There are different example of wood offcuts and scraps that find new life. There are many artists and manufacturers that produce toys inspired by the idea of reincarnation as well as recycling. It’s upcycling. 

What does then ‘ upcycling ’ mean? Wikipedia says that it is “Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.”

In a nutshell, let’s take some waste and transform it  in something new and improved. In this way you are saving waste and you are creating something beautiful!

Do you want to discover any examples of upcycling?



For example Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama started to make some creatures for fun. Studiomama started life as the Pallet project which was about making your own piece of furniture from discarded pallets. Then ‘off cut animals’ started to emerge from all these bits and pieces waste bin in the workshop. They consists of different odd shapes with nails holes and random cuts each with their own personalities.









Another example comes from the young designer Katie Wen , who said that ‘In reality, recycling degrades the material, so as a way to reduce the use of plastic and reuse the cardboard tubes that I found at the Rhode Island Recycling Center, I redesigned the children’s stacking toy.’ It is very simple but still I find it so ingenious!




And have a look at these Robots, made by the designer Anas Aqel. He said that ‘This project came by accident, all i need was a pin to my drawings, then -BAM- a toy was created and it never stops!’. Have a look at the others he created on Behance.




The Lithuanian freelance designer Urtė Šmitaitė created this lovely Mr. Octopus by using EVA waste (note that it can be even personalized!)




I also love these trucks, by the 25 years old Giuseppe Giordano, Italian student in Product and Service Design based in Milan. They are so cool!





Another artist is Simao Bolivar, who wrote: ‘making use of objects which no longer fulfill the function they were created for, as wooden boxes, tin cans or umbrellas torn apart in stormy nights, the artist transforms secondary materials trough a manual value adding process based upon the portuguese/brazilian tradition of handmade toys, once so popular. Forms and mechanisms are revisited and presented in new clothing. The need to interact with the objects to operate its mechanisms invites us to…play’





Even I created in the past some robots with some used lighter. Do you like them? I do! 🙂




Explain your kids what does upcycling mean.

Look for useless pieces at home and encourage them to unleash their imagination.

You will be very surprised of the final result, children’s creativity has no limits or restrictions.

If you want to show us the result, upload your photo to INSTAGRAM and label it #cuteandkids_upcycling We will share it with all our followers.