budget friendly crafting

10 Epic DIY Projects from Scraps You Have at Home!

a pile of pink and white scrap fabric labeled "extras"

I grew up in a household where wasting anything was considered sinful - super intense, right?! My mom and dad were very frugal and always used every last bit of what they had before buying more, whether that was food or craft supplies. That value was definitely instilled in my sisters and me!

Once I was out of college and on my own, being thrifty with money and resources served me well since entry level salaries at ad agencies are pretty pathetic! So if I wanted to make something, from a meal, to a skirt to a Christmas ornament, I usually looked around at what I already had to work with and started there. 

close up of messy artist's paint brushes on a black background

When my husband and I had our three girls, and we were stretching one income for five people, it became essential to repurpose everything! Currently, this is a very trendy topic, and an important one for our planet. It seems like we're always hearing about sustainable companies, zero waste products and recyclable materials.

But aside from the trends, for me this was a way of life that started out of necessity. Actually, I always considered this concept to be a fundamental part of crafting: creating something out of nothing. Yeah, you could buy new stuff, but isn’t it more fun, and inherently satisfying, to craft it out of what you already have??

Whether it's leftover wood from a previous project or bits of fabric saved from old clothing or linens, these seemingly insignificant remnants can be transformed into unique DIY creations with just a little imagination and effort.


The many benefits of creating DIY projects from what you already have at home!

Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability is the principle at the heart of repurposing scraps for DIY projects. Whether this is something you do out of financial necessity or just because you love the planet you live on, I think we can all agree it’s a good habit to get into.

Instead of contributing to the ever-growing pile of waste in landfills, repurposing materials gives them a new life. It's a small but worthwhile step towards reducing our environmental footprint and embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle. 

Unleashing Creativity

One of the most rewarding aspects of working with the materials you already have is the chance to unleash your creativity! Random materials from that bin in the basement often come in unconventional shapes and sizes, challenging you to think outside the box and create innovative solutions. Whether you're making a simple wood sign or piecing together a patchwork quilt, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
I always considered that to be a fundamental part of crafting - creating something out of nothing. 

Budget-Friendly Crafting

My favorite reason for loving DIY projects: they don't break the bank! By using materials you already have on hand, you can create one-of-a-kind pieces without spending a fortune. Search your home for scraps of wood or fabric, beads, yarn, old t-shirts - almost anything - and to see what you can turn them into for a budget-conscious project. You’ll indulge your creativity without emptying your wallet!

you have permission to screw up and start over without any serious financial commitment on the line.

Inspiring Resourcefulness

When you’re limited to what you have at your fingertips, it encourages resourcefulness and problem-solving skills. Instead of relying on a fully stocked craft store, you'll learn to make do with what you have, improvising and adapting as needed. This mindset not only creates a greater appreciation for the materials that would ordinarily be considered junk, but also fosters imagination and ingenuity.


10 Epic DIY Projects from Small Scraps

These are my favorite DIY projects I’ve done with scrap materials and hand-me-downs I had at home. Please understand that I have made my fair share of mistakes and you will too! Flying by the seat of your pants without the perfect supplies isn’t always easy.

But it’s FUN and you have permission to screw up and start over without any serious financial commitment on the line. I was fortunate enough to have a sewing machine and some basic tools, but nothing out of the ordinary. Try some of these out and make them your own!

DIY Wood Projects

1. Family Name Signs

I wanted a sign in our family room where I could hang some pictures of the kids and change them out easily throughout the year. So I grabbed a scrap piece of plywood, sanded and painted it with our name and the year we got married. I added two screw eyes and some twine where I hung those photos. This sign was the inspiration for starting my business!


a wood sign hanging on the wall above a tv with a name painted on it and photos hanging from twine that is strung across it

2. Patio Table

My sister in law was getting rid of her coffee table and knew I wanted one for our patio, so she gave hers to me. It was too fancy for outside, so I screwed some wood planks onto the top to make it look more rustic, then I painted the legs and scuffed them up a little with sandpaper. I had the wood and paint from another project, so this one was easy! My brother in law saw it when it was finished and asked to have their table back! 


rustic coffee table and outdoor furniture on a patio


3. Hanging bottle opener

I needed a 50th birthday gift for my husband’s cousin, and for real, what the heck do you get a 50 year old guy?! So again, I grabbed a scrap piece of wood from an old planter that I built. I sanded and stained it, then painted on a funny saying that I knew he would like. I found a bottle opener and cap catcher at a hardware store and screwed those on and it made an amazing, masculine gift!


