Have you got unused material lying around your home? Before you decide to junk them, think about upcycling them.

Upcyling is just a fancy term for breathing new life into an old item. For instance, if you have old bottles lying around the house, you could upcycle them by turning them into lanterns, or painting them, so that their life is lengthened. Upcyling is great for our environment, because fewer products would be junked. If we all resorted to upcycling, it would be a wonderful way to reduce environmental waste!

When I looked around last month, I found several pieces of plywood and laminate leftover from my big kitchen project. What could one do with such tiny bits? There was certainly not enough to make a door, or even a kitchen stool!


Image courtesy: Sharon D’souza, Home of Sharon D’souza, Pune.






















After much brainstorming, I was able to decide exactly how to breathe new life into them. My kitchen is non-modular with large, roomy cabinets and a creamy white finish. I decided that I would use the plywood to make wall shelves to add to the feel of a charming, old-fashioned kitchen. I would also add a bit of carved detailing and this would very nicely transform my kitchen to the French-style country kitchen look that I loved!


Image courtesy: Sharon D’souza, Home of Sharon D’souza, Pune.






















When the carpenters came in next for a bigger project (I am yet to find a carpenter who will happily acquiesce to minor jobs such as this one), I requested them to machine-cut the plywood, and also add the simple detailing to enhance the look. Since they had all the heavy equipment for their other project, the ply was cut to size, the detailing added on, and the laminate was pressed into place. It was a lovely feeling to see my idea come to life.


Image courtesy: Sharon D’souza, Home of Sharon D’souza, Pune.






















Other ideas for leftover plywood

  1. More shelving ideas

If you have only the ply and not the laminate, fret not. Cut the ply to shape and then polish it with generic wood polish easily available from any hardware shop. If you are doing it yourself, remember to sand the ply well, first with a 120 grit sandpaper, and then with a 240 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. If there are some uneven spots or old drilling holes from a previous use, fill those in with wood filler. Then apply the polish.

If the plywood is smooth, then directly apply enamel paint on it. Depending on the finish you like, you can choose from matt or gloss finishes.

Add a few steel hooks on the bottom side of the plywood to hang colourful mugs and cups.

  1. A painting

Plywood is a great canvas. If you have unused plywood lying around, sand it first. Then use acrylic paints and decorate it. This is one such experiment, and because I thought it was too amateur to frame and hang indoors, I have hung it in the corridor outside my apartment entrance. It beautifies the space, makes a great conversation starter and even protects my walls from the dirt and tyre marks from my son’s bicycle.


Image courtesy: Sharon D’souza, Home of Sharon D’souza, Pune.

I am sure all of us have these bits and pieces of plywood lying around. Why not attempt this simple project and use it all up, instead of dumping it?

When carefully researched and executed, upcycling projects are a win-win for both you and the environment. Have you upcylced something recently? We would love to see pictures and stories of your upcycling projects.

I will be sharing a couple more upcycling projects and hope you will be inspired to upcycle too!