Now, while many people that regularly dip into the “green,” “recycling,” and “natural”-foods and clothing circles will recognize the term–many others may not. Upcycling is the act or art of re-using a material in a completely different fashion than it may have originally been intended. You might recycle an old plastic bag again and again, but an upcycler might take that bag, weave in some recycled fabric, and “upcycle” it into a headband or bracelet. Old paper clips, metal cans and can tops, and bits of glass might be sanded down or linked together to make a bracelet or belt. You can upcycle old plastic bottles and cans into planters and pots for growing fruits and veggies in, even though or especially if they have holes!

I have always had a bit of a soft side for stuffed animals. Having made a few as a kid, I’m thinking of trying them on as a small job. So far I’d made a sock bunny from a discounted sock, when I was hit with the idea of using upcycled clothing and materials to make these stuffed animals out of!

A cute little sock bunny and a WAY too large prototype winged octopus!

(These are just prototypes–the octopi I sell will be a LOT smaller, and the bunnies will look nicer!)

I traipsed into Goodwill (after a failed attempt at finding used clothing at a vintage costume shop), and found some material gold! I got several tanktops, thin hoodies, and long dresses made from super soft materials–in all sorts of patterns! Mostly black and white in stripes, a few plaid, and one solid. Now, using clothing rather than socks will complicate my pattern by a little, but I was able to get QUITE a bit of clothing for just 35 bucks–and I’m thinking it may make as many as 12-15 animals!

Lots of new upcycled cloth to choose from!

(Up-and-coming stuffed animals will have adorable mis-match patterned limbs!)

Poll time! If you’ve ever purchased an artisan stuffed animal, or upcycled good, how much did you pay? What site did you use? Was it worth it? Would you do it again? For about 3+ hours of work (at just minimum wage), a certain amount for materials (which I am getting discounted and ‘sorta’ in bulk, unless they’re buttons and we already had a butt-load of ’em sitting around), and the design I’m using (which is my own)–I’m thinking of charging between 20 and 30 USD for each stuffed animal. So far I’ve only made a bunny–but I’m thinking I’ll do a few little winged octopi, a few frogs, and definitely more long bunnies.

Wish me luck!

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