Upcycled linen creations makes vintage and retro linen hot property at the op shops right now but what are people doing with them, they are probably not drying the dishes with these eye-catching pieces.
Here are some inspiring recreations from a quick trip on the web to get you looking at op shopped doileys, Manchester and table cloths in a new light. Apologies to those already on the linen hunt, you may have more competition but it’s for a good cause!
A Piece of Pie on Etsy makes beautiful clothing from retro linen. She has a great eye and creates for adults and children.
Upcycled Linen Teatowels into ladies t-shirt by A Piece of Pie on Etsy
The Mustard Tree Op Shop in Lilydale is sometimes even able to save you the work and upcycles pieces when donations come in. These were two stools they had available in their beautiful op shop a few weeks ago made from upcycled linen they had donated.
Upcycled linen teatowels via The Mustard Tree Op Shop
Upcycled Linen Necklaces
These pretties were spotted on Mary Stanley they are just beautiful. A great way to use linen scraps that may be marked or damaged.
Upcycled Linen Necklace
There are so many gorgeous upcycled linen dresses out there it was hard to choose just one example, I a big fan of birds though so this one stood out to me made by Kinchimama.
Upcycled linen dress seen via Kinchimama on Flickr
What to do with the scraps?
Make the most of the leftovers with these sweet buttons. Another great way to repurpose damage pillowcases or Manchester.
Thrifted Transformations is run by a really creative thrifty shopper with an amazing eye for transforming the daggy to desirable, the shonky to chic, the cringeworthy to incredible… you get the idea.
I have included three of her short but informative videos to give you an idea of what she does but she has a whole YouTube channel here to inspire you. I bet after watching a couple of these you’ll be looking at dresses differently and be a little more confident about stepping our of your fashion comfort zone.
April of Thrifted Transformations
On this episode she
Turns a high waited leather skirt into a mini skirt.
Turns a cute denim top into a more fitted crop top
A stretchy t-shirt into a fitted tank top
What I like about most of the videos is how simply she breaks the stages down. There are nice visual tips throughout as well as advice on stitching which is great if you need to dust off your almost unused sewing machine like me.
This video is even simpler, if you have an infinity scarf she shows you how to wear it different ways. Sometimes you just have to be shown these things. You’ll be searching the fabric bins a little more after watching this.
Finally this cute mini tutorial shows you how to transform t-shirts. T-shirts are so easily available and cheap from op shops and these are great projects that won’t cost you much time, effort or money. It will also give you a piece of unique fashion no one else will have.
Which is your favourite?
What op shop gem have you given a new lease of life to?
You can find her YouTube channel here where she not only shares her upcycle projects but also her thrifted finds.
I love seeing how excited others are at rediscovering items donated from the op shops. It is recycling at its best.
Have you got any favourite fashion upcyclers we need to know about? Drop a message below.
I’ve seen some really ugly clocks in op shops, donations from ex Bieber fans, unwanted Barbie clocks, Nemo, Wiggles, Thomas, One Direction, Twilight timepieces….. the list goes on. I wonder if they get reunited with new fans or if they sit in a tub marked at $1 for months gathering dust.
If they work there is still hope for them! I’ve been scouring skiving on the internet and thrown some inspiration together to give these clocks hope, after a bit of surgery they may end up looking better than they did to start with.
Most of these ideas will also put to use some other items found at your local op shop or thrift shop
Typically op shops have lots of books and usually lots of book sales. If you’re not a fan of repurposing books keep an eye out for damaged ones for this little project. This one was seen on Dishfunctional Designs.
3. Paper clocks
Op shops also have an abundance of old magazines that can be used to create all manner of pretty paper crafts. This clock was seen on Repurpose Relove, the tutorial they used is here.
4. Tools Clock
Perfect for the man shed or an outdoor area, this one has been created by Linda Hudgens of the Pink Elephant, now you know what to make the gardeners in your life!
5. Lego Clocks
One for the kids room. They can also get on board and help design these one’s. This was spotted on Our Nerd Home and it even includes a little tutorial here.
6. Board Game Clocks
This Scrabble board clock was created by Miss Courageous on Etsy, unsurprisingly sold out because it’s awesome!
7. VHS Clock
I love this quirky upcycle project seen on Mental Floss 15 New Uses for Old VHS Tapes
8. Doily Clocks
I know amongst the I Love To Op Shop Group on Facebook (join in the fun here) there is a lot of love for doilies at the moment so I think this will appeal to some of you seen via Headless Days.
9. Spoon Clocks
How beautiful is this cheery Chrysanthemum clock created from repurposed plastic spoons created by That’s What She Said.
10. Coffee Kettle Clock
I love this enamel vintage style kettle clock, it’s made by Clock and Pots.
This is just a small taster of what some super crafty and imaginative people have been up to when it comes to repurposing everyday items, I hope this will now get you looking at a few more op shop items in a new light.
If you’d like to keep up to date with ILTOS posts don’t forget to subscribe or follow my Op Shop Hacks board on Pinterest here.
I’ve been a long time stalker of the Mustard Tree Op Shop and I decided to try my luck and ask a few questions about their thrifty upcycled inspiration. Here’s what I found out
Is there one person behind the upcycled items we see of a few people at the op shop?
There are a number of people behind the Upcycled items we have at the shop.
Amanda and Dale are responsible for a lot of the crazy things you see there. They make the lamps and lighting and are responsible for most of the displays in the shop. Judy and Leanne are our gardening upcyclers, propagating plants at home. Judy also creates fun sculptures with old golf balls. We have had working bee’s at homes to create things like the tea towel cushions and stools. Christine and Jean helped with these.
The more we do, the more the volunteers want to help and contribute.
