Your Recycling Toolkit: Everything You Need (And Nothing You Don't)
I’ve already explained how recycling can help you live a life of greater authentic joy, but now the time has come for the practical concerns – what do you need to be able to upcycle effectively? This is a bare bones, minimum list of what should be in your recycling toolkit that will be enough to complete 90% of the projects we post, although a few projects may require some other simple additions. So, in a nutshell, here’s what it takes to get started:

Your Recycling Toolkit


I really hope you have scissors because they are just kind of a life necessity. So this is easy. (But here’s a link to Amazon if the goodness/location of your scissors is in question)

Hot glue

When you become a crafter (which you totally will!) hot glue becomes a life necessity as well. It’s good stuff. But please be careful. Burns are not good stuff and when they say hot glue it’s not figurative. I have the scars to prove it. Learn from my carelessness!

White glue/school glue

If you don’t have school glue at home you can get great deals on it at back to school time. I often pick up a few bottles even if I have a good stash because they are just so cheap that time of year.

A few paint brushes

For the vast majority of projects the cheap colored plastic ones will work just fine because we’re not planning to paint the Mona Lisa here. Typically you will be painting something all one color or applying glue, so fancy brushstrokes don’t really matter. However it is a good idea to have one or two nicer brushes if you do want to add details or paint more complex items (Does even talking about painting “details” freak you out? Don’t worry! It is totally optional in most projects)

Primary colors of paint

Remember that cool little color wheel thing you saw in elementary school art class? Well you may remember that you only need 3 colors to make all the others. If money or space is an issue and you’re trying to keep this a shoestring deal, a bottle of red, blue, and yellow will get you through as long as you’re down for some mixing.

Colored paper/tissue paper

I use colored paper and tissue paper to add texture and circumvent painting A LOT so it’s not a bad idea to have a mixed color package of each on hand to make some fabulous things extra quick. Often it’s all you need to take a project from obviously recycled to incredible – just wait until you see next weeks’ project!

Hole punch

Fancy punches are all well and good, but I find that I can usually get by just fine with a regular old hole punch.

Masking tape

I find that masking tape is the most versatile for DIY as it is easy to use, easy to tear, and easy to attach things to with glue. It is also the most paintable of the major types of tape.

And that’s it! Not too scary, right? You can totally do this!

Do you have other things you would put in your recycling toolkit? Let me know you’re must haves in the comments – you may catch something I forgot!