ways to do that is to reduce waste and recycle or upcycle instead. We’re talking about turning stuff you would usually throw away into something you could use every day. Michelle Oliver shared 3 fun crafts you can make using tin cans, an old milk jug, and some ratty t-shirts.

Tin Can Silverware Caddy (Copyright 2022 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.)

1) Turn tin cans into a cool silverware caddy

For this craft you will need:

6 Tin cans

A piece of wood that is as long as three of the cans

Some strap leather

Spray Paint

A couple of nails

And some screws

We will begin by attaching the tin cans to the wood. Punch a hole into the tin cans near the top using a nail and hammer. I would suggest protecting your work surface with a scrap piece of wood. Then screw them into the plank of wood. There should be three cans on each side, and make sure to line up the bottom of the cans with the plank of wood.

Now it’s time to paint! Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area, and protect the ground with a piece of cardboard. Try and get around all the nooks and crannies, you made need to go over it a couple of times to make sure. Once they are dry, you can add the final touch, a leather strap. Cut the size of handle you want, I went with about 8 inches, and nail it to the top of your caddy.

Now you’re ready for a picnic.

Milk jug birdfeeder (Copyright 2022 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.)

2) Make an old milk jug into a bird feeder

These are the materials:

A milk jug



Masking tape

Exacto knife



First cut large holes into the sides of the milk jug and cover the edges with tape. Then, poke some holes in the bottom for drainage, and make sure they aren’t too big. Also, cut some holes in the sides near the bottom, under the big cut-outs, to feed the dowels through. I found an X pattern for the dowels that worked well. Attach the string around the top so you can hang it, and fill it up with bird food.

Now it’s dinner time for the birds!

T-shirt produce bag (Copyright 2022 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.)

3) Transform a ratty t-shirt into a shabby-chic produce bag

Here’s what you’ll need:

And old t-shirt

A sewing machine or needle





Begin by laying out the shirt and drawing the outline of your bag. I used a dinner plate to give me a rounded edge and then continued the design using a ruler for a big, elongated “U” shape. The handles (or top part of the U), will be near the hem. Now, cut it out, then sew around the open edges, not including the side with the hem. You should basically have your bag now, all you have left is to cut the slits. Use a ruler to evenly space slits, I made mine about 1 inch long, and about 1 inch apart. Keep in mind you want to stagger them, and anything on the hem will be twice as big, so keep those to a 1/2 inch. Do not put any slits in the top four inches of your bag, this is where you’ll cut the slit for your handle to be (I did about 2 inches down from the top and 3-4 inches long).

Stretch it out, and it’s ready to hold your produce, and whatever else you’d like.

About the Author:

Michelle Oliver is a multimedia Journalist for the 10 a.m. lifestyle show, "Live in the D." She is known as "the food girl" because of her two popular food franchises, Dine in the D and Find Your Fix. Michelle also covers stories on homegrown businesses, style, and other fun things happening in the D.