Our generation have always had the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ message pumped into us tirelessly. It’s now part of our everyday life, with the message still standing as loud as Mariah’s high notes and clearer than a £1 poncho.

Junk to Jewels – How to recycle your shoes!

Average Janes are keen to put a creative spin on the act of recycling. Let’s make it fun! Let’s try to make it… sexy? We will even tell you how to turn that tat into cold, hard cash! Some exciting solutions may be sitting right under your nose…

Now we have heard some pretty serious rumours that there’s a few people out there who think recycling isn’t ‘cool’ enough to warrant their attention. We know, right, rubbish! Have they not seen Zoolander nor heard of the term ‘shabby chic’?! Some reports of Anti-Recyclers go so far as to call those clever individuals that use a bag-for-life or drop their used A4s in the paper bin ‘hippies’ or ‘do-gooders’. This kind of stigma is extremely common and encourages us to step over that piece of trash rather than pick it up. But those terms are also sort of, well, true. Hippies originally stood for peace, equality, happiness and love! Cool stuff. And as for ‘doing good’ – of course you are, you legend!

So let’s get on with the best secrets we’ve found that can turn your trash into treasure overnight and even potentially turn a profit! Apologies if you are expecting the latest seasonal collection of Derelicte…


Don’t chuck out your old calendars! Everyone forgets how awesome the artwork on their calendar is come December. You originally bought it to reflect your passions or interest every, single day of the year! It was there to inspire or simply look smart on the wall (you may want to reconsider the next bit if you buy World’s Cutest Kitties each year…) So before blue-binning it – consider those brilliant high-gloss prints in your hand. Tear out your favourite months and refresh your tired old picture frames throughout the house. Use for home-made cards. A collage. One Average Jane we know even wallpapered her bedroom with a beautiful collection of artwork prints from several, old calendars. Jump in the end of year sales for bargain calendars too, sometimes as cheap as 50p for 12 prints!

Now it’s SHOE TIME!

We all have a pair or two of water-stained pumps or not-so-fresh slip-ons that are sneaking closer and closer to the charity bin. But those shoes deserve a second chance. Here’s how to save them & save yourself buying a new pair:

1. Grab your tatty old pair of pumps, your choice of spray paint & a roll of masking tape.

2. Carefully cover the sections of shoes where you do NOT want the colour changed. Do not worry about inside the shoe – stuff this with newspaper to protect it from the spray paint.

3. Take the shoes outside and let out the graffiti artist within! Spray evenly, in strokes, until fully covering the old material. Remember to hold the can a fair distance away, not too close. Several thin coats and patience may be required.

4. Leave your kicks to dry for a few hours and excitedly (but delicately) remove the masking tape and stuffing. Now take your inspired ‘new’ shoes for a stroll!

Spread the word about what you can whip up out of old shoes – charge per pair for anyone interested with the fashion colour of their choice.

recycle inspiration

What about using an empty wine bottle as a vase? Works especially well with the lavender of the season sprouting out the top. Used egg cartons can have a second life as a painting palette. Do you devour those tasty and compact vege or soup pots for lunch? Remember to keep that plastic resealable container those little gems come in handy, wash it up, and use as a tupperware at home – so simple, the best bit is it’s not sitting on atop a hunk of landfill.

If you want a fruitful side project to work on, keep your eyes peeled for unwanted wooden chairs or cabinets. A bit of elbow grease is needed, but after the sanding down and the matte painting, the fun bit begins! Stencil on the design of your choice. Wild birds. Flora. Your favourite lyrics. Owls work too. Not only does second hand, boutique furniture look impressively heartfelt, it is hugely popular and demands a fair price tag! Exactly why we suggest making your own and even selling it to a happy buyer for a pretty penny. Not only is this a satisfying way to recycle, but the feminine side of Captain Planet respects you for it.

Average Janes understand that recycling isn’t just a handful of creative projects – it’s a way of thinking. But what better way to kick-start that mindset than by looking at the objects around you not as junk or bin-bound, but as chances to use your own unique creativity.

Let us know if you reuse and recycle @tweetjanes

Tickled your fancy?


Latest Posts