Trash to Treasure

By Emily Rackow April 14, 2017


Truly the list goes on of objects made from “junk” material that would have, no doubt, ended up in a junkyard or a landfill, somewhere at some time. Yet, because of my husband’s vision to craft the new and useful, from the old and discarded, together with some creativity and easy to use tools, he, the amazing woodworker, turned trash into treasure.

Our home is filled, inside and out, with re-purposed, reconstructed, redesigned and recreated treasures from trash. What an incredible feeling to be surrounded and reminded, daily, that the objects that provide our family with pleasure and purpose were not only rescued from ruin but simultaneously, we saved a little part of the Earth from yet more discarded trash.

wowe blog trash to treasure pallet sign wowe blog trash to treasure old wood bar table

It all started when David’s 90-year-old grandfather was moving out of his high rise and into assisted living. He was donating many of his belongings and wanted us to have his dining room table (I’m sure for all the memories it held from years of being used for family meals). The table wasn’t quite my style, as I had visions of a Restoration Hardware table with the distressed gray wood for our Thanksgiving dinners. The grandfather’s table, although I appreciated the sentiment, was a traditional pure blonde oak table.  My intuitive husband read my mind and reassured me that it would be my dream table once he was done with it. Boy, was he right! I was so ecstatic with the final product that David and I started "shopping" garage sales, lumberyards and recycling centers to find pieces for our next projects!

wowe blog trash to treasure dust pan smile face wowe blog trash to treasure pallet

Here are some ways to turn trash into treasure:

  • Wood is good, great in fact! Using a Sawzall or handsaw you can cut wood down to any shape you like, then use sandpaper to sand off rough edges, prime it, stain it and voila, it’s ready for paint or enjoyed just how it is! If you find pieces with imperfections, embrace the history behind them!  Our bar table came from an old super bowl stadium.

  • Adorn any old rusty galvanized piping to wood to create a beautiful rustic treasure.

  • Get Creative! Old pallets can be turned into pretty much anything! We painted one with, "Welcome to Our Home!”

  • Explore garage sales, if you like the bones and structure of anything, you can work with the rest of it.

  • Hardware can be in the form of anything!

  • Used bamboo toothbrush handles can be turned into garden markers or key chains

Enjoy the hunt for the old and used, embrace the creative process, then relish in your re-purposed reward!

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