I’m so excited about these repurposing projects! I can’t wait for you to try them all. I’ve been thinking about ways that parents can help to cut down the costs of kids things – like clothes, toys, etc. – and during that thinking, I came across these wonderful ideas for turning regular household items into things that your kids will love. There is everything in this collection of ideas from travel games and dresses for little girls to Lego tables and even a really neat kitchen set that’s made from an entertainment center.
As parents, we want our children to have wonderful things. Sometimes however, those wonderful things are pretty expensive and as much as we want to give them to our kids, it’s just not always feasible. Well, now it is. You can make many of those items yourself from upcycled things that you’re probably just going to throw out. I love upcycling and repurposing projects – like I live for them! Have you seen these 45 ways to repurpose cereal boxes? There is seriously a repurposing project for everything in your life.
So, I gathered this list of repurposing projects specifically for things that you can make for your little ones. Some of the ideas in here are sheer genius – I mean, making a Lego table out of a nightstand or creating a toddler swing from an old pair of jeans? Seriously, there are some brilliant repurposing ideas in here. Some of them use adult clothing, some use furniture and others use things that you would normally consider to be trash. Remember these 15 ways to repurpose Pringles cans? These are sort of like that. Turning trash into treasure is always a thrill.
Whether you have girls or boys, or both, there is going to be a project in here that speaks to you. From dollhouses and reading nooks to play roads and Lego tables, you’re surely going to see a project that you, and your little ones, will love. So, start thinking about all of the things you have at home that you need to repurpose and we’ll probably get to each and every one of them.
1. T-Shirt Repurposed Into Baby Dress
This adorable little dress with a braided collar can be made from an adult sized t-shirt. This isn’t even a difficult project and is perfect for turning old clothing into new clothing. If you have a few t-shirts that you’re planning to get rid of and you have a little one, think about repurposing those shirts into adorable little sundresses for her.
2. DIY Tic-Tac-Toe Travel Game
This cute little tic-tac-toe travel game is made from an old Altoids tin. If you’re like me, you throw out tons of these tins every year. Imagine repurposing them instead into these great little travel games for the kids. Now anytime you take a trip, they’ll have something – not electronic – to keep them busy in the car.
3. Baby Dress From Upcycled Shirt
Here’s another wonderful way to turn a grown up shirt into a dress for your baby girl. For this one, you’ll need a button up dress shirt. It makes an adorable and lightweight dress that is perfect for Easter or any special occasion. It’s also really easy to make and you only need a portion of the shirt so you can use the rest for other projects.
4. Bedside Table Turned Lego Desk
That old bedside table that you no longer need can be used to create a great Lego play desk for your little ones. The drawers make perfect storage units to keep those Legos off the floor – if you’ve ever stepped on one then you know how important this is – and you can glue a Lego base to the top to make it easier when they play. I adore this idea and it’s such an easy project!
5. Bookshelf Repurposed Into Padded Bench
If you have an old bookshelf that you’re planning to throw out or sell, consider repurposing it into this great padded bench for your little ones. This is perfect for kids’ rooms and the shelves give them storage underneath for books, shoes, toys, or whatever they need extra space for.
6. Blue Jean Repurposed Baby Swing
Take those old blue jeans, add some rope or chain and what do you have? You have this amazing bouncy swing that is perfect for your toddlers. You’ll need a few clamps for this one to make sure that it’s secure and an old pair of jeans which create the swing. Just cut off the legs and you can even add a belt to tighten around your little one to keep them from slipping out.
7. DIY No Spill Paint Cups
Empty Starbucks coffee cups make wonderful no spill paint cups for kids. Just empty and then clean those cups – keeping the lids intact. Then, fill each one part of the way with the colors that you need and your kids can paint away without worries of tipping over their paint cups. You’ll need to watch that they don’t actually tip them over, but the cups are tall enough to keep paint from spilling out if you only put in a bit and they’re free – after you’ve had your Starbucks coffee, that is.
8. Coke Crate Art Supply Storage
You can find wooden drink crates – those cool vintage ones – at most thrift stores and flea markets. They have sections that are perfect for keeping craft supplies organized for the kids. Add crayons to one section, markers to another…you get the point. Plus, you get to display those craft supplies in a great rustic looking wooden crate – what’s better than that?
9. Repurposed Shirt Into Baby Bib
Those old shirts that you’re planning on throwing out can be used to make so many wonderful things for your little ones, including bibs. You can use adult sized t-shirts or button down shirts from older siblings to make a number of adorable baby bibs. Let’s face it, anytime you can repurpose something to save money is a great time and these little bibs also make wonderful gifts.
10. Upcycled Cabinet Doors Turned Art Desk
If you’re replacing your kitchen cabinets (if not you can buy cabinet doors at second hand shops really cheap) you can use those doors to make an amazing art desk for your kiddos. These little desks are so great and they have legs so the kids can sit in the floor and they’ll be happily coloring and painting for hours on end. Paint them their favorite colors to make them even more special.
