When it comes to being sustainably minded, it’s really a better practice to rescue or upcycle a product in your home than to buy a sustainable product made from protected forests and eco glue. There are instances when any material you bring into your home should be safe to use and smell – especially if it’s something you sleep beside or eat and wash with. But otherwise there are some handy non-eco products out there that can be your best friend if you are trying to extend the life of products and furniture around the home. My favorites are epoxy, duct tape, a hammer and nails, and a glue gun.
How epoxy can upcycle your life
Epoxy can be used for plastic, metal, ceramic, glass and even wood. There is some element of mixing involved so learn how to use epoxy correctly. You can almost fix anything that might seem at first like a throwaway – you’d be surprised. In my sculpting studio I’ve made carving and pottery tools with epoxy. I found some old street washing metal brush and connected it using epoxy to a branch of rosewood and voila, a new tool that only cost pennies for the materials.
The benefits of epoxy is that it is low-cost, easy to find, and is really tough and strong when put in place. The drawbacks: you need a certain type of epoxy for metal and wood and plastics. It can be corrosive to your fingers and a petroleum by-product – it off gasses. Lastly, it’s not transparent like a glue gun or crazy glue and it needs some time to stiffen.
Duct tape your problems together
Duct tape: I could build hiking boots and shelter using duct tape, don’t get me started. I believe almost anything can be fixed with this kind of tape but don’t go overboard like the ramen noodle guy.
But duct tape is really wonderful for repairing bags, wallets, for taping poles together, for fixing bits falling off your car door and handles. It can hold broken tiles together and can stick bits of wood on tight if rolled right. The drawback is that it’s an external repair so it’s not quite like stitching bits together. If you like the look you can make it your flair and buy silver, red or gold duct tape to show off your style. Or if you are ambitious, try sculpting with tape.
Glue guns instead of a sewing machine
Glue guns: if you are a lazy mom like me, glue guns are my saviour around Halloween time. You can take all sorts of random things you have around the house and cut them up and swiftly make your kid a costume or into an upcycled kite. In the past women used to know how to sew costumes and dresses to make it work but if you don’t have time and want to avoid buying a bought costume, whip out your glue gun and start “sewing” the easy way.
Drawback: it’s not pretty and as finished looking as sewing. Threads of glue can stick out from the seams and it won’t last nearly as long as sewing. But if you need a temporary fix try the glue gun.
The basic hammer and nail
A hammer and nails. This simple household tool can get you far. With a variety of nail sizes from teeny tiny to larger 2 inch nails… you can hang pictures, fix bumpy wood and even install a shelf. For load bearing items – things that will need to carry substantial weight, better to use screws. But you can always try at first with a simple hammer and nail. You can make a clothes hook, a way to hang a small found mirror in your bathroom. A hammer can straighten out of line wood beams.