Hey- did you know that old used and broken skate decks are piling up in landfills these days? It doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering that American skateboarding companies alone are producing around 100k skateboards a month! So what can you do with your old wheels once they’ve retired?

From riding the city streets to functional and aesthetic apartment chic, skateboards have been a popular material of choice for upcyclers all over the world. Here are a few of my selected favorites!

Skate Dog Studios makes awesome upcycled skateboard pet feeders for your pooch

Skate Study House works exclusively with skateboard repurposing, their Astro Clock is made from 12 skate wheels and incorporates pieces of the deck as well

The Godfather Skate Lounge is another masterpiece from Skate Study House. This is a perfect example of how trash can become treasure to those who are creative enough for the challenge

This skateboard staircase was custom made for Roarockit Skateboard School in my favorite city in North America, Toronto.

Kris Lovett is a designer who has a knack for tackling the repurposing of old skate decks, these are some very nice tube caps that he made from the reclaimed wood. This has Sexy Upcycling written ALL OVER IT. So stylish, so functional, perfect!

Kris also created these super gorgeous RePly Sandals from the durable layered wood. I LOVE these, they don't even look upcycled, they look like something from the runways of Milan!

As simple as this is, I love the idea behind this post-it note holder from Blend Collecif. How great of a napkin holder would this make if it were just a LITTLE bigger?

Lindsay Jo Holmes is an upcycler after my own heart. Her company Maple XO makes AMAZING creations from reclaimed decks. Check out these must have bicycle wheel fenders, GENIUS! Can we be besties Lindsay?

Maple XO also teamed up with Grove to make super limited edition iPhone4 Cases- Are these not the most amazing things you have ever seen in your life?! Sexy Upcycling ALL THE WAY!


Our bestie, Taryn Zychal of Recycling Zychal is just one of TEN finalists in the running to win $25,000 from Stoli Vodka for their Stoli Originals Contest.

This girl is so talented that people should just pay her to talk to them, honestly. She has inspired so many ideas over here at Sexy Upcycling and as a contributing writer, it feels like the rest of us are always trying to find the coolest sexy upcycled goods before she does. We almost want to hate her, but she’s mastered being sweet and awesome as well.. DAMMIT. 🙂 just kidding!

Anyway, everyone should check out her video where she RAPS about UPCYCLING UMBRELLAS and her unique company, and of course vodka. It’s actually amazing and a catchy tune at the least, but our favorite part is where she talks to her black pug in it.

Taryn Zychal of Recycling Zychal raps about upcycling, broken umbrellas and vodka for Stoli's Originals Campaign

Truly a must see!

You can click the photo to take you to the youtube where you can see her audition video, or you can visit her blog for the low down.

All of us here at Sexy Upcycling want to wish Taryn and Recycling Zychal the best of luck, we would LOVE for her to win, imagine how many more people will know about upcycling if she does! So watch her video for fun, for laughs, for a good jam and most importantly, FOR THE FUTURE OF UPCYCLING!

What happens when you mix the philosophy of Habitat for Humanity with the material hunting skills of a freegan?

Dan Phillips, an inspiration, a visionairy and an upcycler!

You get Dan Philips, founder of Phoenix Commotion, an amazing upcycling based construction company who not only salvages landfill waste and turns it into sustainable, affordable, energy-efficient, one-of-a-kind houses for single mothers, artists and low-income families, but also teaches valuable and sustainable construction skills to volunteers who help him.

This guy is truly a Sexy Upcycling Hero and I HIGHLY recommend his inspiring Ted Talk. Not to mention, his work is phenomenal and he has a great Flickr filled with pictures of his work.

In his Ted Talk, Phillips breaks down why there is so much waste coming from construction and the housing industry and bases it off of psychological presumptions that we build in our head from the day we are born. He points out that we need to see things in repetition in order to create a pattern, but with waste material, it’s very hard for us to create a pattern since “Trees don’t grow 2 x 4″; 8, 10 and 12′ tall”. So instead of just letting the excess material go to waste, he creates patterns of flaws that unifies whatever it is that he is constructing, which psychologically creates something desirable. While showing a picture of a beautiful house that he made, he wittily states that “There are bulges, pokes and sags [in his work and] if that ruins your life, you shouldn’t live there”.

Some highlights of his work include decorative architectural buttons made from bondo filled eggs, “lumpy tiles” made from smashed toilets, a doormat made from a chunk of wood and some bottle caps turned upside-down, roofing shingles made from retired license plates and my favorite, a deadbolt lock made from the fence of a 1930’s wood shaper.

Functional and freegan, this doormat might be the next thing I make from retired materials

Phillips uses retired lisence plates as roofing shingles, awesome, functional upcyling at its finest!

A 1930's Wood Shaping Fence is now a fucntioning deadbolt lock, I WANT THIS

I don’t know if it’s just me, but when I hear the word junk, I don’t get very excited; certainly not as excited as when I hear something like “dumpster” or “trash night in Rittenhouse Square”. I’m not so sure why this is. Junk is everywhere, and can be anything that isn’t organized properly, unwanted, dirty, broken or all of the above.

My feelings on junk were quickly changed when I saw what Israeli design house, Junktion, does with it, turning junk into awesome one-of-a-kind pieces that have a modern steam punk style flare.

As an avid rider of bicycles, I absolutely LOVED what they make from salvaged bike parts!

2 Person Table made from reclaimed bike parts, reclaimed glass and stainless steel

For the man who cycles, and recycles. What says "Sensitive and Masculine" quite like these Bicycle Horn Candle Stick holders?

To me, it says alot when an upcycling company can safely make something for a child, great job Junktion!

They also do exquisite work with busted suitcases, old telephones and rescued kitchen accessories!

From trashed suitcase to super modern upcycled storage case!