11. Repurposed Baby Crib Into DIY Easel
If your little ones love to paint and color, this easel upcycled from an old baby crib is perfect. If you know you aren’t going to need a baby crib or find one at an old thrift store, you can create this easel, which is a really easy project. Paint it with chalkboard paint and you have a great standup chalkboard that the little ones can practice their ABC’s on – and it’s much cheaper than buying a chalkboard.
12. Repurposed Dresser Drawers Into Kids’ Shelves
These funky drawers turned shelves are great and perfect for a teen or preteen’s room. Just paint the insides of your drawers different colors and then hang them vertically along the wall. They offer extra storage for books and all sorts of things and they’re the perfect repurposing project if you’re doing away with an old dresser. You could also use these in the nursery for storing diapers, wipes, and other baby necessities.
13. DIY Play Kitchen From Entertainment Center
This is one of my most favorite DIY projects ever. It’s an old entertainment center that you turn into a play kitchen for your little ones. If you’ve ever bought a play kitchen, you know those things aren’t cheap. But, if you have an old entertainment center that you are no longer using, you can paint it, add a few embellishments, and turn it into an adorable play kitchen for next to nothing.
14. Entertainment Center Repurposed Into Dress Up Closet
Here’s another great way to repurpose that unneeded entertainment center. Turn it into a dress up closet for your little girl. You can paint it her favorite color and then use it to hang and store all of her dress up clothes and accessories. You could even put a full length mirror on one side so that she can admire herself when she’s dressed up and hang pegs on one end for purses and scarves.
15. Baby Crib Repurposed Into Crib Wagon
If you have little ones, not little enough to need a baby crib, then you can turn that old crib into this great crib wagon. Using the sides of the crib, you’ll create a little mobile crib that can be rolled to the park and back with plenty of room for a mattress, pillows, and even your little ones. Imagine not having to carry the kids all the way to the park. Plus, it doubles as a mobile crib so when they’re tired, they can nap away while you roll them home.
16. Repurposed Jeans Into Christmas Stockings
I love anything that has a country look and feel to it – so these jean stockings are my favorites! If you have old jeans that you just don’t plan to wear anymore, because maybe they have holes in them, then you can make them into these adorable little Christmas stockings for the kids this holiday season. This is a pretty easy project even if you have several stockings to make – and you have plenty of time to get them done before Christmas decorations go up!
17. Upcycled Old Jeans Into Play Roads
You’ve surely seen all the DIYs floating around about how to make play roads. This is another one but since it’s done with old blue jeans, the roads actually look asphalt colored. This is a really neat little project and one that won’t take you long at all – depending on how many roads you want to build, that is.
18. Upcycle Formula Cans Into A Piggy Bank
If you have empty formula cans you can turn them into these cute little piggy banks for the kids to save up their pennies – or other coins. The kids will love helping you to decorate these, too. Make it a family event and create a new piggy bank for everyone.
19. Nightstand Repurposed Into Kitchen
You can turn a nightstand into this amazing little DIY kitchen for your little one. It has such a great vintage look to it and it’s a really easy upcycle. You’ll need to paint and add some embellishments to create the stove and sink. A little curtain at the bottom gives it a wonderfully vintage look and helps to hide away all those play dishes and food pieces.
20. Upcycled Drawers Into Under Bed Storage
Old dresser drawers are the perfect under bed toy storage. If your kids’ room is always filled with toys – in the floor and not the toy box – because you don’t have enough room to store them all, you can make additional storage from old drawers. Cars, Legos, stuffed animals, and doll clothes are perfect for storing under the bed and you add wheels to the drawers so they pull out and push back in really easily.
21. Upcycled Shutter Wall Display
These upcycled shutters make a wonderful wall display to show off your kids’ schoolwork and art. Or, you could use them in the kids’ bedrooms as bulletin boards and allow them to display their own art and favorite snapshots. Paint them their favorite color or any color that coordinates with their room and let them supply all the decorations.
22. Papasan Chair Repurposed Into Reading Nook Canopy
This reading nook canopy is gorgeous and the perfect way to get your little ones to read. It’s made from an upcycled papasan chair and it’s a pretty easy build. You’ll have to split the chair in half – you only need half of it for the canopy base. This means that if you have the need for two of these, you have all the materials you need with just one chair.
23. Upcycled Phone Book Turned Pen And Pencil Holder
Here’s a project that lets you turn an ordinary household item into something extraordinary and it’s a project that the kids can help you with. This one takes some work (not too much) and is totally worth the end result. The kids will love storing their pens and pencils or even crayons in this DIY pencil holder.
24. Upcycled Shoe Box Dollhouse
Turn an ordinary shoe box into an amazing little doll house – and your little girl can help! You can also upcycle some of those old magazines with this project and let her decorate with pictures for the interior and exterior of her little house. This is the perfect project to help kids with cutting and pasting and she’ll get loads of playtime with her new dollhouse.
