The Great Upcycle Challenge – The Design Itch

Hi Friends,

I asked a couple of makers and bloggers  to do  The Great Upcycle Challenge.  It has always been my belief that you don’t need money to have pretty things.

This challenge was to transform a previously owned item into a great upcycled treasure. The item could be one that was acquired from a vintage store, thrift store, or antique store. It could  also use an item that you found abandoned on the side of the road.  The cost of the item and materials used to transform the upcycle couldn’t exceed $15.00. Monday, I showed you how I upcycled a “left for  trash table” to a really stylish piece of furniture.

Today I am featuring  a project created by Griffin of The Design Itch. Besides having a cool name, Griffin, is the author of a blog that focuses on design projects around the home. Griffin also shares my love for all things vintage. She has a great eye for design and some of my favorite projects are her No- Theme Nursery and this lavish Pallet Sofa.

The Great Upcycle Challenge

Hi everyone, I’m Griffin from The Design Itch and I’m thrilled to share with you my project for Carmody’s Great Upcycle Challenge. While I’m not typically drawn to woodland creatures, or figurines for that matter, I lucked out finding this pair of squirrels at Steel Magnolia’s Thrift Shop in Sanford for $3.50. The squirrels were marked Red Mill MFG which I discovered was a company that actually used pecan shells ground-up and placed into molds to replicate original wood carvings. Let me tell you, ground-up pecans are much harder than wood!

 BeforeThe Great Upcycle Challenge - The Design Itch

Here’s how I Up-Cycled my squirrel figurines:
The Great Upcycle Challenge- The Design Itch 

Our second bathroom is used primarily by our two-year-old daughter, Frances. The space had a hand towel ring that sits beside the vanity just out of her reach. As we are in the midst of potty training and thus excessive hand washing I wanted a more convenient location to hang her hand towel that was within her reach. So I turned my little pecan carved squirrel figurines into wall hooks, as their form makes them ideal for draping towels.
The Great Upcycle Challenge - The Design Itch

I had to purchase spray primer and white spray paint for $3.98 each and 1/2″x6″x24″ craft board for $4.  So including my $3.50 squirrels this project came in just over the $15 limit at $15.46.

Here’s how I created the squirrel wall hooks:

1.) I cut the craft board down to fit the 17″ space between our bathroom door and adjacent wall. With some guidance from my husband, I did the cutting myself with our circular saw which was a first! (A table saw would probably work much better but that’s all we have).

2.) Then, I spray primed and painted both the board and the squirrels white to match the bathroom walls (thanks to this project I finally got around to painting the room’s builder-grade beige walls white!). In painting everything white I wanted the squirrels take on a more sculptural effect while sort of blending into the space, as it is quite small.

3.) I screwed the squirrels to the board through the backside of my craft board. This proved to be a bit of challenge because as I said, ground-up pecans are MUCH harder than wood and I broke a couple screws in the process.

4.) I finished off by screwing the board with mounted squirrels into studs in our bathroom wall to ensure it could handle my toddler tugging at it.

The Great Upcycle Challenge - The Design Itch

So far the hooks have worked out great! They solved a functional issue in our bathroom and the squirrels play up the existing decor in the space which includes: faux taxidermy plaquesa wood veneer and ribbon chandelier, and some dot art. Who knew woodland figurines could be so versatile!

The Great Upcycle Challenge

Wow- Great Job Griffin! I think I will let that 0.46 cents slide due to the fact that these woodland towel hooks are amazingly cute. I am loving this challenge and seeing what the creative mind can accomplish for a few dollars.

Check back this Friday to see what Margaret of Gritgoods Jewelry created for some  The Great Upcycle Challenge.

Thanks for visiting, Carmody

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12 Responses to The Great Upcycle Challenge – The Design Itch

  1. Alli June 18, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    What cute, whimsical hooks!

  2. logancan June 18, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    What a great idea! You are so creative!

  3. lderringer June 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Wow! That is so creative! I would have never thought to do something like that. Love the upcycle idea too!

  4. FabEllis June 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    Wow! Very nice and unique. I would definitely say you put your creativity to work here.

  5. Madaline June 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    I absolutely adore this! SO creative and so cute.

  6. katjeter June 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    So cute!! I would never have thought of that and I LOVE it!

  7. Emmy June 19, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    NIce! We have been trying to do this around our home for a bit now and we are loving it.

  8. Leia June 19, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    These are so cute, and clever! I love the idea of this Upcycle series. How fun. :)

  9. Emily, our house now a home June 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    this is such a great and fun idea!

  10. Neatly-Packaged (@Neatly_Packaged) June 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    How cute!! You always have the most awesome things on your blog :)

    • carmody June 20, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      Thank you! That means so much.


  1. The Great Upcycle Challenge- Gritgoods |  Paper & Fox - October 5, 2014

    […] table” to a really stylish piece of furniture.  On Wednesday Griffin showed you how to turn woodland creatures into towel […]

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