Upcycle Your Kids' Hand-Me-Downs

Parents often have to do more with less, so here are some clever ways to use things your kids have outgrown for other purposes, both practical and decorative!
By: Briana Mowrey
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Photo By: Melissa Edgemont

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Lauren Davison

Photo By: Aaron Graubart and Marko Metzinger

Baby Food Jars = Hanging Vases

Painted baby food jars make a brilliant window display for blooms, so even if your little one is not a fan of strained peas, at least you can turn the jars into something a little more appealing.

Baby Food Jars = Spice Storage

Spices + empty baby food jars + magnets = Fridge magic! Get cooking with Lauren Davison's clever magnetic spice rack. The homemade labels are adorable and placing the jars on the fridge makes them so much more accessible than if they were in a cabinet.

Crib = Headboard

Wondering what to do with your child's crib when they graduate to a "big kid" bed? This headboard idea from HGTV Magazine is so chic, no one would ever know it's straight from a nursery.

Crib = Magazine Rack

If a repurposed crib headboard isn't your cup of tea, consider using pieces of the crib as a vertical magazine rack instead. Nikki McBride used her child's crib railing to set up a veritable newsstand, as seen here.

Baby Shoes = Art

Bronzed baby shoes are a classic keepsake, but even classics need an update every now and then. If you can't part with your little one's slippers but they're taking up space, make some shadowbox art like John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love did here.

Baby Shoes = Art

All you need to make these baby shoe mementos are a few inexpensive art & craft supplies, then they're suitable for storing and displaying.

Lunchbox = Multipurpose Organizer

An empty metal lunchbox can store just about any odds and ends you can image in the home, but this use as a guest bathroom toiletry tote is especially clever.

Toy Box = Dog Feeding Station

With all the focus on the kids, it can be easy to forget Fido. This dog feeding station (made from an old toy box!)is one way to show your furry friend you still care.

Blocks = Magnets

Fridge magnets made with plastic blocks are a fun way to add color to the kitchen. Your kids will be excited to hang up report cards and artwork with these whimsical accents.

Blocks = Art

This plastic block panda may be a bit advanced, but if you've got a budding artist and extra blocks, making a masterpiece could be the perfect way to upcycle.

Blocks = Drawer Pulls

Use extra blocks as playful drawer pulls for your child's dresser, media center or game cabinet.

Blocks = Finials

Wooden blocks are a classic kids' toy, so why not keep them in use after your little ones have outgrown them? Repurposed as finials, the geometric shape and punchy colors are unexpectedly cool.

Toy Animals = Garland

With a little spray paint, twine and eyelets, Erin Loechner transformed dollar-store plastic dinosaurs into something more festive. This cool neon garland is perfect for a party, but could be equally at home in a cool office or dorm room.

Toy Animals = Bookends

These animal bookends are such a smart way to take once-loved toys and use them to keep your home neat and stylish. They're sure to get a smile out of anyone who spies them on a bookshelf.

Toy Animals = Drawer Pulls

Make a plain dresser more playful by swapping out basic hardware for these toy animal drawer pulls. (Who knows, it may even inspire your kids to dress themselves in the morning!)

Baseballs = Finials

Hit a design home run by upcycling your little slugger's old baseballs into finials. It's an adorable accent for a sports-themed bedroom or even a basement game room.