A bottle opener sitting on an outdoor table with these words painted on it: If you're looking for a sign that you should open a beer, here it is"


    DIY Sewing Projects

    4. Baby clothes quilt

    When my girls were little, I saved some of my favorite baby clothes they wore even though I didn’t really know what I would do with them. I just couldn’t part with those cute, cuddly pjs and adorable dresses! Eventually when they were in school and I had the time, I cut them all up into squares and made a quilt with them. The only thing I needed to buy was the batting. Now it’s everyone’s favorite blanket to cuddle under on our couch! I love the daily reminder of when they were adorable, snuggly little babies- it makes me so happy!
    Introducing Carl, our brown Boston Terrier, curled up on the quilt!


    A brown Boston Terrier sitting on a quilt made from baby clothes

    5. Denim kitchen rug

    So in case you weren’t aware, kids grow out of their clothes sometimes faster than you can buy them! We always passed them down to the next kid in line, but once all the kids grew out of them, I put the jeans in a bin to be repurposed. As luck would have it, I needed to cover up my badly stained rug under the kitchen sink. So I took a seam ripper to those jeans, sewed a bunch of them together to create a single piece of fabric that covered the runner-style rug. I used a staple gun around the edges to fasten the jeans to the old rug and bought some rivets to add to the edges just as an accent to make it look cool. I LOVED this rug - the denim was super durable and cleaned up well. It was one of my better ideas! I'm so bummed I don't have a picture of this one!


    6. Zipper Pouches & Aprons

    When my husband creates a new donation pile of work clothes, I hunt through it to see what I want to keep before I take it to the donation center! Sometimes I remove the sleeves of his shirts, add some darts to the bodice and create a cute, summer, collared shirt for myself! Other times I've used those shirts as the lining fabric for a tote bag I made or to make a cute apron. But my favorite was when I used my father in law’s old ties to make little zipper pouches. He had just passed away so those tie zipper pouches made a sentimental keepsake for his wife, my daughters and me. And because he had great taste in clothes, the patterns were beautiful and vibrant.  

    close up of zipper pouch made from a man's tie

      Here's the easy zipper pouch tutorial that I used from skiptomylou.org!

      7. Placemats

      I've collected tons of fabric scraps over the years from random things I've made like curtains, clothes, pillow covers, etc. So when I wanted a set of placemats for the kitchen table, I went to my fabric stash! I knew it would be a mismatched set of placemats, but that was fine by me. I cut the fabric in rectangles, put them right sides together and stitched around the edge, leaving a small section undone so it could be turned right side out and stitched closed. They were perfect! I could throw them in the wash and use them over and over again. The kids loved that they were all a little different; each of my girls had their favorites! Here's another project without pictures - sorry! At the time I never thought I'd need a picture of them! 😣


        DIY Crafts! 

        8. Mosaics

        I had a sofa table with a concrete top that was cracked, and I needed a way to cover it up. In other news, I also had a friend who had a ton of fire glass left over after setting up her fire pit. So guess who learned how to make a mosaic tabletop?! I only needed to buy a little grout and a sealant and the result was a beautiful mosaic table. I simultaneously gave new life to a damaged table and repurposed the extra glass that would have gotten thrown out! Me when I'm awesome. 😄
        a table with blue and white mosaic top

        9. Charcuterie board

        Ok - this one I can't claim as my own. My brilliant friend made this for me. She had a plank of wood that she stained and sealed (using food safe products), then added cabinet pulls to create this beautiful charcuterie board. I use it so often, I love it! It's big so it's perfect for parties when you need a lot of snacks!


        A wood Charcuterie board sitting on a kitchen counter top

        10. Party Photo Display

        We threw a party for my daughter's high school graduation, and I wanted to display photos of her from kindergarten on up to 12th grade. I printed the photos, but now what? I needed a way to display them! Then, as I'm walking the dog one morning, I noticed a palate on the sidewalk just begging to be rescued! Once I got the palate home, I spray painted it with her school colors and then attached twine with a staple gun across every other plank of the palate. Then I used mini clothespins to hold the photos and it looked awesome! It was a zero cost, rustic, but festive photo display that was a huge hit at the party! Of course, all the pictures I have of it with photos have people standing in front of it, but here's a shot of it anyway. 😊


        a palate, propped up against a wall, painted white and red with twine strung across the planks of the palate


        Working on crafts with scrap materials and the resources we have on hand can be a really fun and creative way to work towards a more sustainable future. It’s not only good for the planet, but it also challenges your ingenuity and can foster new skills. So the next time you find yourself with a handful of waste materials, don't throw them away—let them inspire your next DIY masterpiece. Who knows what treasures you'll create from the smallest of scraps? Have an epic DIY experience to share? Tell me all about it!

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