own creative imagination and elbow grease brings joy

Hands down, the best part of this job for me has been handing over a finished piece to a customer and witnessing their reaction. Knowing that the product of my own creative imagination and elbow grease brings someone else so much joy is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. In a perfect world, I’d be able to spend every spare moment spreading that kind of joy by visiting the homes and workplaces of customers, family and friends, and offering tips and labor to make each space perfect. However (although I sometimes don’t even like to admit it to myself), I have a life outside of the UpCycle Girls! Thus, I have decided to provide a lesser, but helpful, alternative.

One of the main reasons I am asked to help with design solutions is to make up for someone’s “lack of creativity.” And while things like this are what keep Tara and I in business, I’d like to give our followers some simple guidelines for how to accommodate for that “lack of creativity.” And of course, we’d still love the opportunity to help you follow these guidelines, and build solutions!

When tackling a new project, whether it be a furniture refinish, lamp placement, or a complete space revamp, keep reading for a list of questions that can be very useful tools for tapping into your creative side. (If you ever wondered if you could be taught how to think outside the box, this is it! 😊) 

1. Color: Run through the colors of the rainbow and branch out from there. ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), go lighter and darker, duller and more vibrant. And then consider the shadier side of things… Whites, grays, blacks and browns.

 2.  Size: Can you make the piece in question bigger or smaller, taller or shorter, thicker, wider, or more dense. What effect does that have on the role of the piece in the space?


3. Quantity: Think about the piece or space as a whole. Imagine it scaled down or up and either multiply or divide it. Imagine the resulting quantity in different arrangements.

4. Function: Can this item or space be utilized for more than one purpose? Versatility is key. It can cut down on space consumption, simplify organization, and improve aesthetics. Ask yourself if you can alter the function, or even add to it.

5. Position, Location, Assembly: Can it be flipped or rotated? Can the assembly be reversed or rearranged to increase position options (consider asymmetry, but maintain balance)? If the piece is located on the floor, can it be wall or ceiling mounted, or vice versa? Do any of these changes affect the other by opening or closing possibilities? (Example situation: you dis-assemble a chair to re-use the fabric, and are left with a decorative back piece. You may decide to rotate it and create a wall-hanging.)

6. Miscellaneous Details: If the piece needs lettering, try changing the font, and play around with the word positions. Imagine the piece with different mediums, both for background and foreground (I.e. different fabric, fresh paint, new adornments…). For smaller pieces, can you utilize it as part of a cluster or gallery (on a wall, with other small pieces, or on a shelf)

7. Add a touch of your own spirit! Go as far as to close your eyes and clear your mind. Then envision your space or item in a way that makes your heart happy. 

I could keep listing tips for you, but the one thing that I think will make the finished product most suited for your needs and tastes, is YOU!  

So, open your mind, embrace multiple possibilities, and envision a successful final outcome.  And of course, we are always here to help you get there!

Junk on,

UpCycle Girl Becca


The UpCycle Girls – Tara Badertscher and Rebecca Dankert

Upcycling is a unique craft that when practiced correctly, can really make a difference.  Enter: Tara and Becca – Two Midwestern girls with a passion for flea markets and dusty gold.  Tara has over 15 years experience in woodworking and antique restoration, and Becca has a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture and over 10 years experience in the field of design.  Together, they are the dynamic duo known as The UpCycle Girls!  They thoroughly enjoy all things old and rusty, and are always in search of their next great find in America’s beautiful dairyland.  Their mission focuses on bringing new life to old household items by flipping them into decorating staples or statement pieces. Additionally, they work to recognize sustainability by keeping unwanted furniture and decor out of landfills through the practice of repurposing and upcycling.  Between the two of them, Tara and Becca have six kids, 4 dogs, 7 chickens and a fish (and are hoping to add more!)!  They are busy wives and mamas who love doing almost anything outdoors, drinking strong coffee, traveling to new places, listening good country music, and junking until their nail polish chips off! // WebsiteFacebookInstagramPinterest

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