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How to reuse / recycle old broken toys

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This month we have another query from Vicky. She wants to know what to do with old broken toys!

I’m sure you’ve endured jigsaws and board games with pieces missing, figures with amputated limbs or orphan toys hiding behind the sofa. What do you do with them apart from throw them in landfill?

Suella said “Goodness me. Broken toys, partial jig saws etc are just what the doctor ordered at any college that does art and design. For first years in particular, or later on for final projects the student’s ideas will just be able to rip.

Such things make really interesting jewellery. Look at Sue Kreitzman’s website. She displays in the windows at Selfridges and wears all her stuff magnificently. At over 70 she is a great example for recycling in a very artisitc way. Also look at recycled jewellery and stuff on Pinterest.”

Action figures

Zoe shared this rather amazing tutorial for an upcycled gold toy lamp base:

lamp made from upycled toys

Scrabble tiles

Brenda shared “I know that some people make scrabble pictures and frame old game boards have a look at this great Pinterest page.”

scrabble tiles upcycled into frame

Donate to artists

Creative Amanda wrote “As an art student I absolutely ADORE broken toys! They’re great materials once you break them down into their components, and even things like puzzles can make really interesting painting surfaces, ESPECIALLY if they’re missing pieces!

I know a lot of artists who work exclusively with donated materials, especially toys – always ask your local artist/art gallery/art studio/university if they’d like your broken toys!”

Make do and Mend

Holly agreed. She enthused “I’m pretty handy so when it comes to board games I make the missing parts. counters and things like houses for monopoly can be made with fimo or even improvised with wooden cubes.

“It’s the same with toys. I’ve fashioned new limbs onto broken figures – Spiderman lost his head and I had a triceratops head that glowed in the dark. Decent glue and the boy got a new one of a kind superhero!”

Create your own games

Holly added “For really broken board games with lots of missing parts, how about just making a new board game? The back of the board is usually plain to stick a new board design on. Reuse and upcycle any pieces with fimo, glue or a new paint colour. Question cards can have new questions/actions stuck on them. Counters like connect4 could be painted and used as pretend coins etc…”

On my searches I found these intriguing ideas:

Playmobil clock

how to upcycle mobil figures

Lego key holder

lego upcycling into keyring holder

Tennis balls tea towel holder

These are just about the cutest tennis balls I’ve ever seen

upcycled tennis balls into tea towel holder

 

Dolls limbs pegs?

You know I mentioned figures with amputated limbs, well, this is just a bit freaky, but certainly a conversation stopper!

upcycled dolls limbs into coat hook

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Rachelle Strauss

6 Comments

  1. Avatar Jan on May 17, 2015 at 11:16 am

    My sister made reindeer from small pieces of jigsaw, glued together and painted in christmassy colours . Nice tree ornaments :o)

    • Avatar Rachelle Strauss on May 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      What a creative idea – thanks for sharing, Jan 🙂

  2. Avatar suellap on May 30, 2015 at 1:17 am

    What about jigsaw pieces painted on otherwise as light weight earrings, bracelet an dnecklace components?

    • Avatar Rachelle Strauss on June 1, 2015 at 6:22 am

      That sounds like a great idea, Suella – thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. 3 x awesome companies that recycle kids stuff on October 18, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    […] Got broken toys? Don’t throw them out too soon! There are lots of creative things you can do with […]

    • Avatar Catherine on October 23, 2019 at 7:26 pm

      Our toy library can get through loads of broken toys if you want any parts

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