Review: Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have

Upcycling by Danny Seo

Whenever I go to the library, I like to browse the new books to see if there’s anything of interest. Yesterday, there was: Danny Seo’s Upcycling…create beautiful things with the stuff you already have is an amazing book filled with lots of great crafting ideas, reusing things about the house (or found at the thrift shop).

I’d never heard of Danny Seo — seems he’s often on the morning talk shows (which I never watch) and was once editor of the now-defunct Country Home magazine. He’s been doing “upcycling” since he was a self-proclaimed teenage activist. He has written other books, but this is his latest and it is a pip! He has some amazingly creative ideas — including making a doormat from old belts or a “silver leaf” mirror from chip bags — that are all relatively easy to do (I mean, the kids could do many of these things). He gives you a list (with descriptions) of the 15 items necessary for upcycling and then follows with 90+ projects with clear instructions.

Some of his items are a bit … well … not me; but some I’d really like to try: his birdcage chandelier, rustic bathroom hooks (antique iron-pipe joints), fallen-branch shelves, and his wood-grain journals to name a few. I also found out he has a blog … that is really fun!

Having grown up in California in the 70s — when it was all recycling and “found” objects — much of this style of decorating is familiar to me. But Seo puts an interesting twist that makes it all scream “sophisticated decorator” rather than “cheap designer”. So go green and check out Seo’s — we used to call it simply re-cycling but a new millennium calls for a new term, I guess.

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