2 Why has The Mustard Tree begun this initiative? We have begun this initiative for a number of reasons.
Number one is to reduce the amount of waste we have to dispose of.
We get a lot of donations. We all seem to love vintage items.
Sometimes these donations are visually appealing, but are just a bit broken or incomplete. Sometimes they don’t pass electrical testing. So what can we do? Unfortunately a lot of it has to go to landfill. We recycle unusable clothes as rags. We sell recyclable metals to the scrap dealer.
Luckily we are also able to upcycle some of these items to resell in the shop. So we reduce landfill, reduce our operating costs by cutting down on rubbish/bin fees.
We create items that we have proven to sell for higher prices than they would have in their broken state.
We create a visually appealing space for our customer and volunteers.
All these factors combine to ultimately help the community which is the main function of The Mustard Tree.
Upcycled ties at the Mustard Tree
3 Are they popular with op shoppers? They’re not typical to op shops but we know the Mustard Tree is pretty special. It has proven to be quite a talking point among our customers and volunteers. People seem to appreciate the reason we are doing it and sales have been positive. They are unique pieces often with an “industrial” look. It’s fun to create these items and see them sold to an appreciative buyer.
4 Have you got a favourite upcycle that has been done at the Mustard Tree? There have been a few upcycled items that stand out.
Lamps made from old oil cans proved popular, as did one made from a red Tonka fire engine.
The Necktie light fixtures are always a talking point and the first thing we did was a chandelier made from cutlery. Affectionately known as the “Chandelier of Death” due to the hazards we endured while constructing it!! It hangs in our café.
Lately we have made some cushions and stools from old tea towels. They look great!
Upcycled cutlery chandelier at The Mustard Tree Op Shop
5 Do you have any tips for people wanting to upcycle any common household cast offs? My tip for upcycling is to think outside the square. You can make a lampshade out of just about anything.
Vintage items are so fun to work with because they have such a great look and they evoke memories in people when they see them used in a fun and quirky way.
Another tip is to use the internet. There are so many things being done around the world that can give you inspiration. Pinterest is great for browsing.
6 What upcycled items are currently available at The Mustard Tree? Our upcycled items are always changing. Many times we will work on something for a while and it is sold ½ hour after its out for sale.
We generally have a number of lamps and succulents in interesting planters for sale. We currently have tea towel cushions and stools. We also have decorative bunting made from old books.
Upcycled succulent holder from The Mustard Tree
I then asked what else we needed to know about the Mustard Tree. All that we do at The Mustard Tree, including our Upcycled range is to help raise funds so that we can help people in the community.
The Mustard Tree is part of Lilydale Baptist Church and as a church we want to show God’s love as we care and provide for physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the hundreds of people who come into the shop every week.
We want to be seen as more than an op shop. We want to provide a place that people can come and feel welcome. Customers are able to enjoy a coffee and light meal in our café, they are able to purchase clothes, furniture, books, manchester, bric-a-brac, records and so much more at affordable op shop prices. If people need extra help we have Community Care. We run a Foodbank where we provide food parcels to anyone in need. Each month we provide enough food for approx. 3000 meals. We also offer pharmacy assistance and when necessary free clothing and household goods.
Each Tuesday (during school term) we also have a free lunchtime meal. This is known as Community Table and is open to anyone who wants to come and share life over a simple meal.
The Mustard Tree’s Community Table
Huge big thank-you to the tireless team at the Mustard Tree, you’re op shop super heroes.
Now to see their creative genius make sure you follow them on Facebook here and they can be followed here on Instagram @themustardtree
How inspiring are they? I’d love you to share some tips or creative ideas on what you upcycle below.
Zenna Donna’s creations were spotted on the Facebook group and I took the opportunity to see if she’d let us know a little more about her unique and quirky designs.
Zenna Donna’s Rockabilly Dress
How long have you been sewing and what inspired you to do something a “little out of the box” with some of your dresses?
I have been sewing for 20 years. (Since I was 12 years old) My mum taught me how to sew, my grandma and great grandma sewed as well.
I started sewing “one of a kind” dresses a few years ago, when I couldn’t find what I wanted in the shops, and none of them fit me. I starting looking for vintage fabric in op shops, and started making 1950’s style dresses. I also love teaching people how to sew and that’s why we have our YouTube channel, so we can show people step by step, how to make dresses, skirts, and lots of arts and craft things.
My business motto is: Create, Teach, Inspire.
Where do you source your fabrics from? I get my fabrics from lots of different places.
A lot of my quality vintage fabrics, come from op shops and I have had lots of people donate fabric to me, and I also upcycle sheets and curtains from op shops for dresses.
Do you also source patterns from op shops?
Yes, I do. Some of the best patterns I have are from op shops. The vintage patterns are such great quality, and you can find some many different styles.
Zenna Donna’s Op Shopped patterns
What have been some of your favourite prints and designs that you’ve created?
Some of my favourite designs I have made so far, is a dress I made out of a Wiggles doona cover. I also made a great rainbow coat last winter from different scraps of fleece fabric, and I love the bags I make out of men’s ties.
Zenna Donna’s upcycled Men’s tie bags
Do you do custom orders or do you have more popular requests and can you tell us about any of them?
Yes, most of my orders are custom. We make every dress to fit the customer’s measurements. Our “tea party” dress is our most popular, and we make it in sizes 10, 12, and 14.
Zenna Donna’s upcycled suitcase on her website here.
Why do you op shop and can you tell us why you think others should op shop? I love op shopping because it’s a great way to find one of a kind, unique pieces, and I love recycling, and it’s like a treasure hunt, every time I go op shopping.
I think everyone should give op shopping a go, because it’s a great way to support charities, the local community, and find something unique.