If you have two left hands you may watch the trendy upcycling programmes on TV with envious eyes. For those of you not familiar with upcycling, it essentially means taking one thing (which may be broken, but not necessarily) and making it do service as something else, or mending it, painting it or otherwise improving it so instead of being thrown away, it can still be used. TV presenters – and there are whole magazines devoted to it too – make it look so easy but many people fall at the first hurdle because they are not crafty and things look awful!
Don't give up
The trick is to start small. Making a trendy footstool out of an old traditional rug may sound child’s play but actually it can be really hard. Do you have a mattress needle (for the uninitiated, it is one of those really big, curved jobs that often come in mixed needle sets); some linen or waxed thread; kapok; buckram; endless patience and thumbs like pile drivers? No? Then in that case, your best bet would be to try an easier project! A plaited cushion cover is probably more your mark and you can do that with strips of old bedding, curtains, shirts or any other fabric. You don’t even have to sew it; if you staple the ends of the plaits onto a pillow pad and then tack a backing on, you have something that looks great – except it isn’t recommended for lounging (staples can be sharp!). The message is – don't set yourself up to fail.
Using nothing more than glue, some paint and a flat weave rug (or a softer pile traditional rug) that has seen better days, you can make an old sideboard into a great pet bed. Just remove the doors, making sure you don't leave any bits sticking out, paint it on the outside and then stick the rug to the inside. If you have some spare old bedding or towels you can put this in as a soft bed which can be taken out and washed when it gets smelly. If you need to leave the cat out at night, having this available in a garage or shed will be a real bonus in cold weather. When you’ve practised on the cat, you are ready for a project for the house!