Upcycling Ideas for Accessories

Upcycling Ideas for Accessories

Accessories- things like bags, belts, shoes, and scarves- are an unlimited source of creativity when it comes to getting dressed and perfecting an outfit. But they are also an amazing source of upcycling potential, from creating new wearables to reusing them in unexpected and clever ways. Here are some great examples of how to upcycle accessories, either your own or thrifted finds.

Umbrella Wreath

upcycling an umbrella into a wreath for Spring

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A vintage umbrella may not work properly when it comes to keeping the rain at bay during bad weather. But filling it with silk flowers and hanging on your door is a wonderful way to give it a new lease on life.

Scarf Blanket

Wool scarves as a plaid throw blanket

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A lot of wool scarves end up at thrift stores. Maybe their owners moved to warmer climates or moths got the best of them- anything is possible. But either way, they are fun to stitch together into a patchwork throw blanket to use as cooler weather settles in.

From Purse to Hip Pack

How to make a hip purse from a small handbag

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A small leather purse from your closet or the thrift shop might be just what you need for this DIY fanny pack upgrade. Plus, with a couple of leather crafting tools, it only takes a few minutes to make.

New Accessories from Old Accessories

refashioning with ribbon belts

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Creating new accessories from old accessories sounds a little crazy, but trust me when I tell you it’s brilliant. Ribbon belts often come with a pair of shorts from the store, but most of them end up in clothing donation piles. But look how fun they are as embellishments on otherwise plain accessories like tote bags and hats!

Scarf Necklace

Make your own necklace with scarf material

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Silk scarves are beautiful but often delicate, prone to tears, pin holes, and unfortunate collisions with food or drink. But if enough material is salvageable, it can be re-imagined as a chunky, contemporary necklace with this repurposing idea.

Vintage Patch Hats

nostalgic accessories like vintage patch hats

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A plain hat is a blank canvas for personalizing, don’t you think? Or perhaps you have a hat with the logo of a company you no longer work for- what to do? Well, adding a fun patch (vintage or new) is a great way to create a one-of-a-kind accessory and stand out from the crowd.

Cool Cuffs from Leather Belts

leather belt cuffs

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Find an embellished leather belt at the thrift store or have one you adore but can no longer wear? DIY leather cuffs from belts is such a fabulous way to extend their life in a new, stylish way. Easy to make with a few leather crafting tools, you can showcase the prettiest parts of the belt and custom-make them to size.

Necktie Wreath

diy patriotic wreath with cheap ties

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whether you have a closet full of unworn ties or pick up a few at the thrift store, they are a great source of crafty inspiration. Take this patriotic wreath, for example. Isn’t this a great way to repurpose them AND celebrate July 4th with a fantastic wreath?

Accessories for Organization

nail apron as a brush organizer

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Crafters are always looking for ways to organize and store their supplies. And in this case, old canvas aprons were repurposed in two different ways to store paint and stencil brushes. One for the craft room and one for traveling!

Painting Leather Accessories

how to paint leather

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you’ve never heard of leather paint, then you’re missing out- because this stuff has quite the cult following. Often used to personalize sneakers, these leather paints are also perfect for upgrading a blemished leather (or even pleather) purse from the thrift store.

Scarf Sun Catchers

diy suncatchers from vintage scarves

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

These sun catchers and bird deterrents look pretty hanging in your largest picture windows, and won’t break if they come tumbling down. But they have a secret job to do as well: altering the reflection that can cause collisions between songbirds and clean glass windows. Talk about a double duty DIY!

Shoe Planters

shoe planters

Image credit: Shop at Blu.

Scuffed up shoes aren’t a welcome sight in your donation bag. But turning them into quirky succulent planters for your front porch is a much better way to put them to good reuse!

Aromatherapy Eye Pillows

Upcycling a Vintage Scarf as a Lavender Eye Pillow

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

We all know how awful a headache (or even worse, a migraine) can be- it can steal an entire day or even longer. And while aromatherapy eye pillows like these won’t medically cure it, it can improve the symptoms. These were made with vintage scarves so the fabric is smooth and cool- rice adds just enough weight to feel soothing across your eyes, and the essential oils you use are completely up to you.

Accessories on the Front Door

Spring door decor from a straw purse

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Hanging a thrift store tote bag or purse on your front door sounds silly, but check out how lovely it is as an unexpected “wreath”! Filling it with flowers that can easily be changed out as seasons change, it’s a great way to extend the life of an old bag.

Decanter Tags

How to make decanter labels from a leather belt

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Perfect for a home bar or bar cart, these leather decanter tags started out as a leather belt. But with some alphabet stamps, a leather punch, and some metal fittings, it’s easy to make an entire set of tags for your bar.

Halloween Porch Planter

Upcycling a Straw Tote as a Halloween Planter

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A large straw tote bag from the thrift store is perfect for turning into a jack-o-planter for your front porch with this upcycling idea. Doesn’t it look frighteningly festive when filled with potted mums?

Upcycling Ideas for Old Accessories

upcycled accessories

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

There really are some amazing ways to extend the life of your old accessories (or fun finds from a thrifting adventure). Whether you want to create something new to wear, something to display around your home, or something that is functional and handy, those bags, belts, and scarves might be just the ticket to your crafting success.

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.

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