Adventures in upcycling


Last week we were fortunate enough to have Devika, who is a parent (see here for other fabulous work she does), conduct for a week-long upcycling workshop. She did work with the 7th standards students as well as the smaller 4th and below classes. For the youngest kids she focused on doing upcycling gardening projects. The older kids used biscuit wrappers, old/torn clothing, and other various items to create small rugs, pot holders, iPad covers, and all sorts of other imaginative items. I loved seeing my mother-in-law’s old saree and my old yoga mat being woven together to create an iPad case.


Our garbology class spent the class period working with her on designing planters with used/outgrown/torn athletic shoes. Our school seed bank gave us some gourds to plant in them because they will be like creepers and grown down and make the scene look pretty. We hung the shoes next to the area where the preppie children made their upcycled garden–the centrepiece of which is a spider’s web–out of various waste items like plastic bottles and other found objects.


Upcycling in India seems to be catching on, but where ever one is in the world, Pinterest has some terrific ideas posted so you can find an artistic purpose for pretty much any item you’d like to make out of trash. In India there are a number of organisations that are starting to make and sell such items, too, such as Conserve India and Green the Gap.

Here are some of my favourite recent ideas about what you can upcycle and how you can do it:

Upcycling tin

Upcycling in Chennai

Fabric upcycling ideas

Used tyres upcycling

Finally, here is an update–photographs of the upcycled garden we did at school with the plants beginning to sprout!

IMG_20150827_120324 IMG_20150827_120335 IMG_20150827_120341 IMG_20150827_120349 IMG_20150827_120407 IMG_20150827_120421 IMG_20150827_120428


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