From traveling the world to housing your medicine, this Suitcase Medicine Cabinet is retiring in style!

I love how HAPPY this Suitcase Chair looks. I mean I'm sure I'd be happy if I was rescued from the landfill too!

Winter might be approching, but this Picnic Table made from a salvaged suitcase is something I NEED for Rittenhouse days next summer in Philadelphia!

We’re pretty firm on how we feel about upcycled clocks and lamps here at Sexy Upcycling, since you can basically upcycle ANYTHING into a clock or a lamp using a simple clock or lamp kit, but these ones kind of break the mold in our books. It looks like the designers at Junktion really took into consideration not only aesthetics, but functional aspects of the junk they put together to make into these clocks and lamps, so, congrats to them, because it is not just everyday you see us making exceptions for upcycled clocks and lamps. Perhaps, these examples should be where the bar is set for clock and lamp upcycling 🙂

Amazing modern light made from old kichen accessories, this should be in the MOMA

This is so kitchy that it works, I need this in my life. Very GaGa; I wonder if she has one?

From temperature to time, these Stove Top Clocks give you the time in a clean, modern, upcycled way

What we like best about Junktion is their philosophy of using the worlds junk to make new things because there is already enough “stuff” out there that could be put to good use.

Bravo Junktion! You have my Sexy Upcycling Stamp of Approval!

Cords: We can’t live without them, they literally connect us to EVERYTHING; but they practically take over any small space packed with electronics like a wild ivy, or even worse, like a squatter roommate that you only let stay with you because they are friends with your crush. Well, we might not be able to solve all your problems (yet) here at Sexy Upcycling but with our 10 Second Upcycling Tip, we think we can help  you with the cords.. 🙂

We’re always on the go, so our laptop station (for right now) looks a little like this:

Cords Taking Over Our Current Laptop Station, this MUST be fixed!

But with a little bit of magic, and by magic I mean these fine little dittys which you might know as bag tags, you can work WONDERS  on keeping your cord overloaded area fresh and tidy!

These Bread Bag Tags usually are tossed, but are such a useful resource to have on hand!

There are many different sized Bread Bag Tags, so chose a larger one with a larger hole for a thicker cord, and use the thinner ones for iPod charger cords or headphone cords! This is especially helpful when I throw my earbuds in my purse and the cord wants to wrap itself all around my wallet and lipgloss. No more tugging when you use the tags, my ear buds stay put and don’t cause any trouble!

Wrap your cord around and around and fasten with the bag tag like so!

Nothing screams productivity like a clean desk, especially when theres upcycling involved!

And if you find that you still have messy cords under your desk, do what I do and use them to label the plugs on your power strip. It makes just about ZERO sense why companies choose either black or white for their plugs making all of them look the same, but with the assortment of colors and sizes that these Bread Bag Tags come in, all you have to do is clip them on, even write what the plug goes to and before you know it, you have yourself some Sexy Upcycled Cord Organizer Labels and best yet, no more guesswork when it comes to the power strip!

Label your cords with the Bread Bag Tags for maximum efficiency and a confusion free work zone!

I’d love to make this “10 Second Upcycling” a reoccurring part of our blog, if you have any super quick, easy and useful Sexy Upcycling tips, please send them to sexyupcycling@gmail.com with “10 Second Upcycling” in the subject  line. We will totally credit you on the blog and best of all you will be helping to spread Sexy Upcycling all around the world!

I nearly died when I saw this video from our broken umbrella upcycling friends at Recycling Zychal. The video chronicles a black pug named Hurley, who as once afraid of the rain, and how he learned to love rainy walks once he got one of Recycling Zychal’s famous Upcycled Umbrella Dog Rain Coats. It kind of reminds me of an eco-friendly version of Run Spot Run!

And if you are a cat person like me, you can help reduce your cat’s carbon paw print by purchasing one of these super cute Organic Cat Nip Filled Kitty Toys that help raise money for City Kitties Cat Rescue in West Philadelphia, because lets face it: If your cat is going to destroy something, it might as well be GREEN!

$1 from each cat toy purchase goes to City Kitties Cat Rescue in West Philadelphia!

You can purchase Recycling Zychal’s Upcycled Umbrella products on their Etsy store, as well as in Center City Philadelphia at Just Dogs Gourmet on Chestnut Street!

Quick side note: Recycling Zychal is also participating in America Recycles Day by launching a month long initiative to collect broken umbrellas from people all over the country. The difference is that between 11/15 and 12/13, the folks at Recycling Zychal will be making a special limited edition present crafted from the very broken umbrella donated for everyone who donates a broken umbrella to them as a thank you for participating in America Recycles Day. I’ve been given the insiders scoop on what the special present will be, but I’m trying to keep my lips tight!

To donate your broken umbrella or for more info, please go to the Donate A Broken Umbrella page on their website!

To read more about Recycling Zychal’s America Recycles Day Event, head on over to their blog!

No one likes a snifter of whiskey to be spilled on the floor… but what if you could cover your floor with upcycled whiskey barrel wood and have the sweet smell of bourbon, oak and vanilla fill your room? Thanks to McKay Flooring in Glasgow, this dream can become a reality!


Upcycled and Upscale- McKay Flooring is made from Oak Whiskey Barrels


Using both the sides and the stamped lids of the casks, these flooring packages are truly one of a kind, and offer a stylish and sophisticated touch to any room.


Wood Burned Stamps from the lid give the look of this flooring treatment a very unique and handcrafted uplift


McKay says that the packages have sparked interest from designers all over the world and the interest continues to grow.

Currently these packages start at about $270 and can be shipped worldwide. Check out McKay Flooring’s Website to learn more about this unique Whiskey Barrel flooring, and to see their other varieties of reclaimed flooring!