25. Shoe Holder Repurposed Into Organizer
When you take long trips (or short ones with toddlers) you often need things to keep the kids busy. When you have a car organizer, it makes for a much less stressful trip. You can turn an ordinary shoe holder into a great car organizer and keep all of their favorite toys and activities close at hand. There are so many little slots in a shoe organizer that you have room for toys, crayons and coloring books, electronics, and even snacks and drinks. Plus, you can hang the organizer right over the back of the front seat so they can reach all of their things themselves.
26. Soap Dispenser Upcycled Into Water Balloon Pump
Wash out those old soap dispensers and turn them into loads of fun for the kids during the warmer months. This works with any dispenser – soap, shampoo, conditioner, or even moisturizer. Just rinse them out well and add water. Kids can then use their little pumps to fill up water balloons without the mess – and they can fill them outside as opposed to in the kitchen, so there’s less mess all the way around.
27. Suitcase Repurposed Into Doll House
Here’s another wonderful dollhouse that you can create with regular household items. This one takes a suitcase and turns it into a dollhouse. You’ll need a sturdy suitcase for this one, like those old vintage ones. If you don’t have one on hand, you can normally get them at thrift shops for around $5 or less each. Then, paint the outside with chalkboard paint and let her draw in her own windows and doors. The inside is decorated, too – however you want to decorate it.
28. Adult Sweater Into Girl’s Sweater Dress
That sweater that you don’t wear any longer would make an adorable little sweater dress for a special little girl. You’ll need to cut off the sleeves and probably trim it down just a bit. Cutting and sewing are required for this one but it’s an easy project, even for beginning sewing enthusiasts. You can add buttons, appliques or whatever you like to decorate it and she’ll adore wearing it.
29. DIY Hats And Mittens From Upcycled Sweater
That old sweater can also be used to make these cute little mittens and hat for your little one. You’ll need a hat and mittens to use as a pattern and there is sewing required, although it’s not difficult at all. Depending on how many sweaters you have to get rid of, you could make a set for several children or make several sets for one child – she’ll have a different that and sweater set for every day of the week.
30. Parquet Table Lego Repurpose
An old parquet table – you know, the ones from the 1980’s with glass insets – can be turned into a nice little Lego table. You’ll have to remove the glass and then glue in Lego bases into those slots. That gives them loads of room to share their table with others and you can use the bottom to create storage for Legos in plastic tubs or wicker baskets.
31. Changing Table Into Desk Repurpose
An old changing table makes a wonderful desk – as the kids grow, turn their old furniture into new furniture that is especially designed for them. If you have a changing table and you don’t need it, you can easily transform it into a desk that is perfect for doing homework or playing. They’ll even have storage room for books or craft supplies and the back can be a dry erase board or even a chalkboard depending on your preference.
32. T-Shirt Turned Baby Romper
There are so many wonderful baby clothes that you can make from grown up clothing. This baby romper is another great way to repurpose those adult t-shirts. You’ll need to do a bit of cutting and sewing but this is definitely a project that even a beginner can do. It’s also a wonderful way to repurpose those old t-shirts that maybe you don’t wear anymore but really hate to get rid of.
33. Easy Pillowcase Baby Nightgown DIY
Those old vintage pillowcases are too pretty to throw out, but what can you do with them when you just don’t need them for pillowcases any longer? You can turn them into adorable little baby nightgowns. Not only are these nightgowns sweet, they’re also really cool because pillowcases are typically made from lightweight fabrics. These are perfect for summer nights when the temperatures may be too hot for your little one to sleep.
34. T-Shirt Repurposed Into Pants
So, here’s a neat idea – turn those old worn out t-shirts into lounging pants for your toddler. If you don’t have any t-shirts to work with, you can find them all day long at thrift stores for under a dollar. Imagine the cute little pants you can make with some graphic tees and this is a relatively easy sewing project, too. Plus, you get loads of new pants for your toddler, which can come in very handy during potty training.
35. Dining Room Table Repurpose – Kids Activity Table
If you have a dining room table that you don’t need, you can make it into this amazing activity table for your little ones. This is a small table, not one of those rectangular tables with tons of leaves to make them family sized. You can easily turn a round table into a kids’ activity table that will give them a place to play, create, and generally have a blast.
You’ll want to cut the legs down to make the table kid sized and then maybe paint some matching chairs.
Adorable DIY Toddler Summer Sundress
This adorable sundress tutorial is from Lil Blue Boo. This is really a great pre-summer project that will give your little one a beautiful dress to sport during the warmer months. The tutorial includes everything that you need to buy and the exact steps that you need to take to create this beautiful little dress. This is a really cute little dress and it’s easy so you can do different fabrics and make several of them for your little girl. It only takes about an hour to make so you can really turn several of these out in a weekend.