Repurpose: Old toys = new grown-up decor | the ReFab Diaries
Looking for a new use for your kids' old toys? Upcycle them into quirky decor.

new uses for old toys

I had a lot of fun putting this post together! Using old toys as decorative items or home "accessories" requires a certain sense of irony. Definitely a sense of humor. But old toys are so often at the top of the trash pile that we definitely need a way to upcycle them.  Read on for 20+ ways to repurpose old toys.

Turn old doll-house furniture into a jewelry tree! Tutorial with craft-store purchased chairs here. I say, pile up a bunch of mismatched dollhouse pieces ... or plastic toys, which are so hard to give away or sell back.

What can you do with old action figures? How about turning a warrior into a peace-loving bookend?  Or perhaps Glamour Barbie becomes one with literature? The tutorial that I used to link to is gone, but this upcycle isn't rocket science. 

Crafting with (or repurposing) plastic animals is such a fun way to repurpose what is otherwise single-use plastic junk.  I have jumbo animals that Ms Ro loves.... nevertheless, I'm tempted to steal them from her to make these planters

I think these "mounted" animal hooks are a stand-out because of the colors she's used.  (Instructions at Little Gray Fox).  For an awesome roundup of plastic animal ideas, go here

If you have collected a whole menagerie of plastic toys, how about upcycling them into a (strange-but-cool) decorative bowl? Full tutorial here.

If you need a cheap and cheerful way to prop up your phone, upcycle a plastic animal! I Love this fun Dino-butt phone tripod" from Eat.Sleep.Make  :)

Or maybe you're not really into "ironic" toy decor and want to keep the upcycling kid-friendly! This corn-a-saurus corn-cob holder is freakin' awesome!  Easy DIY at Paging Fun Mums.

Not necessarily decor, although I have half-done puzzles lying around so often that they might as well be! Give an uninspiring (or damaged) puzzle a new lease on life

When it comes to new uses for old toys, I could dedicate an entire post to "repurposing Barbie parts".  Read more about these salad tongs at Treehugger

If you just can't get enough of those legs .... and for much more barbie bizarre-ness, see the amazing jewelry by Margaux Lange

A slightly less disturbing idea using old Barbies: a DIY jewelry holder from Makely

I recently rediscovered my old Playmobil figures! Right now, Ms Ro is very interested in them too. But when she's done... I rather like this upcycled Playmobil clock from The Gingerbread House

Instructables shows you how to turn an old Xylophone into a Windchime

Or hang an old metal xylophone on the wall as a colorful magnetic memo board

Ok .... more plastic animals. Using them to make coat hooks is just so damn fun

Ummmm..... cool if you can get over the creep factor. No tutorial but hop back up to the plastic animals - the same process should apply.

Use old Lego pieces to make yourself a charging station

Or turn a couple of lego pieces into a super-simple key holder!

This might be my favorite toy-repurposing idea yet! Lego people's hands are perfectly sized to hold all your charging cables ... (freakin' fabulous!)

Or how about a Lego utensil holder?  Check out a whole round up of lego repurposing ideas at Graphic Leftovers

Installation of toy cars?  If you have this many, you might have a problem.  But it's really inspiring.

Here's an idea that will either make you feel like super parent or a sentimental fool:  Hang on to one of your child's favorite toy cars and turn it into a key chain ... you know, to use the day you present your kid with his/her first car?

Vintage toy trucks turned into pincushions!  More here and tutorial here

This is both a storage and display/decor idea. All you need are Ikea magnetic knife strips

Or paint old toy cars and use them as fridge magnets. Tutorial here.

Use old board games to create stand-out display shelves

How about re-using a Slinky as a mid-century desk organizer? 

Use old blocks to make a gravity-defying clock! Care of I love to create

Use old alphabet blocks to make a new key holder

I've seen skateboards repurposed as shelves ... but this raised pet feeder idea is new to me

Ok, not necessarily "grown up". But a fab idea right? Head to Makely School for Girls for the DIY

Perfect irreverence ... I could not love these leggy storage jars more! Complete DIY at Tuts+

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  1. Great round-up! Some really kooky ideas here, I love it!

    1. Thanks Tanya ... glad you like the "kook" factor - this was put together with my tongue firmly in my cheek! Love your blog - will follow via RSS :)

  2. I love finding ways to repurpose items I may have around the house especially love the doll parts as wall hooks. I prefer to reuse an item than throw it away, keep these awesome ideas coming.


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