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Champions of Upcycling


By Julia Kohut


Upcycling is the next-level, hipper version of repurposing – it means transforming a used item into an entirely new product. Some of us are hobbyists – others are pros! Here are some of the 2019 champion upcyclists showing the Internet how it’s done:

Upcycle That
For Judy Rom, upcycling is more than just making old stuff into new, but rather a transformation of turning trash into treasure. Her blog, Upcycle That, is a testament to this idea, featuring a wide range of hand-crafted products and step-by-step tutorials to make your own upcycled items.


Judy has been upcycling ever since she was a kid making crafts with her mother, but it was on Earth Day of 2012 that she officially joined the game and founded Upcycle That along with Jacques Karsten. It has been a staple in the upcycling community ever since, providing a wide range of ideas for repurposing everything from old clothes to furniture to the magazines you’ve read one too many times. And it doesn’t take a craftsman to become an upcyclist – Judy offers ideas for all skill levels, from cork planters to pallet swings.

Upcycling is a great way to reduce, reuse, and repurpose all the old and worn-down things we have in our life. But more than that, upcycling is art. This is what Antonia Edwards strives to showcase on her blog The Upcyclist. Started in 2011, the Upcyclist is a place for people to share in the beautiful side of upcycling. The blog focuses on the homes, furniture, lighting, and other various objects that have been created from discarded materials. Antonia also highlights the truly stunning works of art created from waste and recycled objects. After all, why can’t we clean up the planet and be surrounded by something beautiful? That’s what the Upcylist is all about and what Antonia hopes to share. Her blog also has a shop to purchase something truly unique, and offers consulting for anyone looking for some upcycling help.

Grillo Designs
Crafts, hacks, and more, Grillo Designs has it all. The blog was first started by Medina Grillo as a Facebook page back in 2014, but it has since grown into so much more. Medina likes to focus on the interior, sharing her ideas on how to add your own personal touch to the place you call home. Her blog provides tutorials on home improvements, Ikea hacks, crafts to do with your kids, and, of course, upcycling projects to turn your old stuff into new. Growing up, Medina was never sure what she wanted to do with her life, but she found her passion in DIY and was determined to make something of it. This determination paid off when she won the 2017 AMARA Interior Blogs Award for Best DIY and Home Improvement. It’s no surprise; her blog is a place for anyone looking to add something unique to the place they call home.



Gail Wilson is something of an upcycling guru. More than just making something old new again, she excels at turning anything into something completely different. Whether she’s making a bench from headboards or turning shutters into a bookshelf, Gail is unstoppable with her crazy, innovative ideas. Fortunately for us, she’s shared her genius on her blog MY {re}PURPOSED LIFE. Home decor, crafts, outdoor living, holiday projects, and more can be found at her blog, all repurposed from something else. Gail started upcycling years ago, making bean-bag tosses and playhouses for both her daughter and the preschool where she worked. She started MY {re}PURPOSED LIFEin 2009, and has been blogging full-time ever since. She now offers ideas and tutorials for literally anything you can find on the side of the road or buried away in your garage. However you’re looking to spruce up your home, Gail has something for the homemaker in all of us.

Funky Junk Interiors
The blog Funky Junk Interiors started when Donna Williams decided to decorate her home with essentially nothing. She turned to thrift stores and the side of the road to find something unique for her home, and started blogging to share all the crazy ideas she came up with. Decorating isn’t always an easy task, but Donna sure does make it seem so. Funky Junk Interiorsshows us how she’s able to turn any scrapped material into something rustic and beautiful.The blog is aptly named, with creations such as Donna’s yardstick pallet nightstand, junk-styled clock, ladder side table, and so much more.

Donna offers tutorials and advice on upcycling, reclaimed wood projects, gardening, and even stenciling. She started with a house she despised and ended with her dream home – and her blog shows us how anyone can do the same. All you need is some time, effort, and anything you find on the side of the road. Also pallet wood – lots and lots of pallet wood.

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